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Economics of Development



ID, Ec

Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 100-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.

Principles of Economics is recommended, or Economics at IB or “A” level.


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.

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; poverty; human development in the context of health and education; urbanization and rural development. They will understand the economic causes of civil wars.

Mode of Instruction

Structured lectures accompanied by handouts (session 1 of Week1) or power-point presentations (for all other taught sessions).


Assessment: Participation in group discussion
Percentage: 10%

Assessment: Short (75 minutes) class test
Percentage: 20%

Assessment: Take-home term paper of 2500-3000 words on one of the topics listed below
Percentage: 30%

Assessment: Final examination (1 and half hours) consisting of essay questions
Percentage: 40%

Essay Topic 1:
Inequality nowadays depends more on where you work than the social class you belong to. Critically analyze recent trends in global and international inequality in this light.

Essay topic 2:
A common polity is more important than economic interdependence in explaining peace. Critically analyze using liberal peace theory.

Essay topic 3:
Distinguish carefully between private and social benefits and costs of education. What economic factors give rise to the wide divergence between private and social benefit-to-cost valuations in most developing countries? Why might the problem be aggravated in rural areas? Should governments attempt through their educational and economic policies to narrow the gap between private and social valuations? Suggest an intervention. Also comment on potential limitations.


Ray, Debraj (1998) Development Economics, Princeton: University Press.

Todaro, Michael P. and Smith, Stephen C. (2012): Economic Development —11th Edition, Pearson.

Murshed, Syed Mansoob (2010) Explaining Civil War: A Rational Choice Approach, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

These books do not need to be purchased but required readings of chapters are generated from these.

Recommended Readings:
Easterly, William (2001) The Elusive Quest for Growth, MIT Press

Easterly, William (2006) The White Man’s Burden Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, London: Penguin.

Contact Information

Course Convenor: Professor dr. S Mansoob Murshed, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of the Erasmus University, Rotterdam and Coventry University, UK

Instructor/Seminar Leaders: Dr Natascha Wagner and Mr M Badiuzzaman

Contact Information: Murshed@iss.nl; mansoobmurshed@yahoo.com

Weekly Overview


Preparation for first session