The principal objective of this course is to familiarize students with the basic tools and theoretical concepts that development economists most frequently use both to analyze and understand the leading economic development issues and to give relevant policy advice to decision makers. Related empirical evidence is also examined. Students are expected to attain a level of proficiency in development economics whereby they can hold their own and feel comfortable discussing economic development issues, particularly policy-related issues, with development economists and economic policymakers.
The course starts with the basics: the meaning and measurement of development, including how to access and use important databases, the relationship between economic growth and development, and the overall growth and development experience of countries and regions in the developing world. In addition, the course offers a general introduction to multivariate regression analysis through a workshop with hands-on computer lab experience, aimed at giving students access to the vast empirical literature that now uses these methods. The course then turns to the major subject areas, including: (i) theories of economic growth and their relevance for developing countries; (ii) growth accounting or growth empirics; (iii) the underlying long term determinants of economic growth—initial conditions, economic policies, institutions; human capital, exogenous factors; (iv) theories of structural change, including the policies, institutions and conditions at both local and national levels that enable countries to progress from rural agrarian societies to developed industrial economies; (v) poverty and inequality and the linkages between them and economic growth and development; (vi) policymaking, the role and functions of the state, public goods and externalities and macroeconomic management including the role of central banks and exchange rate regimes; (vii) foreign trade, finance and investment in the developing world; and (viii) the role and effectiveness of foreign aid and debt relief. The course ends with an overview of the current state and frontiers of development economics.
The format of the classes is a mix of lectures and seminar-style discussions. Students are encouraged and expected to actively participate.