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Berkeley Political Economy "Concentrations"

From: Brad DeLong, Chair, Political Economy Group Major
To: Current and Future Political Economy Majors and Other Interested Parties
Subject: Political Economy Major "Concentrations"
Date: June 8, 2008

The concentration requirement in Berkeley's Political Economy major is meant to force students to deepen their understanding of the nature of the relationship between politics and economics as it relates to a particular issue. You are graduating with a Political Economy degree. That means you know a little about each of history, sociology, political science, economics, possibly philosophy, rhetoric, anthropology, geography or other disciplines as well. You should know a lot about something. the Concentration requirement forces you to define that something, and then to learn about it.

To fulfill the requirement, each student chooses an existing or potential issue or problem in international political economy, and takes four courses bearing on that issue or problem. The courses need to inform the student's study of the concentration topic. In a better world than this, the concentration would also include a required senior honors thesis on some aspect of the concentration topic. (My concentration was "Economic Thought and Economic Reality in the Age of the Industrial Revolution." My senior thesis was The Classical Economists Perceive the Industrial Revolution. You can read it here:

The key to the concentration requirement is that it is your own: the concentration is self-defined. You must develop a topic that is an existing or potential issue or problem in international political economy. You then choose four courses to inform inform your view and increase your knowledge. Select courses from different departments. Note that courses listed in the Political Economy Student Handbook will automatically be approved for appropriate concentration topics--but courses not listed in the handbook can be taken for the concentration: all you have to do is make the case that it is appropriate for the concentration. And, of course, no double dipping: courses taken for your concentration cannot be double-counted towards another major requirement.

The Political Economy staff are aware of reality. We are not lost in cloud-cuckoo-land. Courses that you wanted to take for your concentration are suddenly canceled, or you are excluded from them, or another opportunity opens that you find irresistible but that conflicts with your concentration courses. We will be flexible--we don't require that you fulfill the concentration you sign up to do, but only that when you receive your degree you can look back and say to yourself: "Wow, I really do know a lot about fill in concentration topic here..."

Here are fifteen largely-randomly-selected four-course "concentrations" that Berkeley Political Economy Majors are currently pursuing. Note that these are not the best possible courses offered at some Platonic Ideal of Berkeley for this concentration--these are real-world courses that students can actually get into and take for their respective concentrations:

Democracy, Globalization, and China

  • Mass Comm 102: Effects of Mass Media
  • Soc 172: Development and Globalization
  • Soc 183: Contemporary Chinese Society
  • Poli Sci 143C: Chinese Politics
  • Poli Sci 143D: Democracy and China

The Euro

  • Econ 161: International Trade
  • Hist 158C: Modern Europe, 1914-Present
  • Poli Sci 147H: The Domestic Politics of Postwar Western Europe
  • Soc 122: Comparative Perspectives: US and Europoe
  • Hist 160: The International Economy of the Twentieth Century

The European Union: Rhetoric and Reality

  • Rhet 150: Rhetoric of Contemporary Politics
  • Rhet 172: Rhetoric of Social Theory
  • Poli Sci 147: Western European Politics
  • Hist 158C: Modern Europe: 1914-Present

Economic Development and Human Rights

  • Econ 171: Economic Development
  • PS 139B: Politics of Development
  • PACS: Human Rights
  • Poli Sci 146AB: African Politics

Sustainable Development

  • IAS 115: Global Poverty
  • ESPM 161: Environmental Philosophy and Ethics
  • ESPM 167: Environmental Health and Development
  • Geo 130: Natural Resources and Populations
  • EEP 153: Population, Environment, and Development

International Power: Economic, Political, and Military

  • Poli Sci 124A: War
  • Poli Sci 124C: Justice in International Affairs
  • Econ 181: International Trade
  • Poli Sci 138B: Market Economics
  • EEP 152: Development and International Trade

Political Economy of Northeast Asia

  • Poli Sci 1230A: International Relations
  • History 113B: Modern Korean History
  • Poli Sci 128: Chinese Foreign Policy
  • UGBA 118: International Trade
  • Hist 118C: Japan: The Late Nineteenth Century to the Present

Economic Development in the Information Age

  • IFS 100D: Introduction to Technology, Society, and Culture
  • DS 100: Development in Theory and History
  • Info 190: Technology and Poverty
  • Am Stud 134: Information Technology and Society
  • Poli Sci 138D: Governance of the E-conomy

Barriers to the Delivery of health Care Services in the United States

  • PH 150D: Intro to Health Policy and Management
  • ESPM 162: Bioethics and Society
  • Econ 157: Health Economics
  • GWS 150: Gender and Health

Decolonization and the Political and Economic Development of the Middle East

  • Hist 109C: History of the Middle East
  • MES 130: Jews and Muslims
  • Poli Sci 124A: Middle Eastern Politics
  • Soc 172: Development and Globalization

Behavioral Economics and Economic Planning

  • Env Des 100: The City
  • EEP C151: Economic Development
  • Pub Pol 101: Intro to Policy Analysis
  • Econ C175: Economic Demography
  • CRP 118AC: Community and Economic Development

Cosmopolitanism and International Development

  • IAS 150: Cosmopolitanism
  • Poli Sci 138B: The Politics of Market Economies
  • UGBA 118: International Trade
  • UGBA 178: Introduction to International Business
  • Econ 104: Game Theory

American Political and Economic Imperialism in Latin America

  • LAS 150: Latin American Development and World Markets
  • PACS 149: Global Change and World Order
  • Anthro 139: Controlling Processes
  • Hist : Latin American History

Law, Politics, and Development in the Middle East

  • Phil 115: Political Philosophy
  • Leg Stud 145: Law and Economics
  • Poli Sci 149C: Modernization in Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan
  • Poli Sci 139B: Development Politics

Immigration Law and Policy

  • Soc 111: Sociology of the Family
  • Poli Sci 198A: Latin American Politics
  • Leg Stud 176: American Legal History
  • Chic Stud 159: Mexican Immigration

I have sorted the courses that have recently proved popular among Political Economy majors for their four-course "concentrations" into nine rough groups:

  • The Political Economy of Post-Industrial Societies
  • Today's Global Economic World System
  • Asia Stands Up
  • Economic Development
  • The U.S. and Europe
  • Malthus, Resources, and Environments
  • The Transition from Really Existing Socialism to Capitalism in Eastern Europe;
  • Peace and War in the Twenty-First Century
  • The U.S. and Latin America

plus a residual category.

Here are the courses people have taken that have proved enduring and popular:

The Political Economy of Post-Industrial Societies
CRP110 Introduction to City Planning
CRP112 The Idea of Planning
CRP113A Economic Analysis for Planning
CRP113B Community and Economic Development
ECON113 American Economic History
ECON121 Industrial Organization and Public Policy
ECON136 Monetary and Financial Economics
ECON151 Labor Economics
LEGAL145 The Common Law
LEGAL147 Law and Economics
LEGAL182 Law, Politics, and Society
PP101 Introduction to Public Policy Analysis
PS124 Ethics and the Impact of Technology on Society
UGBA105 Introduction to Organizational Behavior
UGBA106 Marketing
UGBA107 The Social, Political, and Ethical Environment of Business
Today's Global Economic World System
ECON115 The World Economy in the Twentieth Century
ECON181 International Trade
ECON183 Topics in International Economics
GEOG110 Economic Geography of the Industrial World
GWS141 Interrogating Global Economic "Development"
PS120A International Relations
PS138G National Success and Failure in the Age of the Global Economy
SOC172 Development and Globalization
UGBA118 International Trade
UGBA178 Introduction to International Business
UGBA188 Introduction to International Business
Asia Stands Up
AS150 Asian Studies Special Topics
ECON162 The Chinese Economy
GEOG164 The Geography of Economic Development in China
HIS116D Twentieth Century China
HIS118C The Twentieth Century in Japan
LEGAL161 Chinese Law and Society
PS128 Chinese Foreign Policy
PS143A Northeast Asian Politics
PS143B Northeast Asian Politics
SOC183 Contemporary Chinese Society
Economic Development
CRP115 Urbanization in Developing Countries
DS100 Development Studies
ECON171 Economic Development
ECON172 Economic Development Case Studies
ECON173 Seminar on Economic Development
EEP151 Development Economics
GEOG112 History of Development and Underdevelopment
IAS115 Global Poverty
PS139B Development Politics
The U.S. and Europe
HIS158C Old Europe, New Europe 1914-2005
PS122A Politics of the European Union
PS138E Varieties of Capitalism
SOC122 Comparative Perspectives on U.S. and European Societies
Malthus, Resources, and Environments
DEMOG126 Population Issues
ECON175 Economic Demography
EEP131 Environmental Economics and Policy
GEOG130 Natural Resources and Population
The Transition from Really Existing Socialism to Capitalism in Eastern Europe
ECON161 Transition Economics
HIS171C Russia since 1917
PS129B Russia After Communism
PS141C Politics and Government in Eastern Europe
Peace and War in the Twenty-First Century
IAS180 U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11
PACS149 Global Change and World Order
PS127A International Law
The U.S. and Latin America
GEOG159AC Mexican Immigration
LAS150 Latin American Studies Advanced Topics
Not Elsewhere Classified
EAP Education Abroad Program
IAS120 International and Area Studies Selected Topics
IAS150 International and Area Studies Special Topics