AEP-30306 The Economics and Politics of European Integration: Agricultural, Rural and Regional Policy Analysis


Studiepunten 6.00

Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. R Ihle
Lecturer(s)dr. R Ihle
dr. JJL Candel
prof. dr. JHH Wesseler
dr. LKE Dries
Examiner(s)dr. R Ihle
dr. LKE Dries
dr. JJL Candel

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

AEP-20306 Economics of Agribusiness or UEC-21806 Microeconomics


This course gives you a comprehensive overview of various policy areas of the European Union (EU) that are relevant to the domains of Wageningen UR. The course prepares you to write a MSc thesis in the areas of 'Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy Analysis' (AEP group), 'Public Administration and Policy' (PAP group), or a combination of both.

The subject of this course is the analysis of political decision-making processes and their economic effects in a range of ‘green’ policies implemented by the EU. European integration implies that the members of the EU give up parts of their sovereignty in pursuit of shared goals. This course gives an overview of selected aspects of this integration process, its challenges and effects. Policies which are an integral part of the integration process of the EU are in the centre of the course. Further EU policies relevant for the green economy such as the ones for environment, regional development and food safety are discussed as well. The course focuses on the formation of policies for agriculture, trade and regions of the EU and the assessment of their economic effects. The course provides a combination of economic as well as political science perspectives on a range of policy fields.
The course consists of several parts. First, EU integration and EU policy making are introduced. Second, tools from micro economics (e.g. welfare analysis) and political science (e.g. content analysis) used for policy analysis are explained and practiced. Third, details of the institutions of the EU, its policy instruments and the underlying political and economic rationales are provided. The fourth part gives an overview of EU policies for agriculture, food, regions and trade as these domains are of key importance for European integration. They constitute a large part of the EU budget and they are vital for the Union’s future. Special attention will be paid to the different sectorial policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy and its effects on various stakeholders. Finally, attention is paid to EU trade policies with the rest of the world such as international trade liberalisation, non-tariff trade barriers and regional trade agreements.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand and explain the economic and political rationales of the process of European integration and topical issues;
- understand the agricultural, trade and regional policies of the EU, and explain their economic and political rationales;
-analyse the process of policy development and policy implementation in a multilevel context of different member states, the EU institutions and global institutions;
-apply micro-economic and discourse theory to assess impacts of agricultural, trade and regional policies on stakeholders;
-evaluate economic instruments implemented for specific policy aims;
-independently structure and design a MSc thesis proposal and
-provide high-quality feedback on research proposals of peer students.


- attending lectures
- prepare lectures by doing the home-reading on the basis of guiding reading questions
- solving assignments and presenting and discussing solutions during the practical sessions
- designing, structuring and writing a MSc thesis proposal
- working independently through an online module for improving feedback giving skills
- evaluating MSc thesis proposals of peer students and giving feedback to each other
- voluntary preparation of a research dossier


- presentation (20%);
- research proposal (20%);
- written exam with open and closed questions (60%).
The minimum mark for the written exam is 5.0. Students can obtain one potential additional point from the voluntary research dossier if they have successfully completed it. To pass the course, a minimum final grade of 5.5 needs to be attained. The maximum final grade is 10.


- Baldwin, R., and C. Wyplosz (2015): The Economics of the European Integration. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, London. 5th edition (mentioned as ‘B&W’ in the course schedule below).
- Wallace, H., Pollack, M.A. and A. R. Young (2015): Policy-Making in the European Union. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 7th edition (W et al.).
Selected articles, book chapters and other material made available in Brightspace such as:
- FAO (2011): Safeguarding food security in volatile global markets (FAO);
- Lelieveldt & Princen (2015): The Politics of the European Union. Cambridge University Press (L&P);
- Oskam, Meester & Silvis (2011): EU policy for agriculture, food and rural areas. Wageningen Academic Publishers (O,M&S). 
A study collection of further reading on the topic of the course will be available in the Leeuwenborch library during the duration of the course (ask at the library reception for it). The collection provides several textbooks which can be useful for deepening the contents of the course or for drafting the MSc thesis proposal.

Keuze voor: MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScC: Spec. C - Economics and Governance5AF
MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScC: Spec. C - Economics and Governance5AF
MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScC: Spec. C - Economics and Governance5AF
MOAOrganic AgricultureMScB: Spec. B - Sustainable Food Systems5AF