Module code: ECO3055

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the field of political economy, which combines insights from politics into the study of economic performance.

The module: 

  • focuses on the formal modelling of political actors such as voters, politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, political institutions, states etc as behaving in mainly self-interested ways,

  • analyses outcomes of these interactions using rational-choice assumptions, microeconomic concepts and game theoretical analysis, and finally,

  • studies predictions of these models based on available data.

The module builds a foundation for thinking economic modelling   as a tool for policy formation and a tool for understanding the world better.

Module provider


Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 11

Independent Learning Hours: 83

Lecture Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 34

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Collective Choice

  • Political Economy of Redistribution

  • Inequality

  • Institutions

  • Conflict

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test Online Test within a 4hr window 25

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy


The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate i) knowledge of the main theoretical and empirical findings in political economy ii) ability to apply the knowledge of core concepts from microeconomics to major issues in political economy iii) ability to apply technical skills introduced in the module.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

 A class test 

A final exam 

The midterm is based on the theory and key papers studied in the first part of the module which is more theoretical than the second part. The midterm is designed to ensure that students can demonstrate their ability to map a simple model to the behaviour of political actors. The exam is designed to allow students to apply this mapping skills creatively to novel political decision-making problems as the second part of the module provides further intuition on how to construct models that can explain empirical observations.

Formative assessment and Feedback

Students receive verbal feedback during lectures (in which questions and real-world examples in economics are both attempted and discussed). Students are provided with fortnightly tasks relating to the material which they work on independently or in groups and can then post these works on the discussion forum where they receive feedback. In person lectures discuss some of these works. Students can also attend the module leader’s regular weekly office hours, or meet by appointment. Feedback to assessments will be given during lectures and students will be provided feedback documents which summarise commonly made mistakes in the assessments. For the midterm and the exam, sample questions are made available for students as well as model answers so that they can familiarise themselves with the setup. Students are also encouraged to post, and to answer others’, questions on the module webpage discussion board. The module leader also uses the discussion board to answer students’ questions.

Module aims

  • to provide a broad overview of important results from political economy.
  • to build a foundation for thinking about the role of political economy in understanding economic outcomes.
  • to provide a modelling based logic for reasoning about the crucial political issues, such as electoral competition, democracy and policy making; inequality and redistribution and in this way contribute to student's understanding of sustainability and their global and cultural capabilities.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Students passing the module will be able to: Analyse and interpret the important theoretical and empirical findings in political economy KCPT
002 Apply mathematical models and core concepts from microeconomics to reason about political issues such as democracy, conflict and inequality KCP
003 Use simple models to answer complex questions about how political institutions, the political environment, and the economic system influence each other . KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to ensure that students achieve the module’s learning outcomes:

Lectures are designed to provide skills in applying mathematical methods to political economy. Lectures provide simple models that use approaches from microeconomics and  game theory to enhance students’ understanding and intuition of decision making by political agents who are self-interested rather than benevolent.

Weekly guided learning activities include (but are not limited to) self-tests, case studies, problem sets, and they are designed to encourage thinking about the role of political economy in understanding economic outcomes and policy making.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ECO3055

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas: 

By enhancing reasoning about how political institutions, the political environment, and the economic system influence each other, the module helps develop global and cultural capabilities and contributes to resourcefulness and resilience.

The module helps students to develop knowledge and independent judgment on topics of inequality, mobility, and conflict, which enable them to critically reflect on sustainability.

By encouraging independent thinking to apply and expand on the taught content which is about political processes in different parts of the world, the module contributes to employability, and resourcefulness and resilience.

Via formative assessments, the module encourages students to work in digital teams and participate in online networks (such as discussion forums) contributing to digital capabilities.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Business Economics and Data Analytics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.