Course information

Course: PSC 2339-Comparative Political Economy
Lecture: TR 2:20-3:35
Classroom: Tompkins Hall Rm 301


Students are required to take PSC 1001-Introduction to Comparative Politics before enrolling in this course.

Learning objectives

Students in this course should strive to meet the following objectives:

  1. Demonstrate a basic familiarity with the field of comparative political economy.
  2. Leverage differences between countries or regions to analyze the effects of institutions on economic outcomes and vice-versa.
  3. Demonstrate how historical legacies shape contemporary political and economic outcomes.
  4. Discern basic differences in institutional and economic structures shape how countries interact with the global economy.

Discern basic differences in institutional and economic structures shape how countries interact with the global economy.


Students will read approximately 75 pages per week of academic material during the semester.

All academic readings are available through Gelman library proxy services except the following two texts, which students should purchase the following two texts from an online vendor:

📖 Joseph Stiglitz, People, Power, and Profits

📖 John Judis, The Politics of Our Time

Class participation

This class is structured so that students have ample opportunity to participate in class discussions. Students are encouraged to voice their opinions both in small group settings as well as in broader class discussions and to ask clarifying questions when the need arises.


  1. Two data assignments (5% percent each)
  2. Three exams (15% each)
  3. Final project (45% of final grade)
    1. Outline and sources (10%)
    2. White paper (15%)
    3. Power BI report (20%)

Data assignments

Students will complete two graded data assignments. These exercises will be oriented towards strengthening the student’s ability to manipulate, visualize and communicate data with Microsoft Excel.


Students will take three non-comprehensive take-home exams. These exams will test the students’ knowledge of the reading material as well as arguments, concepts, and facts presented and discussed in class. Exams will be comprised some combination of multiple choice, fill in the blank, true or false, short answer and essay questions.

Final project

Each student will complete a final project that will be developed throughout the semester. The project is comprised of three components (an outline, a white paper and a Tableau report). The objective of this project is to develop the student’s ability to incorporate data into an analysis of an important research topic in the field of comparative politics.

Out of class preparation

In a 15-week semester, including exam week, students are expected to spend a minimum of 100 minutes of out-of-class work for every 50 minutes of direct instruction, for a minimum total of 2.5 hours a week. A 3-credit course should include 2.5 hours of direct instruction and a minimum of 5 hours of independent learning or 7.5 hours per week.

Course policies

Due dates and late assignments

Readings should be completed and videos watched for the day they are assigned. Assignment due dates are posted in the “weekly materials” page for the week that they are due. The final component of the final project is due at 11:59 p.m. on the date of the scheduled final. (Note that that there is no final exam for this course. This is just the due date for the Tableau assignment).

Late assignments will be accepted with a standard penalty of three percentage points per day that they are turned in after the official due date. No exceptions will be made to this policy.

If you are having a personal or medical emergency and are wondering what to do, start by referencing this FAQ published by GW Student Life. Or just reach out to the CARE Team at For further information about different types of support available to you, see the course support page.

While I will always try to be a source of support to my students, please note that for privacy reasons, the Provost has asked that faculty do not attempt to verify personal or medical emergencies themselves.


There are no makeups. Please see the late assignments policy above.


This is an in-person class and you are expected to attend. While there is no formal attendance requirement, it is a proven fact that students who attend class tend to perform better on exams and assignments. Also, the instructor will not provide “makeup sessions” to go over material that was missed due to absence.

Grading scale

Range Letter Grade
94-100 A
90-93 A-
87-89 B+
84-86 B
80-83 B-
77-79 C+
74-76 C
70-73 C-
67-69 D+
64-66 D
60-63 D-
<59 F

Class recordings

All classes will be recorded. Recordings will be posted on the course Blackboard site.


Please come to class on time. It is distracting to me and to other students when you enter the room late.

Laptops and cell phones

Please put away your cell phones during class. It is fine to use computers to take notes, but you should refrain from checking social media and email.

Diversity in the classroom

We want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in class and to get the most out of their learning experience at GW. Moreover, we all benefit from a diversity of views in the classroom. Therefore, please be respectful of other people’s views and be mindful of when others are trying to participate.

Learning Needs

Please let me know if you have any special needs or learning requirements and so that I can accommodate them.


I try to respond to emails within 24 hours except on weekends. It is usually preferred to talk to me in person, however, either after class or during office hours.


Students are permitted to eat light snacks, but please refrain from bringing sugary drinks, coffee or large, odiferous meals.

University policies

Academic integrity

By taking this course, you are agreeing to abide by the GWU code of Academic Integrity. According to this code, academic dishonesty is defined as “cheating of any kind, including misrepresenting one’s own work, taking credit for the work of others without crediting them and without appropriate authorization, and the fabrication of information.” Note that this is not a comprehensive list. Other types of academic dishonesty include providing false or misleading information in an effort to postpone an exam or to get an extension on an assignment and providing substantially similar material for a writing assignment for assignments in two different courses without the prior permission of the faculty members teaching those courses. The minimum penalty for academic dishonesty is a failing grade on the assignment in question and the maximum penalty is failure of the class. Furthermore, the violation will be reported to GW’s Office of Academic Integrity, which can impose additional penalties beyond those I may impose.

Religious holidays

Students must notify faculty during the first week of the semester in which they are enrolled in the course, or as early as possible, but no later than three weeks prior to the absence, of their intention to be absent from class on their day(s) of religious observance. If the holiday falls within the first three weeks of class, the student must inform faculty in the first week of the semester. For details and policy, see “Religious Holidays.”

Use of electronic materials and class recordings

Students are encouraged to use electronic course materials, including recorded class sessions, for private personal use in connection with their academic program of study. Electronic course materials and recorded class sessions should not be shared or used for non-course related purposes unless express permission has been granted by the instructor. Students who impermissibly share any electronic course materials are subject to discipline under the Student Code of Conduct. Please contact the instructor if you have questions regarding what constitutes permissible or impermissible use of electronic course materials and/or recorded class sessions. Please contact Disability Support Services if you have questions or need assistance in accessing electronic course materials.