The academic boundaries of IPE are flexible. Despite such disagreements, most scholars can concur that IPE ultimately is concerned with the ways in which political forces [states, institutions, individual actors etc] shape the systems through which economic interactions are expressed, and conversely the effect that economic interactions [including the power of collective markets and individuals acing both within and outside them] have upon political structures [way in which a government is run] and outcomes.
In short IPE is a study of a set of related problems which includes the political economy of
- International trade (with particular attention to the politics surrounding trade deals, but also significant work examining the results of trade deals) and global markets,
- International finance,
- North-South relations
- Multi-state cooperation in solving trans-border economic problems,
- The problem of hegemony
- The structural balance of power between and among states and institutions. Unlike the broader field international relations, power is understood to be both economic and political, which are interrelated in a complex manner.
- This set of problems has been broadened in 1990’s to issues raised by globalization [Globalization is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture] and climate change.
IPE scholars are at the centre of the debate and research surrounding globalization, both in the popular and academic spheres.
Since the 2000s, IPE has devoted significant attention to global threats and crises, including climate change and worldwide financial instability.