Selected topics in development economics

Time I: 
10:00am to 01:00pm
Venue I: 
WZB, Reichpietschufer 50, room B004

The course will provide an overview of some select topics in development economics. The starting point will be a short treatment of macro-economic approaches to development, particularly, a) classical growth theories, the convergence debate, and its policy implications; b) comparative development--culture, geography, and institutions; and c) unified growth theory: growth over the last 13,000 years.

From there, the course will move to a more micro-oriented perspective, which will be the focus of the rest of the course. This part will start from a methodological discussion on how to detect and quantify the causal effects of policy interventions and development programs. Then some select topics will be addressed, amongst which:
- the condition of the poor, poverty lines, and risk exposure
- economic preferences: measurement, determination, and their role in farming and investment decisions
- credit and insurance: formal and informal institutions
- health and fertility decisions

The course will mostly be based on the presentation and critical discussion of papers, combined with about 1/3 of presentation of more formal theory by the instructor. The students are encouraged to actively partake in the discussions, and substantial reading prior to the sessions is a requirement. This is indeed necessary to obtain at least a superficial understanding of a very large research field. The length of the course will depend on the number of students.

Literature: to be determined

Course dates: The course, which includes 3 hours per week, starts on October 14 and ends in December (date tba.).

Exam: The grade will be made up of a presentation during the class (30%), class participation and discussion (20%), and a final essay (50%).

Fall 2014
Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung