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IIPPE Working Group Teaching Political Economy, Interdisciplinarity and Pluralism

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Focus and aims

This working group will focus on:

  • how to improve the methods of teaching political economy and economics
  • on gathering data regarding
  • the extent to which forms of pluralism are present in various economics curricula around the world
  • the challenges in introducing pluralism in the economics curriculum

The aim is to build better teaching and learning practices. We hope through this initiative to contribute towards the health of economics as a discipline. Members of the group will undertake relevant research. Outputs if the initiative will include:

  • Education of better and more socially responsible economists
  • Impacts on the education policies in various academic systems worldwide.

The working group will also disseminate suitable course-related material through the WEA Textbook Commentaries Project.

About the IIPPE

The International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy (IIPPE) was founded in YEAR? and has as main objectives:

  • engagement with Marxist political economy,
  • the advancement of political economy across other social sciences,
  • engagement with activism through progressive policies but also critical engagement with other political economy and heterodox schools in economics.

The distinctive nature of IIPPE is its academic structure. This is organized around various working groups that “facilitate the pursuit of IIPPE’s aims within a specific existential, theoretical or political field “ (Constitution of IIPPE, point 4, available at:

Why this initiative?

The past 2-3 years have experienced strong student movements in UK that have challenged the ways economics is currently taught in UK universities, asking for the presence of pluralism in teaching economics, including more variety of economic methods, heterodox ideas and theories, the re-introduction of history of economic thought courses on the curriculum, and so on. This wave of criticism against the homogeneity in teaching economics has culminated with the creation of various student societies in UK and worldwide such as the WEA Young Economists Network (YEN), Rethinking Economics, the International Student Initiative for Promoting Pluralism in Economics, the Post-Crash Economics Society, and the Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism.

During the summer of 2014, following a meeting in London to discuss the future of IIPPE in London, Susan Newman suggested the creation of a working group focused on Teaching Political Economy. This would build on the social activism tradition of IIPPE and also liaise with the student societies. It would contribute to the worldwide discussion on how to advance progress in economics as a discipline. At the same time, Kevin Deane proposed a discussion session around the issues of teaching political economy at the 5th Conference of IIPPE organized by Universita Degli Studi Orientale, Naples, 16-18th of September 2014. The session was held and speakers included Annina Kaltenbrunner, Elisa van Waeyenberge and myself. There was wide-ranging discussion covering the experiences of participants and the challenges faced in various cultures in introducing forms of pluralism into the economics classroom.

As a result, this working group has been formed around subjects of interest in teaching political economy. It includes a strong sub-group focused on research projects and events around issues of pluralism in economics and in teaching political economy.

To participate, or for more information, email me, Ioana Negru, at:

From: p.7 of World Economics Association Newsletter 4(5), October 2014

Download WEA commentaries Volume 4, Issue No. 5, October 2014 ›

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