PSC 141 – Introduction to International Politics
Paper #1: International Political Economy
In this paper, you are to analyze problems of cooperation in a current issue – meaning active
within the last two years – in international political economy (i.e., issues not related to war and
security), using the concepts of information, distribution, and enforcement. These ideas
characterize much of what we have discussed to date, even if we haven’t directly used this
language. For example, in our examination of the politics of trade, we saw how distribution
problems are present when we consider particular winners and losers from free and open trade.
Today, we learned about the role of distribution problems in Britain’s decision to withdraw from
the European Union. In the next couple of weeks, we will see how all three types of problems
arise in the realm of the environment. To bring further clarity to these concepts, I have also
uploaded a document that goes in to some detail on the problems of information, distribution,
and enforcement. It is labeled Koremenos.CooperationProblems.
Some of the cases you might want to choose from include:
Locusts/famine in East Africa
The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (President Trump withdrew the US from the deal
but 11 states are still a part of what was the largest free trade deal in history)
Negotiations between the US and European Union regarding the proposed Transatlantic Trade
and Investment Partnership
The African Union’s campaign to end child marriage
Global efforts to combat human trafficking
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (China’s alternative to the Trans-Pacific
If you choose to write on a topic not listed here, I suggest that you run it by me first. You should
clearly identify the actors involved, define problems of cooperation that you choose to include,
and describe how they appear in your issue. It may very well be the case that these issues were
overcome in your chosen case; if so, explain how the actors involved were able to get past such
barriers. While you do not have to answer all (or any) of these questions to write a successful
paper, some other questions you might consider as you approach planning out your essay
Why is it easy or hard for cooperation to emerge on your issue?
What are the consequences if the actors fail to cooperate after agreeing to do so?
Do the actors differ in how they view the attractiveness of different possible agreements?
Are the consequences of the policies that flow from the agreement uncertain?
Is one of the problems of cooperation more present than the others?
How might compliance on your issue be enforced?
Some Guidance in How to Structure Your Paper
Simple structure generally works best for these papers. A clear, simple structure communicates
your argument to the reader readily. Your first paragraph needs to state your thesis statement for
the paper. A typical thesis statement identifies both the logic you are discussing and how it fits.
The introductory paragraph should do two things: introduce the topic and identify your
argument. Follow your opening paragraph with separate paragraphs on the points of your
argument. Start each substantive paragraph with the topic sentence for that paragraph. End your
paper with a brief concluding paragraph. The concluding paragraph needs to reiterate your
argument and summarize your evidence for it.
To help you out, I have uploaded some sample papers to the Canvas site so you have some ideas
of what this should look like.
You have 1,000-1,200 words to work with. Please remember to put a word count at the end of
your paper. Also, please use at least 5 different sources. Again, if you are unsure about the
validity of a source, ask me. Also, if you are unsure about whether or not you should insert a
citation for something you want to include, my recommendation is to do so. Doing so can’t hurt
you so you might as well do it.
AS NOTED ON THE SYLLABUS, THIS PAPER IS DUE AT 9:00 AM (HARDCOPY
ONLY) IN CLASS ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28.