International Political Economy in Context
Individual Choices, Global Effects
- Andrew C. Sobel - Washington University, St. Louis, USA
International Political Economy
“Instead of covering IPE from broad realist, liberal, critical, or whatever perspectives, Sobel takes one, very much up-to-date and non-paradigmatic rational choice perspective and uses it throughout the book. This really is the way it should be done!”
“Most other books leave the impression that political economy began in the 1980s, or are a morass of acronyms that most students will soon forget. International Political Economy in Context: Individual Choices, Global Effects is the one book that really renders effective treatments of the Big Ideas that shaped the political economy of the world over the past two centuries. Without that context one cannot possibly hope to understand what is happening today.”
“International Political Economy in Context’s strengths are its detailed, clear exposition. I read with delight the rather sophisticated analysis of difficult concepts like the balance of payments and the Bretton Woods meetings.”
Too special for the class.
As a scholar working on the IPE from a rather structural perspective, I have developed an overall positive opinion about this, rather agentic, perspective on the IPE. I will certainly use it and advice it to my students for this upcoming semester. It is a successful endeavor as it adequately strikes a balance between simplicity and depth. I am planning to use certain chapters of it, thereby making them essential reading(s), in order to provide an alternative, rather agential, source of the course of global political economy
For my methods course in international relations, this book has been classified as a supplemental reading. This is due to my course's focus on how to use IR data to answer IR and IPE research questions. Hence, the course is not theoretical, but Sobel's book is a nice accompanying guide book that clearly directs students towards the important and interesting questions in IPE research. It is easily accessible and provides an encompassing tour through various IPE topics, such as trade, private finance, collective action, interest groups, and international institutions. The stengths of this book are twofold: first, its devotion to micro-level approaches is exceptional. The book makes a nice contribution in underscoring how important disaggregation is, and that often domestic and international dynamics need to be analyzed in parallel to understand IPE pheonomena. Clearly, this provides students who most of the time search for international solutions to international problems with a novel insight. Second, the book does a nice job in providing historic context. This helps the reader, especially intermediate and advanced BA students, to put many of the IPE research questions that are discussed in the current literature into perspective. In reviewing the context of this strand of research, the book also sets itself apart from other IPE textbooks that focus only on analytical concepts, but give the historical foundations a less careful treatment. Overall, I can recommend this book to anyone interested in getting a good and comprehensive overview of IPE topics.