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The allocations of markets and other economic institutions are subject to the political environment in which these institutions operate. Students interested in understanding the effects and the design of economic policies should have an appreciation of the political context in which these policies are set. At the same time, students interested in political outcomes and institutions must consider the economic forces that interact with the political realm. Work in political economy aims to develop theoretical and empirical understanding of the connections between economics and politics.
The Princeton Program in Political Economy is designed for students who seek to engage in scholarship at the intersection of the two disciplines. It enables students in the Department of Economics or the Department of Politics to supplement their disciplinary training with relevant study in the other department and to engage in specialized work in political economy. The program also provides for interaction among students and faculty members of these academic units and facilitates research on topics in political economy. The program is administered by a program committee drawn from faculty in the participating academic units.
Closely affiliated with the doctoral program is the Research Program in Political Economy (RPPE). RPPE sponsors research workshops and colloquia, conferences, short-term visits to Princeton by scholars who work in political economy, and grants to students to aid their research in political economy.
Students join the program by entering either the Department of Economics or the Department of Politics through the normal admission process and will receive the doctoral degree of their home department. Students applying to one of these units who are interested in the program should indicate this interest in their applications.
Students intending to enroll in the program should have a solid foundation in mathematics. Ordinarily, students will take a course offered by the economics department (S500, Mathematics for Economists) in order to further develop the required competence in mathematics. Regardless of how a student enters the Program in Political Economy, it is important to have some experience with multivariate calculus, linear algebra, and real analysis, as well as basic probability and statistics. Without this background, a student will not be able to handle the material in many of the courses required for completion of the program.
Students are expected to fulfill the normal requirements of their home departments, with some modifications for the Program in Political Economy.
Economics students are required to take, on a graded basis, two graduate courses in politics (other than POL 584, the politics half of the political economy sequence) chosen from a list of appropriate courses drawn up by the program committee. These two courses would count toward the fulfillment of the second-year course requirement for economics graduate students.
Politics students should take the two-semester political economy sequence ECO 520 and POL 584. In addition, students are required to take, on a graded basis, two graduate courses in economics, not including the economics part of the political economy sequence (ECO 520). Normally, these would be the microeconomics courses ECO 501 and 502, but others may be substituted with approval from the program committee.
To prepare for their general examinations in political economy, students are expected to master the material covered in a two-course sequence in political economy (ECO 520 and POL 584). These courses will be offered jointly by the economics and politics departments. The general examination in political economy is set by a committee appointed by the program committee.
Economics students are required to choose political economy as one of their two field general examinations, and politics students are required to designate political economy as one of their three fields for the general examination and must take the written general examination in political economy.
All students in the program are expected to write a dissertation on a topic in political economy.
All students in the program are also expected to participate regularly in a research workshop in political economy.