Political Economy

Second Semester 2018

Prof. Nicola Viegi



This reading group will introduce PhD students to a growing number of models that analyse the interaction of politics and economics.


At the end of the course, each student has to prepare a research prospectus of 3-5 pages (maximum) outlining an idea for an empirical or theoretical research paper. Details will be given in classroom





Basic Political Economy Models

Meltzer, Allan H. and Scott F. Richard (1981) "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government", Journal of Political Economy 89, 914-28.


Alesina, Alberto and Rodrik, Dani, (1994). "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-90, May.


Acemoglu, D., and Robinson, J. A. (2001). A theory of political transitions. American Economic Review, 938-963.



The Political Economy of the State

Acemoglu, D. (2005) "Politics and economics in weak and strong states." Journal of monetary Economics 52, no. 7: 1199-1226.


Besley, Tim and Persson, Torsten (2009) "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation and Politics" American Economic Review, 99(4), 1218-44, 2009.



The Political Economy of  Conflicts

Acemoglu, D. (2003)"Why not a political Coase theorem? Social conflict, commitment, and politics." Journal of comparative economics 31, no. 4: 620-652.

Esteban, J., and D. Ray. (2008) "On the salience of ethnic conflict." The American Economic Review 98, no. 5: 2185-2202.

Besley, Timothy and Torsten Persson (2011) "The Logic of Political Violence" Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2011. Oxford University Press. Volume 126 (3), pp. 1411-1445.


Political Economy of South African transition

Bedasso, B. E. (2014) “Political transition in a small open economy: Retracing the economic trail of South Africa long walk to democracy”. ERSA Working Paper No. 458. 2014.

Bedasso, B. E., and N. Obikili. (2016)"A Dream Deferred: The Microfoundations of Direct Political Action in Pre-and Post-democratisation South Africa." The Journal of Development Studies 52, no. 1: 130-146.