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Motivation for the Master

International Political Economy (IPE) is concerned with analysing international economic and political relations. This includes the economic world order as well as regional developments. On the one hand, IPE deals with typical themes of international relations theory, such as the distribution of power, on the other hand, it focuses on economic issues. Currently, Economics and Political Science are treated as distinct social sciences, which is unfortunate given thier related subject matter. While it is desirable to study the interplay of global forces at the world level, it is important to emphasise that international affairs affect domestic affairs and vice versa. Hence IPE should cover domestic politics as well as international economic issues.

To be conversant with important research from both disciplines, students need to be taught the relevant research methods. Given that economics has a strong focus on quantitative analysis, students coming from a social science background need to have basic skills in mathematics or statistical analysis and take a crash-course in economic methods. The typical curriculum of undergraduate Economics programmes does not contain any exposure to qualitative research approaches, which form an important part of political science research. In the MSc IPE, students are introduced to both quantitative and qualitative approaches to research, thus bridging the gap between economics and politics and making serious interdisciplinary analysis possible.

Arguably a meaningful assessment of international economic or political developments, the evaluation of policies, or the reform of existing institutions will be possible only with a solid knowledge of these methods. Throughout the programme, students are given ample opportunity to apply these methods to various real-life problems facing the world economy ranging from the international trading system to security issues as well as the sturcture of international organisations.