Spring 2024 - POL 455 D100

States and Markets (4)

Class Number: 7690

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Thu, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 13, 2024
    Sat, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • 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.


Course Description:

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. The ideas and insights of diverse thinkers (mostly economists) who theorized the role and place of state institutions in a market economy are examined, from Adam Smith's political economy to Marshall’s Neo‐classical economics to Keynes and neo-Keynesians, to Hayek and “Austrian economics,” as well as radical critics of market economics. Particular attention is paid to the normative questions that underpin these theoretical reflections and their relationship to political thought and ideologies, including classical liberalism, libertarianism, egalitarianism, feminism, and so on. Students will have opportunities to think about how these theoretical themes can help making sense of contemporary policy issues, e.g., , economic inequalities, causes of business cycles, the return of protectionism, inflation, etc.

Course Format:

The weekly seminars include a two-hour lecture and a one-hour discussion period.

Note:  This course is combined with POL 856.


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





Dobuzinskis, Laurent. 2022. Moral Discourse in the History of Economic Thought. London: Routledge (the hard copy is expensive if you wish to purchase it and, for this reason, will not be ordered by the SFU Bookstore, although it, or a cheaper Kindle version, can be ordered from many other vendors; a digital copy is available on the SFU Library website).


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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