International Political Economy
First Paper Assignment, International Political Economy
Your paper will focus on answering two questions. First, since the end of World War II (WWII), has the United States managed to remain in a hegemonic position or has it declined from its heights of power relative to other states? Second, given that the U.S. has remained a hegemon or declined, has this resulted in a stable and open world economy, a suffering world economy, or made no difference?
These two questions will lead you to arguing for a position on these questions and most importantly, presenting the evidence for that position. The paper must draw evidence from the Bretton Woods period (1944-1973) and the contemporary period (1973-present). Thus, you must use the paper to demonstrate that you can apply lessons from our class discussion and textbook material of these periods. These different positions could include:
The renewalist version of hegemonic stability theory (“Renewalism”) – The U.S. has continued its dominance in the world economy since the end of World War II and uses its power to support a world economy that is more stable and open because of that power.
The declinist version of hegemonic stability theory (“Declinism”) – The U.S. has lost economic dominance since the end of WWII and the world economy has become less stable and open because it lacks U.S. leadership.
Institutional liberalism – The U.S. has lost economic dominance since the end of WWII, but this has not resulted in a world economy that is less stable and open. Multiple states continue to share and support rules and institutions for a stable and open world economy.
Radicalism – The U.S. continues to maintain economic dominance in the world economy, but this has not led to openness and growth for much of the world. The U.S. uses its power to exploit developing countries.
Interdependence theory – It does not matter much whether the U.S. has maintained it economic dominance or not, since non-political forces behind the growth of globalization have made the most difference in the health of today’s world economy.
A student is not required to select one of these positions, but if the student wishes to argue for a different position, it is the student’s responsibility to define precisely what his or her thesis is, how it answers the two questions for the paper listed above, and how the evidence supports that thesis.
A graph might help illustrate the differences among four of the five positions listed above:
The world economy remains stable and open
The world economy suffers
The U.S. remains the world’s hegemonic leader
The renewalist version of hegemonic stability theory
The U.S. has declined from its hegemonic position since the end of World War II
The declinist version of hegemonic stability theory
If it helps to think about how to address the paper, consider the relevance of the questions for the future. If current trends will persist, China will surpass the U.S. in economic production during the 2020s. Will this power shift disrupt the globalizing world economy or not? How can history be our guide in understanding what will happen?
Consider these points while organizing and planning your writing:
- You are to use the historical evidence from both the Bretton Woods period (1945-1973) and the contemporary era (1973 to today). You do not have to give each of the periods equal weight, but you should pay some attention to both of the them, otherwise you are not using all of the evidence available.
- You "test" a hypothesis by looking at periods where the causal variable is present and seeing if the predicted effects occur, or periods where the causal variable is absent (say, no hegemon) and seeing if the opposite occurs. You also test a hypothesis by examining if the hypothesized causes are truly responsible for their predicted effects. Ponder why the hypothesized cause is supposed to lead to the predicted effect. Does the supposed cause really does lead to the effect according to the chain of events the theory describes? Perhaps the occurrence of two events is a coincidence, and the real cause of cooperation or economic discord is something else.
- Use of the readings in the paper is part of the assignment. You should demonstrate to me that you have been doing the assigned readings for the class. Any assigned readings from Cohn’s textbook will be useful in the paper. The use of outside sources is also encouraged. The best outside sources would contain statistics from primary sources (such as publications from international organizations or government documents) or facts from trustworthy news sources. Journals such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and The National Interest sometimes have helpful articles for papers in international relations courses. Technical journals such as International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, the American Political Science Review and others have useful articles on theories of international political economy. A paper that uses little or none of the assigned readings will not receive a high grade. Encyclopedias, whether online or in print, should not be used. Use the readings to cite the source of information and support your arguments whenever necessary. Make sure to use a bibliography or works cited section if you are using footnotes. Make sure to use a standard footnote or endnote format when citing your sources. Any standard citation method (APA, MLA, Turabian, etc.) is acceptable, as long as it is a standard method. Please cite the page numbers in your citations where appropriate.
- When using material drawn only from the lectures, do not bother to cite the source. You can treat material that you only find in my lectures as material that does not need to be cited.
- Grading:The grade for the paper ranges on a scale of zero to one hundred. An “A” paper demonstrates 1) a strong quality of argument, 2) extensive use and knowledge of the assigned readings and other authoritative readings, and 3) a professional tone of writing. A “B” paper demonstrates strong work on some of the standards in an “A” paper but minimal competence on others. A “C” paper demonstrates only minimal competence on the standards listed above or superior work on some standards but flawed work on others. A “D” paper demonstrates competent work on some standards but flaws on others. A failed paper fails to complete the assignment, has parts of the assignment missing, or significantly irredeemable flaws. In any paper, points are also deducted for poor spelling and grammar, or inaccurate use of facts or class concepts, or failure to adhere to the format for the paper detailed in the assignment.
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