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Real Donut Economics


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

  • Microeconomics (preferred), or

  • Macroeconomics, or

  • International Economics, or

  • the instructor’s permission

Recommended course(s):

  • Quantitative Research Methods


Doughnut Economics (Raworth, 2017) brought a lot of new attention to old ideas around growth (how much is too much?) and development (what about the poor?). In this 300-level course, we will review the theories and evidence related to economic growth and human development --- processes that affect each other as they influence our lives on the extensive (quantified growth) and intensive (quality of life) margins, respectively. Our main goal is to find ways to apply Raworth's ideas in ways that are compatible with political-economic realities.

Course Objectives


  • Have mastered and presented (orally and in writing) a case study exploring the drivers, costs, benefits, and barriers for a growth and/or development topic of their choice


  • The role of individuals, groups and nations in innovation and productivity.

  • The impact of equality, access and opportunity on development.

  • The connections between theories and empirical evidence for growth.

  • Growth/development via, e.g., comparative advantage, colonial mercantilism, resource exploitation, and institutional evolution.

  • The connections among growth, human development, and sustainability


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2023-2024 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The course is taught through two-hour seminars. Students will be expected to participate in both large and small group discussions; present and defend their ideas within an academic setting; and take part in group projects. The instructor will facilitate and ensure the efficient running of the discussion, but students are responsible for its quality.

Assessment Method

  • Class participation: 10% (continuous weeks 1-7)

  • Study team: 10% (continuous weeks 1-7)

  • Blog post: 10% (due week 4)

  • Peer reviews: 2x10% (due week 6/7)

  • Individual Presentation: 10% (due week 7)

  • Case study paper: 40% (due reading week)

Reading list

Around 25 academic papers (500+ pages).


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. David Zetland,
Leiden University College, Room 4.37