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Global Challenges: Prosperity



First-year programme.

Admissions requirements



Do human societies progress? It seems uncontestable that some societies have made immense leaps forward over the last 200 years, reaching levels of wealth and welfare that had long been unthinkable. Technology, in all its guises, has been an essential driver of this progress. At the same time, however, it is clear that welfare has been unevenly spread: while Norwegians on average live until they are 81 and face a 0.3% chance that their newborn baby will die before the age of 5, Malians only live for 51 years and face a 13% chance of child mortality. To account for this global inequality in development, social scientists argue that innovation and human welfare are contingent on the ways in which people work together, and the rules they construct to facilitate this collaboration (or ‘institutions’). This course introduces students to the ways in which institutions shape human welfare and the ‘right’ institutions can be designed and reinforced. As such, it provides students with analytical tools to understand and address the global challenges of governance and international development.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  • Be able to reflect on the meanings, measurements, and drivers of prosperity and human welfare;

  • Be able to apply several core analytical tools from the social sciences to the study of prosperity and human welfare; and

  • Have practiced the skills of academic writing, critical reading, and analytical argumentation.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

This course is taught through weekly 2-hour lectures and 2-hour interactive seminars.


Class participation, all weeks, 20%
Factsheet, week 1, 15%
Case application, week 3, 15%
Solution essay, Week 6, 15%
Final exam, Week 8, 35%

The detailed instructions for all assessments will be presented on Blackboard. Students must submit all graded assignments to be able to pass the course. The Grading Policy (Appendix I) and Attendance Policy (Appendix II) have been attached to this syllabus.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

The literature for each lecture and/or seminar will be placed on the Blackboard, where you will find the majority of articles and chapters. Students are required to read the mandatory literature in preparation for each lecture and/or seminar; moreover, they need to be prepared to discuss the readings in seminars. In the case that material cannot appear on Blackboard, the web link will be placed in the syllabus.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. David Ehrhardt,