Political Economy of Development

Course Description: 

This course is a graduate-level seminar that introduces students to contemporary research on the political economy of development. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach and examines readings from both economics and political science. The materials cover the following three components: i) the theoretical debates on the determinants and mechanisms of economic growth and development; ii) research designs and methods such as experiments and instrumental variable regressions used to empirically evaluate the effects of various factors on the development outcome, and iii) country cases that either support or challenge the existing development theories. At the end of the course, students will have a general understanding of the political and economic factors behind the uneven patterns of economic development cross countries and over time, as well as the methodological tools that are commonly used to assess the impacts of these factors. Although the main emphasis of the course is on economic development, political and social developments are also discussed under certain topics.

Learning Outcomes: 

The primary mode of instruction for this course is sectional teaching, which combines lectures with student presentations and discussions. The lectures equip students with basic theoretical knowledge and methodological tools to be able to read contemporary development literature. Student presentations delve deeper into the literature and country cases to identify possible directions in which the existing scholarship can be advanced. The aim of the course is to equip students with necessary knowledge and skills to conduct independent research and build on the current state of knowledge in the field and in doing so, promote research on development from a political economy perspective. 


Participation and presentation (25%)

Comment papers (30%)

In-class quizzes (20%)

Option A: Replication Study (25%)

Option B: Foresight and Scenario Planning (25%)

Penalty for late work:  1 percentage point of overall grade per calendar day


This course has no formal prerequisites, but will employ some of the tools introduced in Research Design and Methods in IR I & II. Some background in macroeconomics and/or international political economy is an advantage, but is not required or assumed in this course.

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