Business and Politics: Power in a Global World

This seminar course explores the political power of business from an international and comparative perspective. We will examine the ways that business can acquire and exert political power and the ways politics and policy can shape business power. We will draw from various disciplines, such as international and comparative political economy, global governance, management, and sociology. Topics of discussion include the role of public authority in governing business behavior, the formation of business interests and preferences, business’ instrumental, structural and discursive power, corporate lobbying and agenda setting, capitalist ideology, civil society activism toward business, corporate social responsibility and transnational private governance.

Comparative Public Policy

Why do countries adopt different policies to deal with similar problems? How can we explain that countries at times adopt similar policies, even though they come from different starting points? This seminar course explores these questions of policy divergence and convergence across countries in North America and Europe. To do this, we will analyze four main factors that influence policy making: institutions, interests, ideas, and the international environment. We will examine how these factors determine policy making in and of themselves as well as in interaction with one another. This course will predominantly adopt a political economy perspective, in the sense that we will pay particular attention to the influence of economic factors on policy making and to explaining economic policy and the economic aspects of various policy areas. Substantively, the course will discuss several issue areas of contemporary relevance, such as policies dealing with environmental change, new technologies, and economic crisis.

Political Economy: International and Comparative Perspectives

Interactions between politics and economics lie at the heart of many of today’s most important issues. The renegotiation of NAFTA, Brexit, the rise of China, environmental change and increasing inequality both within and among countries are in essence political economy issues. They deal with questions around the governance of the economy and the influence of economic conditions on political outcomes. This course is designed to explore such topics by discussing concepts and theories from the field of political economy. We will explore the history of the globalization of the economy, discuss traditional and contemporary theories of political economy, examine issue areas such as trade, production, development, poverty and inequality, and environmental change, and critically explore how core concepts are defined and measured.

Public Policy Making: Domestic, International and Transnational Perspectives

This course provides an introduction to the process of public policy making. The course will address the nature and context of public policy making and the influence of key actors and institutions. We will review several theoretical approaches to policy making while focusing on the various stages of the policy process (agenda setting, decision making, implementation, and evaluation), policy durability and change, policy making beyond the state, and the emergence of private forms of governance.


    Teaching Fellow, Institutions and the Environment, Prof. B. Cashore, spring 2010; spring 2014
    Teaching Fellow, International Environmental Policy and Governance, Prof. B. Cashore, fall 2010

    Teaching Fellow, The New Corporate Social Responsibility: Public Problems, Private Solutions, and Strategic Responses, Prof. B. Cashore, fall 2009 


    Lecturer, Seminar in International Relations: Private Actors in International Relations, 2005-2006 and 2006-2007

    Teaching Assistant, International Organization, Prof. H. Bruyninckx, spring 2006

    Teaching Assistant, International Environmental Politics and Sustainable Development, Prof. H. Bruyninckx, fall 2005

    Teaching Assistant, Theories of International Relations, Prof. H. Bruyninckx, fall 2005

    Preparation and facilitation of two-day workshops (3 per year) for the students of the Master in Conflict and Peace Studies 2005-2007