International Political Economy


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International political economy (IPE) is an academic discipline within the social sciences that analyzes international relations in combination with political economy. As an interdisciplinary field it draws on many distinct academic schools, most notably political science and economics, but also sociology, history, and cultural studies. The academic boundaries of IPE are flexible, and along with acceptable epistemologies are the subject of robust debate. This debate is essentially framed by the discipline's status as a new and interdisciplinary field of study.


Despite such disagreements, most scholars can concur that IPE is ultimately concerned with the ways in which political forces (states, institutions, individual actors, etc.) shape the systems through which economic interactions are expressed, and conversely the effects that economic interactions (including the power of collective markets and individuals acting both within and outside of) have upon political structures and outcomes.


IPE scholars are at the center of the debate and research surrounding globalization, both in the popular and academic spheres. Other topics that command substantial attention among IPE scholars are international trade (with particular attention to the politics surrounding trade deals, but also significant work examining the results of trade deals), development, the relationship between democracy and markets, international finance, global markets, multi-state cooperation in solving trans-border economic problems, and the structural balance of power between and among states and institutions. Unlike conventional international relations power is understood to be both economic and political, which are interrelated in a complex manner.


IPE emerged as a heterodox approach to international studies during the 1970s as the 1973 world oil crisis and the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system alerted academics, particularly in the U.S., of the importance, contingency, and weakness of the economic foundations of the world order. IPE scholars asserted that earlier studies of international relations had placed excessive emphasis on law, politics, and diplomatic history. Similarly, neoclassical economics was accused of abstraction and being ahistorical. Drawing heavily on historical sociology and economic history, IPE proposed a fusion of economic and political analysis. In this sense, both Marxist and liberal IPE scholars protested against the reliance of Western social science on the territorial state as a unit of analysis, and stressed the international system.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "International political economy".




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