Development Economics

ECN423 Development Economics

Spring 2023

Autumn 2023
  • Topics

    The course covers the following topics:

    Macroeconomic models of economic growth and development.

    Microeconomic models of development such as;

    • Agricultural household production
    • The role of institutions.

    Experimental approaches and research on topics such as;

    • Microcredit and savings
    • Entrepreneurship and business training
    • Education
    • Foreign aid.

    Non-experimental approaches and research on topics such as;

    • History, culture and institutions as determinants of growth
    • Migration
    • Resource curse in developing countries.

  • Learning outcome

    This course examines the central issues in economic development, including access to finance and entrepreneurship, poverty traps, gender and development, foreign aid, institutions, and health.


    Upon completion of the course, students will be able to

    • understand the barriers to entrepreneurship in low and middle income countries.
    • master the macroeconomic and microeconomic theories of development, such as role of institutions in development.
    • recognise the various extensive and intensive margins that affects individual and household behavior, for example, in resource allocation, labor supply, and investment decisions.


    Upon completion of the course, students will be able to

    • learn about the empirical methods used in the literature to evaluate the effectiveness of development policies
    • analyze and interpret econometric models in identifying causal effects of policy interventions that are targeted at improving the livelihoods of the poor
    • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of existing research and measures of economic development, such as economic growth,poverty, and income inequality.

    General competencies

    Upon completion of the course, students will

    • have hands-on experience with designing a hypothetical randomized-control trial
    • develop communication and presentation skills through group work and presentations.

  • Teaching

    Plenary lectures: Vincent Somville and Justin Valasek will give most of the lectures, with guests intervening to cover their topics of expertise.

    The lectures will be interactive, with discussion between students. We will meet physically (and will only meet online if the situation changes and we are not allowed to meet physically).

  • Recommended prerequisites

    Students should have taken basic courses in econometrics, microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics.

  • Compulsory Activity

    Submission of a minimum of 90% of bi-weekly reading responses.

    Class presentation of the group project.

  • Assessment

    Individual assignment

    The students will have to read the book "Gambling on Development" by Stefan Dercon and submit an assignment where they answer questions we ask them about the book (30%).

    Group assignment

    The students will have to submit a written group assignment (70%). The assignment consists of the design of a randomized control trial aiming to advance our understanding of one of the questions covered in the course.

    The assignments will be released in August and due in November. The groups will consist of 2 or 3 people. The assignments must be written in English.

  • Grading Scale

    A - F on individual assignment

    A - F on group assignment

  • Literature

    Journal articles: selected papers from academic journals.

    Book: Gambling on Development Why Some Countries Win and Others Lose by Stefan Dercon.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered autumn 2022.

Course responsible

Associate Professor Vincent Somville, Department of Economics (main course responsible)

Associate Professor Justin Valasek, Department of Economics