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Unit information: Development Economics in 2021/22

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

Description including Unit Aims

The fundamental question of development economics is why some countries grow rich while others remain poor. This unit looks at seven distinct, but related topics within the field of development economics. The focus is on what economists have thought of as "bottlenecks" holding people - and countries - back from economic development. For each bottleneck, we will study the relevant evidence - how do we know that a proposed mechanism is indeed keeping people in poverty? And equally important, what policies might alleviate the constraints we identify?

The unit requires no background in development economics.

The unit starts by looking at country-level economic development in the very long run - over centuries rather than years - but overall the unit has a micro- rather than macro-level focus. It is very much applied and there is an emphasis on policy. While primarily empirically oriented, we also draw on theory for several of the topics.

In the classes, students will take turns to present, in pairs, a case "for" or "against" a given motion, based on the unit readings (articles and book chapters) for a given topic. The presentations will set the tone for a class discussion on the topic. The classes will give students experience in taking a point of view and defending it, based on theory and evidence. This will build the ability to assess and weigh different policy options in a given situation. Students will also be equipped with the skills to understand and evaluate empirical findings on the determinants of economic outcomes in developing countries.

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 Information

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 Information

MCQ (25%)

Exam (2 hour) (75%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ECONM0003).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.