Theories in International political economy


In this article, we will be discussing different theories in international political economy. We will be looking at the different schools of thought, and how they approach the topic. We will also be evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each theory.

Theories in International political economy
Theories in International political economy

Theoretical approaches to international political economy

In international political economy, there are a variety of theoretical approaches that can be used to examine the role of economic activity in the world. These approaches range from those that focus on individual actors and their motivations to those that emphasize the role of global institutions and structures. Below, we briefly outline some of the most prominent theoretical approaches in the field.

Rational Choice Theory: This approach emphasizes the role of individual decision-making in both domestic and international politics. Rational choice theorists assume that individuals are rational actors who seek to maximize their own utility. As such, they argue that individuals will make decisions that they believe will further their own interests, even if those decisions may have negative consequences for others.

Structuralism: This approach emphasizes the role of global institutions and structures in shaping economic activity. Structuralists argue that these institutions and structures constrain the choices available to individual actors and determine the outcomes of their decisions.

Historical Institutionalism: This approach combines elements of both rational choice theory and structuralism. Historical institutionalists emphasize that individual decision-making is shaped by past institutional arrangements, which often constrain future choices. At the same time, they acknowledge that individuals can sometimes act to change institutional arrangements, although these changes

a. Liberalism

In international political economy, liberalism is the belief that free trade among nations is the best way to promote economic growth and prosperity. Liberalism also holds that countries should cooperate to solve global problems.

Liberalism has been a dominant force in international politics since the 19th century. Its roots can be traced back to the Enlightenment, when philosophers such as John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that humans are born with certain rights, including the right to life, liberty, and property.

During the Industrial Revolution, liberals such as Adam Smith argued that free trade would lead to greater efficiency and economic growth. In the 20th century, liberal thinkers such as John Maynard Keynes argued that government intervention is necessary to promote full employment and economic stability.

Since the end of the Cold War, liberalism has come under attack from both left-wing and right-wing critics. Left-wing critics argue that liberalism promotes inequality and exploitation, while right-wing critics argue that it undermines national sovereignty and cultural identity.

b. Mercantilism

There are a few different theories in international political economy, but one of the most prevalent is mercantilism. Mercantilism is the belief that a country should export more than it imports, and that a country should amass as much gold and silver as possible. This theory was very popular during the 16th and 17th centuries.

c. Communism

Theories in International Political Economy: c. Communism

In international political economy, there are a variety of different theoretical approaches that can be taken in order to better understand the complex relationships between states, economies, and global governance. One particular approach is that of communism, which offers a unique perspective on the role of economic power in the international system.

Communism as a theory focuses on the idea of collective ownership of resources and production, in contrast to the private ownership that characterizes capitalism. In communist societies, the state is responsible for centrally planning and managing the economy in order to promote equality and meet the needs of the people. While this approach has been critiqued for its lack of flexibility and efficiency, it nevertheless provides a valuable perspective on how economic power can be used to shape the international system.

In terms of international political economy, communist theory emphasizes the importance of economic power in shaping global governance. Theorists argue that capitalist states use their economic might to further their own interests at the expense of others, resulting in a system that is inherently unequal and unjust. By contrast, communist states are thought to be more egalitarian and committed to meeting the needs of their citizens.

While communism as an economic system has

How these theories shape international economic policy today

In the field of international political economy, there are a variety of different theories that can be used to help shape economic policy. These theories offer different perspectives on how the global economy works and how best to manage it.

Some of the most prominent theories in international political economy include mercantilism, liberalism, and Marxism. Each of these theories has its own view on how the global economy works and what policies are best for managing it.

Mercantilism is a theory that emphasizes the importance of a country accumulating wealth through trade. This theory supports policies that encourage exports and discourage imports.

Liberalism is a theory that emphasizes the importance of free trade and open markets. Liberalist policies seek to promote economic growth by removing barriers to trade and investment.

Marxism is a theory that emphasizes the role of class conflict in shaping economic policy. Marxist policies seek to redistribute wealth and power away from the ruling class in order to promote economic justice.

These are just a few of the many theories in international political economy. While there is no one right answer, understanding these theories can help policymakers make informed decisions about economic policy.


In conclusion, there are a variety of theories in international political economy that can help explain the complexities of the global economy. Each theory has its own strengths and weaknesses, but all provide valuable insights into how the world economy works. As you continue your studies in this field, it is important to keep these theories in mind and to try to apply them to real-world situations. With a better understanding of international political economy, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions about the global economy.

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