Accueil > Global economic governance


Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : to be defined

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course presents an analytical and historical perspective on global economic governance. The core question is how, over time, international or global markets have established, regulated and possibly subjected to various forms of international economic policies. Specifically, we shall look at the relationships between the well policed domestic domains, and global markets, or transactions: controls over flows of goods, capital or persons; diffusion of norms; coordination and cooperation between national governments and bureaucracies; crisis management. This approach is developed via a long-term history of the international economy. After an introduction on some interesting medieval experiences, we start with the first globalization era (1870-1914) and the first international institutions that emerged already before 1914: for instance, the so-called Regional Unions, in matters like postal services or railway traffic. From there on we shift to the Inter-War period and its two most striking innovations: the creation of the first ever multilateral, multipurpose organisation (the League of Nations), and the early attempts at a voluntary, negotiated coordination of economic policies (the 1920 and 1927 conferences). Post-World War II classical multilateralism will then be analysed in details. We shall insist specifically on the GATT/ WTO, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank: how they work, how they are governed, what their political economy is and, not least, how their mandate evolved over time. Their present position and the challenges they are confronted to is of course part of this discussion. The last part of the course will consider trends and prospects that develop beyond those the big, well-established international organizations. Three main themes will be covered at this point: sovereign debt and the interrelations between private markets and national governments; trade policies and the “non-tariff” issues such as intellectual property or anti-trust; lastly the role of private regulation, such as commercial arbitration.


  • LEHNE, Jonathan (Post-graduate student)
  • SGARD, Jérôme (Professor of Political Economy, Sciences Po)

Course validation

A 5000-word essay to be submitted in early November 10, on any related subject (for instance a critique of a book, or of 2-4 related articles, etc) (50%). Essays will be submitted via A 3 hours take home exam, in December (50%), in early December (TBA). The Essay should start from a given object, with a reasonable link to the course (like monetary coordination, intellectual property rights or protection of the biosphere). It should then raise a clear and identifiable question: has the 2007-08 financial crisis weakened the supremacy of the dollar? Do Chinese interests make harder the strengthening of an international regime on this or that issue? Can private institutions offer substitutes for missing interstate agreements? The Essay should then build an argument, leading to an identifiable answer: no, private investors cannot go a long way, unless hard rules back up their investments. Or maybe they can. Or perhaps one should look at countries individually. Etcetera. Students can choose the type of presentation they prefer: the two-parts SciencesPo Plan, or any other. The test is how they reach the answer.

Required reading

  • Allen, Robert C. 2011 Global Economic History, a Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 170 p
  • Alter, Karen 2008 Agents or Trustees? International Courts in their Political Context. European Journal of International Relations. 14 (1), pp. 33-63
  • Barnett, M., and M. Finnemor. 2004 Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press
  • Bordo, Michael, and Barry Eichengreen 1993 A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods System. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press/NBER. 673 p
  • Boughton, John 2001 Silent Revolution, the International Monetary Fund 1979-1989. Washington, DC: IMF