Essay Requirements Review Exam Return Exams

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Final Exam



Optional Research Essay

  • 20-25 pages. The essay substitutes for Exam II.

  • Use two or more theoretical approaches to analyze a question in the IPE.

  • Sample Topic: Public Citizen is a national non-profit public interest organization. Are they an important player in the politics of globalization or marginalized outsiders? The essay uses three theoretical approaches to analyze the causes and consequences of the rise of NPO’s.

Question 1. Does Rodrik think that globalization has undermined governments’ ability to provide public goods (i.e. social welfare)? Why?

  • Key “globalization has constrained a government’s ability to provide public goods, not negated it”.

  • Why?

1. Capital is mobile, Labor isn’t.

2. This leads to erosion of tax base (hence less public good provision).


3. Globalization increases public pressure for public goods like social insurance.

4. Also, globalization enriches countries—making it possible to provide more public goods/ or capital limited mobility.

  • Perfect answer: 1 + 2 + 3+ 4 = 10

  • If answer Yes, globalization undermines govt: 1 + 2 = 7 points

  • If answer No, globalization does not undermine: 3 + 4 = 7 points.

  • Common mistakes: to discuss other implications of the article—i.e. how lack of social security undermines globalization in long run.

  • Question 2. Eichengreen argues that the gold exchange standard was inherently unstable because of the absence of a hegemon. Describe how the actions of the US and France contributed to the collapse of the gold exchange standard.

1. US and France in a competitive battle to accumulate gold (measure of international prestige). Sterilized gold: By hoarding gold put liquidity crunch on everyone else. Created deflationary pressures that led to downfall of system.

2. US unwillingness to act as a hegemon meant system ‘mismanaged’. Liquidity split between two centers US and France (US lower interest rates). Contributed to instability of system. Eventually led to a convertibility crisis for sterling.

3. France initiated a run on the dollar in 1927.

4. US/France raise tariffs puts pressure on system. US stops sending money to Germany, leads to bankruptcies on continent.

Perfect answer: 1=10

Common combinations: 2 + 4= 7 and 2 + 3 = 7

Common mistakes: Talk about Bretton Wood instead ( 3 points). Repeat the information in the question (lack of hegemon). Talk about Brits, not Americans or French.

  • Question 3: Which theoretical explanation for Germany and France’s reaction to the depression in 1876 does Gourevitch think the most convincing? Using that approache(es) explain why Germany and France adopted high tariffs in this period?

1. Public Choice liberal and Statist. Realist and C.Lib secondary.

2. Junkers (farmers) and manufactures in Germany organize coalition

3. Key: these interests had political clout: German leadership (Bismark)

4. Farmers and manufacturers lobby as a unit in France and get high tariffs.

5. Key difference: no state leaders like Bismark to coordinate/facilitate their action. Still manage to organize but take longer—lack institutional advantage of their German counterparts.

  • Perfect answer: 1+2+3+4+5=10

  • Other combinations: 2+3+4+5=9.

  • Common answer: 2 + 4= 6

  • Common mistakes: theoretical explanations: domestic societal, economic explanation or economics and politics (note, points not deduced if explanation correct). Realist explanation—points not deducted.

Question 4: What is Frieden’s explanation for colonial patterns of investment? Give examples.

  • Predicts investment by home country in site-specific/ primary products/ raw materials and agriculture in host territories.


2. Easily seized by force and defensible by force.

3. Easily seized by unilateral action. No need foreign govt intervention.

4. Example: within empire invest in primary activities, outside of empire, invest in utilities, manufacture, railroads. Africa, India, Belgium in Congo, etc.

  • Perfect answer: 1 +2+3+4 =10

  • Common answer: 1+ 2= 6

  • Common mistakes: Britain uses colonies to improve power— pushes agriculture to keep colonies dependent. Not Frieden’s argument.

Mutual recognition

  • definition: trade rule within EU. Member countries recognize each others product standards. They do not discriminate on the basis of differing product standards.

  • Significance: example, helped deepen trade integration. Much harder to agree to harmonize standards.

  • Common mistake: Mix up GATT and MFN.

Constructed cost

  • definition: used by commerce dept to determine if dumping or unfair pricing by foreign importer. The cost of production is ‘estimated’ when a foreign firm sells none of its product in its home market. The commerce dept typically compares the price of the foreign product sold in the US market with the US price of a similar product imported from another country.

  • Significance: example, often the choice of comparison is biased in favor of finding dumping, i.e. case of Chinese cookware or polish golf cart.

  • Common mistakes: constructed cost is the cost of a good with/without tariff barriers. Or, this is a Marxist term for the cost of free-trade imposed by a hegemon on other nations.


  • Definition: International Trade Organization. Draft ITO charter negotiated in 1948 (post war or Havana charter ok). Rules on trade, employment, commodity agreements, restrictive business practices, international investment.

  • Significance: example, not ratified. ITO abandoned, GATT instead. GATT has evolved from a set of guidelines to an institutional forum where trade negotiations take place.

  • Common mistakes: ITO exists today and is forum for international trade talks.


  • Definition: 471-400bc (approx ok). Wrote the History of the Peloponnesian War which describes the wars between the Greek states.

  • Significance: First writer of the realist tradition. Why? Links wealth and power. (extra: war due to growth of trade, the emergence of new commercial powers such as Athens and Corinth and the use of money in traditional agrarian economies).

  • Common mistakes: first political economist.


  • Realists argue that a single hegemon leads to a stable monetary system and an open trading system. Evaluate this claim. (Hint: does the evidence support or undermine this argument. Is there another theoretical explanation (s) which is more persuasive?)

  • Be sure to use materials from the lectures and readings and use evidence to support your thesis.

  • Britain 1800’s Pax Britannica = openness

  • US Post WWII = openness

  • Transition Interwar = closure

  • Rivals 1700’s= closure

  • Answer = 23-26. B range.

  • Need to discuss weakness of realist approach (i.e. Britain a hegemon in 1815, why did it take until 1846 for the repeal of the Corn laws or US declining hegemon 1960s onwards but still have openness. Or Britain a hegemon in late 1800s but rising protectionism).

  • Or need to discuss alternative approach (i.e. Britain switched to free-trade because of Peel’s conversion to f-t, or pressure groups explain the interwar period and why the US came off the Bretton Wood’s system).

  • Answer = 26-30 high B, low A range.

  • Other approaches in the 27-33 range:

  • A. Yes, a single hegemon is important in creating a stable open trading system.

  • But

  • there are other factors required for long-term stability:

  • international cooperation. Eichengreen. Bretton Woods, tacit cooperation not to devalue or Gold exchange standard (need cooperation of nonhegemonic nations for it to work).

  • international institutions. Post war period: GATT, WTO. Institutions not just epiphenomenal—US declined as hegemon but institutions still matter.

  • B. No, a hegemon creates an unstable trading and monetary system

  • Hegemon in Bretton woods and Gold standard created instability and downfall of these monetary systems.

  • Regional hegemon Germany in EU created instability and downfall of EMS.

  • Hegemon in post-war period but seen rise of inequality, instability in developing countries (although caveat, US declining hegemon in later post-war period).

  • US declining hegemon but still a hegemon. Undermining global trading system with RTBs.

  • Some fit this into WST framework: hegemon creates stability only in short term.

  • Common mistakes: discuss the readings in too much detail: don’t answer the question. Some focused on how creating a open/stable system undermined the power of the hegemon. Too much history, not enough analysis. Some focus on whether the hegemon was coercive or benign (realist and wst approach). But the tactics don’t matter to realists, just the outcome.

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