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Unit information: Development Economics in 2020/21

Unit name Development Economics
Unit code ECONM0003
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Berg
Open unit status Not open

Completion of first-term courses



School/department School of Economics
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This course focuses on human capital in poor countries. It covers theoretical and empirical material relating to the prevalence of low levels of education and child labour and poor health and high levels of childhood mortality. It focuses on the role of poverty/income and the role of the state, with an emphasis on the political economy of public goods provision.

The aim of the course is to introduce students to issues of fundamental importance to welfare, human development and growth in developing countries and to equip them with the techniques for modelling and analysing these questions as problems of resource allocation. The ultimate objective of the course is to provide students with the analytical apparatus needed to assess alternative policy measures directed at improving human development in poor countries.

This unit provides a thorough and in-depth treatment of the core topics in development economics, with a particular emphasis on the interaction of theoretical and empirical modelling.

Students will be equipped with the skills to understand and evaluate empirical findings on the determinants of economic outcomes in developing countries and the impacts of policy interventions.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

1. Describe key areas of focus within the field of development economics.

2. Explain how bottlenecks in the process of human development can be understood in economic terms.

3. Summarise, assess and critique, using their knowledge of economic theory and econometrics, a number of key readings in the field.

4. Draw on research findings to recommend policies for economic and human development.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions such as online teaching for large and small group, face-to-face small group classes (where possible) and interactive learning activities

Assessment Details

Online exam (100%)

Reading and References

The course readings largely consist of recent journal articles. The following are not all directly related to the course, but are useful background reading for students interested in the area.

  • Acemoglu, Daron and James Robinson. 2013. 'Why Nations Fail'. Profile Books.
  • Banerjee, Abhijit and Esther Duflo. 2011. 'Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty'. PublicAffairs
  • Bardhan, Pranab and Christopher Udry. 1999. 'Development Microeconomics'. Oxford University Press.
  • Ray, Debraj. 1998. 'Development Economics'. Princeton University Press.