Economics of Development (90-827)

The purpose of this course is to build an understanding of key economic problems that face developing countries. In the first part we will focus on general models of growth and development. This will include a look at growth theory, structural models of development and more recent innovations in thinking about growth. In the second part of the course we will concentrate on specific, mostly domestic problems of economic development. These challenges include poverty and income inequality, agricultural and rural development, the role of human capital, credit and finance, and health and nutrition. The final section of the course will deal with the challenges faced by developing countries in an increasingly global context. This will include issues of trade, macroeconomics and international finance. The course will mix theory with empirical analysis. In addition to traditional economic analysis of development problems, we will also spend time examining insights from two more recent perspectives – institutional economics and the methodological approaches of randomized controlled trials (so-called “field experiments). We will also include brief case studies as a means of testing our analytic knowledge against the complexity of reality.

*This course uses a course packet or case studies. Students will be charged a fee for the course materials. The fee for these materials will be charged to the student's account.

Learning Objectives

  1. Articulate the basic analytic frameworks the discipline of economics applies to problems in development and coherently explain the differences between these frameworks as well as their applicability to different types of problems;
  2. Interpret current and past development policies of particular countries with respect to their consistency with these frameworks;
  3. Understand and articulate how the traditional structuralist perspective on development is augmented by insights from the literature on institutions and field experiments and how these perspectives differ on fundamental issues.
  4. Analyze current policy problems faced by particular developing societies and critique proposed or actual policy solutions;
  5. Develop and present orally and in writing coherent and consistent policies to address both near term and long-run problems faced by developing societies.
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