The M.A. International Economics offers an in-depth exploration of international macroeconomic problems from a pluralist and interdisciplinary perspective, like global imbalances, macroeconomic instability, inequality and ecological constraints. It aims at a critical understanding of current debates, in economics, including heterodox approaches.
How does the programme provide content to ensure students achieve an understanding of a reasonably diverse set of perspectives on understanding economies?
The programme focusses on real world problems in international economics, like global and regional imbalances, macroeconomic instability, inequality and ecological constraints on economic activity, and it follows a pluralist approach. Different theoretical perspectives on the economic problems are discussed, different methods of analysis are studied, and the economic policy implications are derived. Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, the programme seeks to stress the importance of social and political institutions for economic development. Students obtain a critical understanding of modern versions of orthodox economics and of a range of modern heterodox approaches, like post-Keynesian economics, monetary Keynesian development theories, Marxian political economy, international political economy, gender and ecological economics.
How does the programme ensure students understand the interaction between economic and ecological systems?
Ecological constraints on economic activity and the ecological crisis are touched upon in some courses in the first semester, and students can deepen their knowledge in courses like Labour & Ecology, Feminist & Ecological Economics and Current Issues in International Economics in the second semester. Also courses like Distribution and Growth are dealing with ecological constraints to economic growth and concepts of de-growth, zero-growth or green growth. In the 3rd semester students can do an internship in NGOs, public or private institutions related to ecological or other topics of their interest.
How does the programme ensure students understand how to critically explore real-world evidence, both qualitative and quantitative?
Teaching focusses on real-world problems, referring to both qualitative and quantitative empirical methods. A pluralist perspective is adopted, both theoretically and empirically. In the first semester, students work on term papers, usually in groups, in order to apply the theoretical and empirical methods they have learned. In the second semester project course Current Issues in International Economics students work in small teams on research projects, supervised by a professor. This provides a good exercise for the later Master thesis supported by a research seminar. Furthermore, students can attend courses in Quantative Methods for Economists, Econometrics or in Programming in order to improve their respective skills.
What pedagogical approaches does the programme use to ensure that students examine the historical context, assumptions and values in all economic thinking?
Learning about the historical, social and institutional context of economic thinking is most important for the M.A. Internationale Economics programme, and is the backbone of several courses. For example, the Macroeconomics course of the first semester starts with an overview of economic development of modern capitalism since the 1950s, and then discusses the dominant macroeconomic paradigms of the 1950s and 1960s, the neoclassical synthesis, of the 1970s and 1980s, monetarism and new classical economics, and since the mid 1990s, new Keynesianism, against this changing background. An alternative approach is studied, starting with the works of Keynes and Kalecki in the 1930s, before modern post-Keynesian approaches as potential alternatives to new Keynesian economics and answers to the current challenges in modern capitalism are explored.
How does the department ensure that the teaching culture and capacity to deliver economic pluralism are continually improving?
The staff of the M.A. International Economics includes senior professors from economics, sociology, political science and law, who are well established in their areas of research and teaching, as well as several young researchers and lecturers with a high potential. This variety provides a pluralist and interdisciplinary atmosphere. Students are taught in courses with no more than 40 participants, which allows for intense discussions and personal relationships with the lecturers. Student feedback is most important for the improvement of the quality of teaching. The didactics of the courses include lectures, plenary discussions, group work, and students’ peer-to-peer commenting which provides for a high degree of social learning. Students’ cohorts are highly international (50% non-EU, 30% non-German-EU, 20% German).
Department of Business and Economics