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Short course

An Introduction to Political Economy

School of Political Economy: 
Course Commencement Date
08 Oct 2019

The school of political economy will launch its inaugural course ‘An Introduction to Political Economy and Economics’ in October 2019. This is an introductory subject so no previous study of political economy or economics is required to enrol. This course will help you understand, and evaluate, the diverse ideas that exist within nine competing schools of political economy and economics. Each school offers its own distinctive illumination of economic and social reality, so this will make for a value-packed and exciting intellectual journey that can empower your capacity to analyse the world around you. The specific schools we will be looking at are:  

  • Institutional political economy
  • Evolutionary political economy
  • Behavioural economics
  • Neoclassical economics
  • Post Keynesian political economy
  • Ecological economics
  • Feminist political economy
  • Radical political economy
  • Austrian economics

Political economy (PE) studies the social provisioning process: how society does (and does not) get the goods and services it needs to flourish. Political economy can also be understood as being ‘economics in context’ due to its capacity to incorporate the social, political and environmental context in which economic activity occurs. Much work in political economy is progressive in nature, seeking to better understand the world in order to improve it. Note that our introductory course also spends 2-3 weeks looking at traditional economics. This is desirable for several reasons, including the fact that it allows students to better understand the various schools of political economy which are, in significant part, developed in response to the limitations of traditional economic analysis. It also desirable for students to have a working knowledge of traditional economics given that it remains influential set of ideas.    

Note that this introductory course will be the first in a suite of subjects. In 2020 we are planning to expand the range of subjects offered and to also extend our operations to Sydney. You can register for course updates on the link below. 

Register for the Oct 2019 course OR

Be notified when 2020 subjects open for enrolment

Taught by Dr Tim Thornton

Tim holds a Ph.D in Economics (La Trobe), a Master of International Development (Monash) and a Graduate Diploma in International Development  (Monash). He was previously the Director of the Politics, Philosophy and Economics Degree at La Trobe (2016-2018) and Director of the Master of International Development at La Trobe (2014-2016). He lectured in economics, political economy and economic history at both La Trobe University (2007 to 2013) and Monash University (2002-2007) where he was awarded two teaching prizes. Much of Tim’s recent research has been on pluralism and interdisciplinarity, including his recent book From Economics to Political Economy: the promise, problems and solutions of pluralist economics. Tim is currently co-writing the textbook Essentials of Economics in Context (Routledge 2020) and co-editing the Handbook of Alternative Theories of Political Economy (Edward Elgar 2020). If you require more information about Tim or his work please get in touch.  

Course Cost
Course Organisation
School of Political Economy
Course Contact Person
Tim Thornton