PPE 300 - Introduction to Political Economy
Fall 2021, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Requirements & Distribution:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Two introductory courses chosen from at least two disciplines: Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course will introduce students to the political economy through a study of markets. Markets shape our lives in profound ways, yet understanding how they function (or fail to function) requires sophisticated knowledge of philosophy, politics, and economics. In this course we will aim to avoid a simplistic understanding of markets as wholly good or bad; instead, we will ask under what conditions markets work well, and whether there are things that even well-functioning markets cannot or should not do.

We will consider a number of advantages of markets, from improving human life to coordinating action, as well as disadvantages of markets, including externalities and the public goods problem. We will also ask what the boundaries of the market should be: Should there be a market for drugs, reproductive labor, and human kidneys? Toward the end of the course, we will apply our knowledge of markets to a controversial area of public policy: healthcare. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with concepts like a market failure, the prisoner’s dilemma, the tragedy of the commons, and the free-rider problem. Along the way, we will read a number of historically important philosophers and political economists, including Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Hayek, as well as contemporary scholars like Debra Satz and Elizabeth Anderson.

Course Requirements:

Two papers and two exams.

Intended Audience:

All students interested in exploring the political economy are welcome. Course is not restricted to PPE majors.

Class Format:

Lectures and discussion sections, which will be led by Graduate Student Instructors, will meet in person.


PPE 300 - Introduction to Political Economy
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 2:00PM - 3:00PM
002 (DIS)
 In Person
F 9:00AM - 11:00AM
003 (DIS)
 In Person
F 12:00PM - 2:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)