Country report (International Political Economy)
Country Report Assignment
Assignment: Choose a country and analyze its political economy. This necessitates understanding its domestic political economy, its environmental endowment, and its situation in the international economy. The goal is to 1) ascertain that country’s trade profile and macro-economic circumstances and 2) the challenges and opportunities it encounters in pursuing sustainable economic development.
Your analysis will consist of no more than six (6) numbered, double-spaced pages (with normal font and one-inch margins).
You might consider dividing the analysis into two parts. Part I should include answers to the following questions, not necessarily in this order:
1) What are your country’s main exports? What are its main imports?
2) What is its balance of trade?
3) What is its balance of payments?
4) How does the country’s trade balance affect its balance of payments circumstances?
5) What is the country’s export extroversion? In other words, what percentage of GDP is devoted to exports?
6) What countries/regions are your country’s primary clients and suppliers?
7) How has the country’s situation changed over time since, say, the 1970s?
The answers to these questions can be rendered briefly as well as pictorially (graphs, charts, etc.).
Part II c/should engage the following questions:
1) What explains the country’s trade profile? In other words, why does it export and import the goods it does? Why does it trade with certain partners and not others? Be sure to use the insights provided by our course materials.
2) How has the political system affected the country’s trade profile, its economic development, and environmental circumstances?
3) What are its future prospects for sustainable development?
Sources: Data is abundantly available. You might find it valuable to consult information available at www.cia.gov, www.state.gov, and www.export.gov (U.S. Commerce Department). In addition, www.worldbank.org and www.imf.org may be useful; in some instances, respective countries provide useful information. Where appropriate the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development might have information on your country at www.oecd.org. Finally, the Economist Intelligence Unit is helpful.
You are welcome to choose any country you wish. You might refrain, perhaps, from choosing a country with which you are very familiar – either by nationality or extensive acquaintance. You might also think in terms of broader ‘strategery’ – i.e., choosing a country with which you are not that familiar, one perhaps that you will soon visit or study, etc. Finally, please note, you may do the same country as a friend or colleague, but the final work must be your own.
Goals: The goals are two-fold. First, you should keep in mind the overlap between the current and the financial accounts in the Balance of Payments. Review Book Balaam, David and Bradford Dillman. 2011. Introduction to International Political Economy’s Chapters 6 and 7 for further insight. Second, the exercise should prompt you to link data with your analysis. Keep in mind that you do not need to offer the final word on your country. Indeed, you are encouraged to note discrepancies or confusions in your findings.
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