PhD in political economy. Schedule for Next Fall Launch – Chicago Maroon



The program will be staffed by faculty from the Department of Political Science and the Harris School of Public Policy.

The Harris School of Public Policy and the Department of Political Science have launched a new Ph.D. program in Political Economy, which is currently accepting applications for its first cohort that will enroll in the fall of 2022.

The program, while facilitated by 22 faculty members from the Harris School and the Department of Political Science, will be separate from the Ph.D. programs in either school. The previous political economy track of the Harris Ph.D. in Public Policy Studies will be discontinued.

The Ph.D. Political Economy program is designed to be completed in five or six years. Requirements include comprehensive exams in formal theory, econometrics, and a subfield of political science; a 2nd year research dissertation; and a final research paper.

Program director Dr. Scott Gehlbach, currently a professor at the Harris School and the Department of Political Science, described political economy as something understood from the perspective of political science and economics. “A [understanding of political economy] defines political economy in terms of methods,” he said. “It is the use of game theory and empirical methods of causal inference to answer important questions in politics.

Gehlbach also offered a second definition of political economy that did not focus on the methods used. “Rather than methods, it’s about the interplay of politics and economics,” he said. “For example, the impact of economic conditions on political outcomes.”

Gehlbach emphasized the scope and size of the program, as well as its uniqueness: “You look at any other institution in North America at least, probably any other institution anywhere, you won’t find 22 people with research interests in political economy. It’s an incredible concentration of people in Chicago.

Some other universities, however, offer similar programs. Gehlbach mentioned that Princeton University and Stanford Business School offer doctorates in political economy, but he remains confident the program will provide its graduates with notable opportunities. “We train students to become professors in the best research institutes. We hope to place students in top research institutions,” he said. In a Twitter feed Announcing the program, Gehlbach also said that students can expect “strong financial support” and that “stipends will be very competitive.”

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