Fall 2019 - POL 455 D100

States and Markets (4)

Class Number: 7739

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    AQ 5017, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2019
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    AQ 5005, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Eight upper division units in political science or permission of the department.



Survey of the concepts and theoretical approaches, from Adam Smith's political economy to contemporary paradigms, used to understand the role and place of state institutions In a market economy and of the criteria that are used to design and implement economic and social policies. Particular attention is paid to the philosophical and normative questions that are raised by such an analysis.


This course examines the ideas and insights of important thinkers (mostly economists) who theorized the role and place of state institutions in a market economy, from Adam Smith's political economy to Neo‐classical economics to Behavioural Economics. Particular attention is paid to the normative questions that underpin these theoretical reϐlections and their relationship to political thought, from classical liberalism to egalitarianism. Do governments need to intervene to correct “market failures” or are “government failures” worse than the market failures governments seek to resolve? In answering this question, the course seeks to introduce students to a wide range of schools of thoughts and approaches. Practical policy issues and contemporary challenges will also be discussed, e.g., causes and effects of deficits and sovereign debt, economic inequalities, pros and cons of a Basic Income, free trade and protectionism, etc.

This is a four hour seminar; at least an hour will be devoted to students’ presentations and to in‐class discussions of the weekly topic..

(Combined with POL 856 G100)


  • Essay (15 pp./4,500 words) 40%
  • Short paper (2,500 words) 20%
  • Presentation (plus written follow-up) 10%
  • Final exam 30%



Mark Skousen, The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers, 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2016.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see http://www.sfu.ca/politics/undergraduate/program/related_links.html and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html