Princeton Program in Political Economy




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Research Program in Political Economy


Students join the Program by entering either the Economics Department or the Politics Department through the normal admissions process and will receive the doctoral degree of their home department. Students applying to one of these units who are interested in the Program should indicate this interest in their applications.

Students intending to enroll in the Program should have a knowledge of basic mathematics (multivariate calculus and matrix algebra as well as basic probability and statistics). Ordinarily, students will take a course offered by the Economics Department (S500, Mathematics for Economists) in order to develop the required competence in mathematics.

Students are expected to fulfill the normal requirements of their home departments, with the following modifications.

ECONOMICS students are required to offer Political Economy as one of their two field general examinations (see below). They are also required to take on a graded basis two graduate courses in Politics (other than POL 584, the politics half of the political economy sequence), chosen from a list of appropriate courses drawn up by the Program Committee. These two courses would count toward the fulfillment of the second-year course requirement for economics graduate students.

POLITICS students are required to designate Political Economy as one of their three fields for the general examination and must take the written general examination in Political Economy. (To prepare for the general examination, students should take the two-semester political economy sequence ECO 520 and POL 584.) In addition, students are required to take on a graded basis two graduate courses in Economics, other than the economics part of the political economy sequence (ECO 520). Normally, these would be the microeconomics courses ECO 501 and 502, but others may be substituted with approval from the Program Committee.


Regardless of how a student enters the Political Economy Program, it is important to have some basic math background: multivariate calculus and basic matrix algebra, as well as familiarity with probability and statistics at least at the introductory level. Without this background, a student will not be able to handle the material in many of the courses required for completion of the program.

To prepare for their general examinations in Political Economy, students are expected to master the material covered in a two-course sequence in Political Economy. These courses will be offered jointly by the Economics and Politics departments. The general examination in Political Economy is set by a committee appointed by the Program Committee.

All students in the Program are also expected to participate regularly in a research workshop in political economy and to write a dissertation on a topic in political economy.