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2022/2023  BA-BBLCV1706U  Market failure or government failure? State-business interactions in a global context

English Title
Market failure or government failure? State-business interactions in a global context

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Tine Walravens - Department of International Economics, Goverment and Business (EGB)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Methodology and philosophy of science
  • Political Science
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 15-02-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
In order to achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or minor mistakes:
  • - Compare, apply and assess competing perspectives and frameworks including new institutional economics, neo-pluralism, and theories of structural power that can be used to assess the power of business interests in contrasting settings and contexts
  • Evaluate the public policy implications of relevant theories and frameworks
  • Relate concepts and theories to empirical evidence
  • - Develop and sustain coherent and structured arguments in a well-reasoned manner using frameworks, approaches and methods drawn from the social sciences
Market failure or government failure? State-business interactions in a global context:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 7 days to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
A new exam assignment must be answered. This applies to all students (failed, ill, or otherwise)
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

State-business interactions in a global context explores the relationships between business, public policy and the state. These relationships can be considered in many different ways but this course focuses on the character and uses of business power. The lectures and classes consider the different settings in which business interests can wield political power and the settings within which politics and public policy shape the character of business activities. The course will also survey competing theories of business capacities including new institutional economics, neo-pluralism, as well as more radical critiques of capitalism. On this basis, the lectures and classes introduce case-studies drawn from the different continents but with particular attention to Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The course also incorporates relevant methodological considerations and seeks to guide students in employing these in relation to different forms of analysis.


The course will begin by introducing and surveying competing perspectives (including new institutional economics, neo-pluralism, and structural theories) on the power of business interests and their relationship with politics. Are firms the “prisoners” of political processes so that their success and a nation’s prosperity largely depend upon the existence of market-friendly institutions?  Alternatively, do business interests and market processes have such direct and indirect leverage that government must do their bidding or face dire economic consequences? Or maybe there is contestation between major firms and political actors so that policy decisions are unpredictable and depend upon the characteristics of a particular setting? On this basis, the course turns to consider different case-studies. These will be drawn from across the continents and include both democratic and authoritarian regimes.

Description of the teaching methods
The course will be structured around interactive classes with opportunities for questions and student contributions. All students will be encouraged to participate fully. We will facilitate the formation of study groups so that the assigned reading is approached collectively and there is a basis for relevant activity outside of the classroom. A workshop prepares the students for the end of course examination assignment.
Feedback during the teaching period
The course incorporates a workshop session providing extensive opportunities for feedback on the basis of sample examination questions and answers. Each of the classes will include group and individual exercises that will provide dialogue and discussion. Students are also encouraged to take full advantage of staff office hours if they would like an opportunity to ‘test’ arguments, secure further information about course themes, or receive comments on written work.
Student workload
Lectures 38 hours
Preparation 130 hours
Exam including preparation 40 hours
Expected literature

Bell, Stephen (2012) The Power of Ideas: The Ideational Shaping of the Structural Power of Business, International Studies Quarterly, December, 56 (4) 661-673


Klein, Peter G. (2000) New Institutional Economics, In: Encyclopedia of Law and Economics, Edward Elgar, pp. 456-489


Lindblom, Charles E. (1977) Politics and Markets: The World’s Political-Economic Systems, New York: Basic Books.


Lindsey, Brink and Steven Teles (2017) The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality, Oxford University Press


Morgan, Glenn and Christian Lyhne Ibsen (2021) Quiet Politics and the Power of Business: New Perspectives in an Era of Noisy Politics, Politics & Society, March, 49 (1), 3 - 16.

Last updated on 15-02-2022