Majors

At Duke Kunshan University, each major consists of an interdisciplinary set of courses that integrate different forms of knowledge and a distinct set of disciplinary courses that provide expertise in specific areas.

Political Economy (Tracks: Political Science and Economics)
Political Economy/Political Science
Globalization and the profound structural changes occurring in international affairs make it imperative that we train a new generation of scholars and leaders who can navigate an increasingly complex world. This major examines politics, markets, and societies using a variety of analytic tools. Students learn to assess how international and domestic political factors interact with economic factors to determine outcomes in a wide variety of areas. Key areas of study include globalization, international trade and finance, regulation, development, taxes, institutional design, the environment and income distribution.

Required Courses

Divisional Foundation Courses
Interdisciplinary Courses
Disciplinary Courses

Recommended Electives for the Major

Courses listed below are recommended electives for the major. Students can also select other courses in different divisions as electives.

 

Political Economy/Economics
The Political Economy/Economics major examines the reciprocal relationships between politics, markets, and societies both within and among countries, using a variety of analytical tools. It emphasizes rigorous methods, including formal modeling, econometrics, and comparative case studies. Substantively, it analyzes how international and domestic political factors interact with macro and micro economic factors to determine outcomes in a wide variety of areas including globalization, international trade and finance, regulation, development, taxes, institutional design, the environment and income distribution.

Required Courses

Divisional Foundation Courses
Interdisciplinary Courses
Disciplinary Courses
*Only one Economics Principles course is required

Recommended Electives for the Major

Courses listed below are recommended electives for the major. Students can also select other courses in different divisions as electives.

 

Career Path

Graduates are prepared to understand and shape political and economic policy, to play leadership roles in the public and private sector at home and abroad, and to study at the world’s leading schools of politics, economics and international affairs.

Foundational Questions in Social Science

People everywhere ponder and debate fundamental questions: What does it mean to be human? How is society to be ordered? What is a moral life? Our ancestors asked such questions as well: it is likely that those questions lie at the origins of humanity itself. They also provide the foundations for much of the most important research in the social sciences today. This course examines the ways in which social scientists from a diversity of disciplines approach these fundamental questions. Study material for the course will include foundational texts from across the social sciences, as well as cutting-edge research from the present day. This course will not attempt to answer these vast questions, or provide neat solutions for students: rather, we want to excite students about the social sciences and whet their appetites for further study.

Introduction to Research Methods

This course provides students with an understanding of research designs and research methods used in the social sciences. Students will learn about the scientific method, research methods and design, measurement, and ethical issues. Topics include quantitative and qualitative approaches, as well as mixed methods.

Mathematical Foundations 1

The fundamental concepts and tools of calculus, probability, and linear algebra are essential to modern sciences, from the theories of physics and chemistry that have long been tightly coupled to mathematical ideas, to the collection and analysis of data on complex biological systems. Given the emerging technologies for collecting and sharing large data sets, some familiarity with computational and statistical methods is now also essential for modeling biological and physical systems and interpreting experimental results. MF1 is an introduction to differential and integral calculus that focuses on the concepts necessary for understanding the meaning of differential equations and their solutions. It includes an introduction to a software package for numerical solution of ordinary differential equations.

Introduction to Statistical Methods

This course covers techniques for organizing data, computing, and interpreting measures of central tendency, variability, and association. Estimation, confidence intervals, tests of hypotheses, t-tests, correlation, and regression. Possible topics: analysis of variance and chi-square tests, computer statistical packages.

Ethics, Markets, Politics

What should be the relation between markets in which goods and services are exchanged, the state that has potential supportive and regulatory functions toward the markets, and ethical values such as human welfare, the desire for meaningful work, equality, and justice? To what extent can and should markets be regulated by the state for the sake of such values? Should businesses act on moral values as well as the profit motive? To what extent should consumers guide their choices in the market according to ethical values? An interdisciplinary approach through philosophy, political theory and economics.

Economics Principles

Asurvey of basic tools in economics. Examination of how commodity demand is determined, what affects supply of the commodity, how price is determined, when optimal market allocation of resources and failure occur, and basic topics concerning the aggregate economy. Students will apply these principles to contemporary social science issues.

Development

This course provides an overview of advanced contemporary work on the political economy of development. The course brings together three intersecting fields of study: models of economic growth, research on the political economy of development, and recent work using field and natural experimental approaches to test the impact of policy interventions on local development. Students will study examples; theoretical and methodological issues bearing on the study of economic growth; the fundamentals of economic growth, such as climate, geography, endowments, historical legacies, and technological innovation, and human capital; and political economic issues, such as political institutions, taxation and redistribution, and foreign aid.

International Political Economy

This course is an introduction to international political economy, the study of how and why international economic policies are formed, and how the international economy influences domestic politics and economic performance. Course will include a significant amount of economic theory. The approach of the course is a mix of history and current events. We will examine the development of the international political-economic order since the 18th century and simultaneously compare “lessons from history” to present-day issues. We will also consider the extent to which the current global order fundamentally differs from the previous period of globalization (1815-1914). Topics covered include: foreign trade, capital flows, foreign direct investment and multinational corporations, monetary policy and exchange rates, immigration, and international organizations such as the WTO and IMF.

China’s Economic Transition

This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the Chinese economy and China’s role in the world economy. China’s current economic challenges will be given particular attention. Topics that will be addressed include: the Chinese economy before 1949; the socialist era, 1949-1978; economic reform and market transition; the role of state enterprises; foreign investment; foreign trade; China’s role in the East Asian trade-production network; the Chinese financial system; Chinese monetary and exchange rate policy; China’s role in global imbalances; the internationalization of the Yuan; and the housing market.

Conceptions of Democracy and Meritocracy

This course will examine democracy and meritocracy, exploring specifically the components, strengths, and liabilities of each. Particular focus will be on intersections between virtuosity, democracy and meritocracy. Readings will come from philosophy, political theory, history, and sociology. Potential application of these theories to the United States and to China, among other countries, will be discussed.

Policy Making Processes

This course is designed to teach students how to “read” a country’s political and economic system. The course will examine how the evolution of different institutional frameworks influences the way in which political choices are made. In particular, the course will focus on the institutional design choices available to constitution writers: 1) presidential, parliamentary executives and other political systems; 2) legislatures and their task structures (debate, oversight, law preparation, budgeting); 3) electoral laws and political parties; 4) veto-institutions, such as judicial oversight, federal delegation of authority to political subsidiaries; and 5) consequences of institutional choice: economic performance and political regime support.

Program Evaluation

This course introduces students to the approaches used by social scientists to evaluate the implementation and impacts of public policies. Topics covered include reasons for and uses of program evaluations; the different kinds of information gained through implementation analysis and the integration of qualitative and quantitative research; statistical power and effect size; and cost-benefit analysis. The bulk of the course focuses on the techniques, advantages, and drawbacks of experimental and quasi-experimental designs.

Public Opinion

Examines nature and role of public opinion from a comparative perspective, providing a broad-based introduction to the dynamics of citizens' social and political attitudes. The goal of the course is to help students arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of forces that shape beliefs, attitudes, and opinions of the public, the means by which those views are publicly expressed, and the influence of those opinions on policy outcomes. The course will also offer an introduction to the design, implementation, and analysis of public opinion surveys and election polls with a special focus on cutting-edge survey experiments and online designs.

International Politics

The theory and practice of international politics and foreign policy; analysis of the various elements of national power and its impact on differing world views and foreign policy behavior, the instruments of foreign policy, and the controls of state/nation behavior across different historical periods and from different national and analytical perspectives.

World History and Global Interactions

This course offers a survey of the history of the world, by which is meant a historical overview of major processes and interactions in the development of human society since its early development some 60,000 years ago, going beyond the fundamental questions and concerns of area studies (such as East Asian studies, South Asian studies). In explaining the large scale processes such as empire building, commerce and religious practices, this course will show how various forms of human interactions, especially migration played a key role. This course will provide deep historical understanding for some of the pressing issues of the contemporary world such as migration, globalization, and imperialism.

Social Choice and Democracy

The central theme of this course is to examine the liberal conception of democracy as the aggregation of individual preferences. Students will explore and study questions such as: How can a collective (e.g., the electorate, legislature, collegial court, expert panel, or committee) arrive at coherent collective choices or judgments on some issues, on the basis of its members’ individual preferences? Who decide whose preferences should be counted? Do voters have the freedom to choose? What methods are used to aggregate preferences? What are the theoretical properties of these methods? How easily can outcomes be manipulated or distorted? Are there widespread election frauds? Answers to these questions are utmost important for any democratic decision-making body. Social choice theory will be used as our theoretical framework for the analysis of combining individual opinions, preferences, interests, or welfares to reach a collective decision.

The Politics of International Economic Relations: America in the World Economy

Introduction to politics of international economic relations through an examination of persistent major debates and current events in world politics and global economy. Topics include politics of trade; politics of money and finance; foreign direct investment, multinational corporations, and global value chains; politics of foreign aid and economic development; and corporate social responsibility in a global economy. Examines how material interests, historical and socio-political context, and institutions at domestic and international level shape a country's foreign economic policies. Special focus on U.S. foreign economic policy in comparative perspective.

International Politics of East Asia

Course explores the economic, political, and security issues in East Asia. Examines respective theoretical and historical backgrounds of the countries in the region (Japan, North and South Koreas, China, Southeast Asia, Taiwan). ;Focuses on issues surrounding the region, including globalization, economic interdependence, nuclear proliferation, territorial disputes, and terrorism. Utilization of some international relation theory and methodological tools for more systematic analysis of these issues. Readings will be drawn from international relations theory, political science and history.

Modern Chinese Politics

Course examines contemporary Chinese politics, covering regime institutions and processes, policies and their effects, and the dynamics of political development. Course includes an overview of Chinese political history since the founding of the People's Republic, and including the reform era beginning in 1978. Course addresses the role of the Chinese Communist party and central government, as well as the role of subnational government. Students examine state-society relations and political participation and protest as well as economic and social policy. Also includes attention to China's international political and economic relations and policy challenges China faces in the future.

Political and Social Inequality

How do different groups with different levels of political power shape political outcomes? How do gender, racial, environmental, and social inequalities express themselves through the political system? What is a ‘fair’ level of inequality? How do different institutional designs shape and channel inequality? This class introduces students to readings, arguments, and concepts that begin to explore the answers to these questions.

Pathologies of Modern Society: Foundational Ideas

This course introduces the ideas of 4 social theorists: Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim, and Weber. Described as “the founding fathers” of modern social theory, these thinkers sought to understand modern society, and its pathologies, in order to improve human life. Their ideas – such as public opinion and democratic despotism, alienation and ideology, rationalization and disenchantment, and organic solidarity and anomie – are still used by social scientists today to analyze and frame social, economic, and political problems.

Foundational Questions in Social Science

People everywhere ponder and debate fundamental questions: What does it mean to be human? How is society to be ordered? What is a moral life? Our ancestors asked such questions as well: it is likely that those questions lie at the origins of humanity itself. They also provide the foundations for much of the most important research in the social sciences today. This course examines the ways in which social scientists from a diversity of disciplines approach these fundamental questions. Study material for the course will include foundational texts from across the social sciences, as well as cutting-edge research from the present day. This course will not attempt to answer these vast questions, or provide neat solutions for students: rather, we want to excite students about the social sciences and whet their appetites for further study.

Mathematical Foundations 1

The fundamental concepts and tools of calculus, probability, and linear algebra are essential to modern sciences, from the theories of physics and chemistry that have long been tightly coupled to mathematical ideas, to the collection and analysis of data on complex biological systems. Given the emerging technologies for collecting and sharing large data sets, some familiarity with computational and statistical methods is now also essential for modeling biological and physical systems and interpreting experimental results. MF1 is an introduction to differential and integral calculus that focuses on the concepts necessary for understanding the meaning of differential equations and their solutions. It includes an introduction to a software package for numerical solution of ordinary differential equations.

Introduction to Applied Statistical Methods

This course will introduce students to common statistics used in social science research articles and the media with the goal of making them informed and critical consumers of research results reported by various sources. Students will gain understanding of the conceptual basis and purpose of different statistics, as well as the formulas for deriving them. The relationship of statistical analysis to other components of the research process will be explicated. The course will be taught using team-based learning with an emphasis on the application of new concepts, knowledge, and skills in the classroom. Application activities will include interpreting statistics presented in tables and graphics in research articles and the media, critiquing conclusions drawn from statistics, and using statistical software, such as SPSS or Stata, to conduct statistical tests and generate tables and graphics.

Ethics, Markets, Politics

What should be the relation between markets in which goods and services are exchanged, the state that has a potential supportive and regulatory functions toward the markets, and ethical values such as human welfare, the desire for meaningful work, equality, and justice? To what extent can and should markets be regulated by the state for the sake of such values? Should businesses act on moral values as well as the profit motive? To what extent should consumers guide their choices in the market according to ethical values? An interdisciplinary approach through philosophy, political theory and economics.

Economics Principles*

Basic microeconomic concepts such as demand and supply, market structures and pricing, market efficiency and equilibrium. Macroeconomic concepts such as inflation, unemployment, trade, economic growth and development. Different perspectives on issues of monetary and fiscal policy. Emphasis on public policy issues and the logic behind the economic way of thinking.

Development

This course provides an overview of advanced contemporary work on the political economy of development. The goal is to bring together three intersecting field of study: models of economic growth, research on the political economy of development, and recent work using field and natural experimental approaches to test the impact of policy interventions on local development. Each week we will work through examples of each and do our best to find places of agreement and dissonance, keeping a special eye open for opportunities for research and policy interventions. The first part of the course will through basic theoretical and methodological issues bearing on the study of economic growth, spending considerable time on the pros and cons associated with the current move toward field experiments in developed economics. In the second half of the class, we will move on to fundamentals of economic growth—climate, geography, endowments, historical legacies, technological innovation and human capital—trying to understand how and if they bear on political economy. Finally, in the third portion of the class we will move on to issues that are more explicitly political economic, including political institutions, taxation and redistribution, and foreign aid.

International Political Economy

This course is an introduction to international political economy, the study of how and why international economic policies are formed, and how the international economy influences domestic politics and economic performance. In order to study the politics of the global economy, it is necessary to learn a significant amount of economic theory, which we will do in regular doses throughout the course. The approach of the course is a mix of history and current events. We will examine the development of the international political-economic order since the 18th century and simultaneously compare “lessons from history” to present-day issues. We will also consider the extent to which the current global order fundamentally differs from the previous period of globalization (1815-1914). Topics covered include: foreign trade, capital flows, foreign direct investment and multinational corporations, monetary policy and exchange rates, immigration, and international organizations such as the WTO and IMF.

China’s Economic Transition

This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the Chinese economy and China’s role in the world economy. China’s current economic challenges will be given particular attention. Topics that will be addressed include: the Chinese economy before 1949; the socialist era, 1949-1978; economic reform and market transition; the role of state enterprises; foreign investment; foreign trade; China’s role in the East Asian trade-production network; the Chinese financial system; Chinese monetary and exchange rate policy; China’s role in global imbalances; the internationalization of the Yuan; and the housing market.

Senior Seminar: Advanced Topics

Economics Principles*

Intermediate Microeconomics I

Introduction of the concepts of preferences and technologies. Intermediate development of the theory of demand, supply and competitive equilibrium from individual preferences and technologies. Income and substitution effects, uncompensated demand and marginal willingness to pay. Conditions under which competitive markets result in efficient outcomes. Conditions under which government policy has the potential to increase efficiency. Tension between economic efficiency and different notions of equity.

Intermediate Microeconomics II

Calculus-based generalization of the theory of demand and supply developed in ECON201D. Individual behavior in environments of risk and uncertainty. Introduction to game theory and strategic interaction. Adverse selection, moral hazard, non-competitive market structures, externalities, public goods.

Introduction to Econometrics

Introduction to the theory and practice of econometrics. Estimation, hypothesis testing and model evaluation in the linear regression model. Observational and experimental methods to identify causal effects including instrumental variable and panel data methods. Lectures are supplemented by labs that use STATA.

Intermediate Macroeconomics

Intermediate level treatment of macroeconomic models, fiscal and monetary policy, inflation, unemployment, economic growth.

Health Economics

Economic aspects of the production, distribution, and organization of health care services, such as measuring output, structure of markets, demand for services, pricing of services, cost of care, financing, mechanisms, and their impact on the relevant markets

Environmental Economics & Policy

The role of the environment in the theory and practice of economics. Topics include ways in which markets fail to efficiently allocate resources in the presence of pollution, along with the array of policies regulators used to correct those failures; the empirical techniques used by economists to put values on environmental commodities; and an examination of questions related to everyday environmental issues, particularly those confronting the developing world

Competitive Strategy & IO

Foundations of the field of industrial organization, including the theory of the firm, models of competition, market structure, pricing and dynamic models. Emphasis on theory with support from specific industries, including telecommunications, retail and airlines.

Health Economics

Economic aspects of the production, distribution, and organization of health care services, such as measuring output, structure of markets, demand for services, pricing of services, cost of care, financing, mechanisms, and their impact on the relevant markets.

Prerequisite(s): ECON 202

Environmental Economics

The role of the environment in the theory and practice of economics. Topics include ways in which markets fail to efficiently allocate resources in the presence of pollution, along with the array of policies regulators used to correct those failures; the empirical techniques used by economists to put values on environmental commodities; and an examination of questions related to everyday environmental issues, particularly those confronting China, and the developing world.

Prerequisite(s): MATH 101 Mathematical Foundations 1, or consent of the instructor

Environmental Justice: The Economics of Race, Place and Pollution

Minorities and low-income households bear a disproportionate burden from environmental pollution. The inequality may happen in many countries, cultures and contexts. This course examines ways in which environmental injustices in the USA, China and in the world may arise out of discriminatory behavior and/or market forces founded on individual, firm, and government incentives. The course also analyses policies that are aimed at providing fair treatment and equal protection from pollution regardless of race, color, or income. The course first sets the theoretical framework used to document and explain disproportionate exposures. Based on this foundation, students then review existing empirical evidence through case studies and evaluate competing explanations of sources of injustice. The objective of this course is to enable students to examine environmental justice issues using an economics framework, which provides a different perspective for evaluating policies to address environmental inequities observed in today’s world.

Prerequisite(s): ECON 101 Economics Principles, or consent of the instructor.

History of Monetary & International Crises

Course examines monetary/financial crises plaguing world since 16th century. Analyzes origin, unfolding, and impact of crises, debates generated by them, and formulation/implementation of policy measures. Attention to international implications/connections on European/Asian money supply, banking/credit systems; reaction to South Sea Bubble and John Law Credit Systems in numerous European nations; experiments with paper money in America; rise/demise of gold standard in 19th/20th century; currency and exchange rate problems of last three decades. Case studies will be selected and assigned according to participants’ interests.

Economic History and Modernization of the Islamic Middle East

Economic development of the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the present. Transformation of the region from an economically advanced area into part of the underdeveloped world. Role of religion in economic successes and failures. Obstacles to development today. Topics: Islamic economic institutions, economic roles of Islamic law, innovation and change, political economy of modernization, interactions with other regions, economic consequences of Islamism.