Course information

Course: PSC 2339-Comparative Political Economy
Lecture: Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Classroom: Online


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Learning objectives

Students in this course should strive to meet the following objectives:

  1. Demonstrate a basic familiarity with the field of comparative political economy.
  2. Leverage differences between countries or regions to analyze the effects of institutions on economic outcomes and vice-versa.
  3. Demonstrate how historical legacies shape contemporary political and economic outcomes.
  4. Discern basic differences in institutional and economic structures shape how countries interact with the global economy.

Discern basic differences in institutional and economic structures shape how countries interact with the global economy.


Students will read approximately 75 pages per week of academic material during the semester.

All academic readings are available through Gelman library proxy services except the following two texts, which students should purchase the following two texts from an online vendor:

📖 Joseph Stiglitz, People, Power, and Profits

📖 John Judis, The Politics of Our Time

Class participation

This class is structured so that students have ample opportunity to participate in class discussions. Students are encouraged to voice their opinions both in small group settings as well as in broader class discussions and to ask clarifying questions when the need arises.


  1. Two data assignments (5% percent each)
  2. Three exams (15% each)
  3. Final project (45% of final grade)
    1. Outline and sources (10%)
    2. White paper (15%)
    3. Power BI report (20%)

Data assignments

Students will complete two graded data assignments. These exercises will be oriented towards strengthening the student’s ability to manipulate, visualize and communicate data with Microsoft Excel.


Students will take three non-comprehensive take-home exams. These exams will test the students’ knowledge of the reading material as well as arguments, concepts, and facts presented and discussed in class. Exams will be comprised some combination of multiple choice, fill in the blank, true or false, short answer and essay questions.

Final project

Each student will complete a final project that will be developed throughout the semester. The project is comprised of three components (an outline, a white paper and a Tableau report). The objective of this project is to develop the student’s ability to incorporate data into an analysis of an important research topic in the field of comparative politics.

Out of class preparation

In a 15-week semester, including exam week, students are expected to spend a minimum of 100 minutes of out-of-class work for every 50 minutes of direct instruction, for a minimum total of 2.5 hours a week. A 3-credit course should include 2.5 hours of direct instruction and a minimum of 5 hours of independent learning or 7.5 hours per week.

Course policies

Grading scale

Range Letter Grade
94-100 A
90-93 A-
87-89 B+
84-86 B
80-83 B-
77-79 C+
74-76 C
70-73 C-
67-69 D+
64-66 D
60-63 D-
<59 F


Please come to class on time. It is distracting to me and to other students when you enter the class late.

Diversity in the classroom

We want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in class and to get the most out of their learning experience at GW. Moreover, we all benefit from a diversity of views in the classroom. Therefore, please be respectful of other people’s views and be mindful of when others are trying to participate.

Learning Needs

Please let me know if you have any special needs or learning requirements and so that I can accommodate them.


I try to respond to emails within 24 hours except on weekends. It is usually preferred to talk to me in person, however, either after class or during office hours.