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Learning Objectives

Students will be introduced to core facts and leading theories in development and growth economics. The course will stress the complexity of economic development by linking economic activity to the social and natural environments.
An overview of the principal paradigms of development and growth economics will be presented with a special focus on the role of institutions and cultural change.
Topics such as technical progress, inequality, population growth, education, finance and international trade will be presented.
Insights from fields such as sociology, psychology, political science and economic history will be shown to enhance the economic analysis.

Students will become familiar with a broad range of development theories and policy issues; the course will show students the usefulness of simple analytical and econometric models in understanding the phenomena of growth and development.
Learning outcomes from the course can be applied to work in the context of International institutions and/or national and local public administrations dealing with development and integration issues, as well as to contexts of poverty and deprivation in general.
Learning outcomes from the course can be used to assess critically and in a balanced way the activity and the decisions of national and international policymakers dealing with developing countries. Students will be able to understand novel and complex problems related to the process of development.
Students will receive intensive training in exposing facts and theories in a clear and rigorous way to both specialized and non-specialized audiences.
Students in the course are still in a phase in which they are learning to learn. Students are expected to be able to understand official reports and academic articles. They will also be able to use databases.
Special care will be given to the development of desirable personal qualities in students such as optimism, integrity and responibility as well as flexibility and interpersonal skills.


Basic knowledge of microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics.


• Focus Why are some countries poor while others are rich? What explains the success stories of economic development, and how can we learn from the failures? How do we make sense of the enormous inequalities that we see, both within and across countries ? What is the difference between development and growth? These, among others, are the “big questions” of economic development.

• Objectives . By the end of the course, students will have acquired an understanding of the main issues in development economics. Subjects as theories of economic growth, economic inequality and poverty, population growth and demographic issues, human capital accumulation, trade policy, the role of finance and international aid will be treated. Students will be exercised through intensive discussion of topics and the critical appraisal of current research.


First Part:

1 Introducing Economic Development: A Global Perspective

• The Meaning and Measurement of Economic Development.
• Standard and Alternative Approaches to Development.

• Poverty and Inequality: Measurement Issues
• Randomized Trials in the Fight against Poverty
• What’s Wrong about Inequality?
• Kuznets’s Hypothesis
• Growth, Poverty and Inequality

2 Economic Growth: Theory and Empirics
• Development as Growth:
• Neoclassical Growth Theory
• Endogenous Growth Theory
• Rostow’s Stages of Growth
• The Harrod-Domar Growth Model
• The Lewis Model

3 The Perpetuation of underdevelopment

• Coordination Failures and Multiple Equilibria
• The Big Push Model
• Dualism

•Centre-Periphery Models

4 Population and Economic Development

• World Population Growth throughout History
• The Demographic Transition
• The Malthusian Model
• High Fertility: the Debate

5 Human Capital

• Education and Health
• Child Labor
• The Gender Gap in Education and Health
• Educational and Health Systems: Social versus Private Benefits

6 Institutions and Economic Development

•Political Institutions

•Legal and Fiscal Institutions

7 Trade and Globalization

• Relative Factor Endowments and International Specialization: The Neoclassical Model
• Trade and Resource Growth: North-South Models of Unequal Trade
• Trade and New Growth Theory

8 Finance and Development

• Limits of credit markets
• Informal credit
• Microfinance

9 The Environment and Development

• Environmental Accounting
• Environment Relationships to Population, Poverty, and Economic Growth
• Economic Models of Environmental Issues

10 Foreign Aid

• Is Aid good for growth?
• Why Donors Give Aid
• Different Kinds of Aid

Notice that topics 5-10 will be covered on alternate years.


M.Todaro and S. Smith, Economic Development, Pearson Higher Education 2020 and
H. van den Berg Economic Growth and Development: Third Edition 2016, World Scientific Publishing.


Other useful references are A. de Janvry and E. Sadoulet Development economics : theory and practice. Routledge 2015, J. A Ocampo, C. Rada and L. Taylor Growth and Policy in Developing Countries: a Structuralist Approach, 2009, New York: Columbia University Press., G. Roland Development Economics Routledge 2016 and A.Thirwall and P. Pacheco-Lopez Economics of Development, MacMillan 2017. An extensive set of lecture notes and of readings will be made available during the course.

Teaching methods

Teaching methods
- Lectures
- Oral presentations by students of official reports, chapters of books or scientific articles to be discussed in c
Learning methods
- Active class participation
- Studying the indicated textbooks, handouts and journal articles
- Search for presentation materials in the library and on-line
- Studying these materials and organizing the presentation.

Exam Rules

The exam is the same for attending and non-attending students and evaluates the overall preparation of the student, the ability to integrate the various notions that have been learnt, the reasoning clarity, analytical skills the thought originality of the student.
Furthermore, language abilities are evaluated, in compliance with the Dublin descriptors (1. Knowledge and understanding) 2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding; 3. Making judgments; 4. Learning skills; 5: Communication skills.

The exam is oral and consists of three questions.
The examination will be graded according to the following criteria:
Unsuitable: major deficiencies in knowledge, understanding and exposition of topics;
18-20: Knowledge, understanding and exposition of topics, ability to analyze and synthesize: barely sufficient
21-23: Knowledge, understanding and exposition of topics, analysis and synthesis skills: acceptable.
24-26: Knowledge, understanding and exposition of topics, analysis and synthesis skills: fair.
27-29: Knowledge, understanding and exposition of topics, analysis and synthesis skills: good
30-30L: Excellent level of in-depth knowledge and understanding of topics. Excellent analytical and synthesis skills and independent judgment. Excellent expression skills.