POL42440 The Political Economy of Security

Academic Year 2023/2024

War consumes and impacts scarce resources. This course will explore why states and non-state actors opt to devote scare resources to fighting wars, and how they allocate those resources. We will examine the economic motivations that actors have for engaging in political violence, the economic and other costs of war, and the consequences that follow for states and societies of having participated in armed conflict. Our examination of the relationship between war and economics will take us from the role that these factors played in the development of the modern nation-state to civil wars and military spending by major powers in international politics.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the semester, students in this course should be able to do the following:
1. Employ a political economy approach to the study of interstate and intrastate conflict.
2. Distinguish among different political economy explanations for the causes and outcomes of armed conflict.
3. Critically read and dissect peer-reviewed literature on the political economy of armed conflict.
4. Frame research questions and conduct research relevant to an analysis of conflict.
5. Convey information and research regarding the economic motivations, costs, and consequences of armed conflict in an effective manner, both in writing and orally.
6. Recognize and articulate public policy issues pertaining to the conduct of armed conflict and, as engaged and knowledgeable citizens, participate with others in addressing those issues.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching and learning activities will require students to engage with current academic research and to link theories to specific cases.
Through class discussions, activities, and essay writing students will examine how scholarly research on political economy and security can inform and deepen our understanding of war and violence.
Participants will also be expected to prepare thoroughly for each of the classes, particularly engaging with core readings, and to allocate a substantial amount of time to the completion of assessment work outside the classroom hours. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Short Paper Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment: Final Paper Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Attendance: Course Participation Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: Mid-Term Exam Unspecified No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

In line with university policy students will be provided with feedback within 20 days of the deadline for submitting the assignment.