The different schools of IPE

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As early as the 1970s two different schools of IPE emerged: the American and the British school. Benjamin Cohen studies the differences between the British and the American approach to IPE and suggests while the existence of the two schools is valuable, more interaction between them is necessary.

The principles of the American school of IPE are positivism and empiricalism. The American school studies what is and often uses scientific techniques to test hypothesis. Though the discipline is mostly studied by political scientists, they use the research methodology of the economics discipline. For the American school of IPE states are the center of analysis, the second level of Waltz’s classification. American theorists acknowledge the increasing influence of international institutions in international relations. Scholars of the American school of IPE: Robert Gilpin, Peter Katzenstein, Robert Keohane, Charles Kindleberger, Stephen Krasner, Joseph Nye

The British school of IPE is more inclusive, it is more open to the social sciences other than economics and politics. For this reason, the British school often discusses normative questions and uses an interpretive tone. The research methodology of the British school is generally less formal, allowing the discussion of a wide range of social issues. The British school does not restrict its analysis to the level of states; many other agents can enter the reasoning as units of interest. Scholars of the British school of IPE: Robert Cox, Susan Strange

Cohen, Benjamin J. “Introduction.” In Building Bridges: The Construction of International Political Economy, edited by Benjamin J. Cohen. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008 Cohen, Benjamin J. The transatlantic divide: why are American and British IPE so different? Prepared for the first meeting of the International Political Economy Society, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 17-18 November 2006 09/17/2010