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Economics of Development


Admission requirements

Principles of Economics gives access to this course. Economics of Development gives access to the 300-level courses of the International Development major and the Economics track.


One of the greatest challenges humanity is poverty and global disparities in living standards; in other words, the gap between the world’s haves and the have nots. This is more determined by where (which country) people live than by socio-economic class, as was traditionally the case. In poor developing countries about a fifth of the population live in abject poverty (less than 1.23 dollars a day in cost of living adjusted terms) and about 40% do with less than $2 a day (again in cost of living adjusted dollars). This retards their capabilities and human development. Furthermore, the gap between richer and poorer nations in terms of living standards seems to be widening for the last two-three centuries but particularly more so in the last half a century. This increases pressures for migration. Moreover, poverty is also seen to produce large scale internal conflict, including civil wars, which serve to further retard development. Thus, the lack of progress in the poorer parts of the world hinder human development, promote insecurity both nationally and internationally, besides being an affront to our common humanity. This course looks at these phenomena and attempts to introduce you to their causes. This course will look at the data on growth for the last two centuries, which explains why some countries are richer and others poorer nowadays. It will look at competing growth theories, the role of policies and the long-run determinants of growth. It will also examine poverty, inequality and the inequality between nations. It will end by examining the causes of civil war and whether trade and democracy can promote peace.

Course objectives

After taking the course participants will have an understanding of economic underdevelopment and its manifestations in terms of poverty and deprivation. They will have an understanding of the root causes of economic development in terms of the failure of growth, the nature of the distribution of income (inequality) that produces deprivation, including its international dimension. They will understand the economic causes of civil wars, as well as the nature of the liberal peace that stresses that global peace rests upon capitalist economic inter-dependence and common democratic polities.


Please see the LUC website:

Mode of instruction

Lectures, seminars, and structured group discussion, amounting to four hours per week.

Assessment method

  1. To elicit and gauge ability to articulate issues in development, and enter into a debate on a particular subject.: assessed in Class participation (10% of final grade):Ongoing
  2. To test understanding of aspects of growth, poverty and inequality: assessed in Written test (one hour, in class, 20% of final grade) :Week 4
  3. To gauge in-depth analysis of a particular topic centred around some extra reading: assessed through Research essay (30% of final grade) : due 21st December 2011
  4. To test overall understanding of the course: assessed through Final written exam (essay questions:40% of final grade):Week 7


This course is supported by a BlackBoard site

Reading list

Handouts and power Point Presentations will be made available to students. The following two books are useful but expensive, so you are not required to purchase them.
Ray, Debraj (1998) Development Economics, Princeton: University Press. We will utilize chapters 1-7 of this book.
Murshed, Syed Mansoob (2010) Explaining Civil War: A Rational Choice Approach, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. We will use chapters 2-7 of this book.


This course is only open for LUC The Hague students.

Contact information –

Weekly Overview

WEEK 1 Introduction to Development Economics and an Historical Overview
WEEK 2: Theories of Economic Growth
WEEK 3: Poverty, Inequality and Global Inequality
Week 4: Test (1 hour) and Group Discussion (3 hours, International and Global inequality)
Week 5: The Long-run Determinants of Growth
Week 6: Conflict, Civil War and the Liberal Peace
Week 7: Basics of Development Economics (Revision) (2 hours) + Final exam (2 hours)