Economic Growth and Development

SAM16 Economic Growth and Development

Autumn 2020

  • Topics

    We examine the strategies that different countries have used to maximize their advantages - and minimize their disadvantages - in order to generate economic growth and development. We use economic tools (theoretical and empirical) to structure our analysis. 

    Much of the first part of the course focuses on strategies to maximize the value of the national stock of human capital, taking the Philippines, Iceland and Singapore as case studies. 

    The second part of the course examines economic growth in China, India and Japan, particularly looking at the timing and nature of their economic acceleration and the challenges that they face in maintaining their high performance.

    The third part of the course focuses on institutions as both consequences of economic growth, and as a source of growth performance. It considers the role of inherited institutions - as in the cases of South Africa and Saudi Arabia - and the failure of formal institutions, in the form of corruption.

    The fourth part of the course considers how we can, and perhaps should, measure economic growth, taking into consideration the environment, health and well-being, as well as GDP.

  • Learning outcome


    Upon completion of the course, students will

    • have knowledge of different metrics of economic growth (such as GDP, TFP, green GDP, Human Development Index, "Happy Planet Index") and understand their pros and cons.
    • be able to discuss the different growth strategies pursued by various developing and developed countries.
    • be able to critically evaluate the central roles of human capital, natural resources, technology, capital and institutions in generating economic growth.


    Upon completion of the course, students will

    • be able to use the empirical and theoretical tool kit of economists to frame and analyze problems that we see in the world.
    • be able to critically analyze economic research papers on economic growth and development.

    General competence

    Upon completion of the course, students will

    • be able to participate in informed discussions of key challenges in securing economic growth, such as climate change, adapting to resource constraints, improving human capital and technology.

  • Teaching

    The format is a class discussion, in which all students are expected to fully participate every week. Students are encouraged to work in small groups to prepare for each class. Each week, every group member should read (at least) one of the items on the reading list and then discuss it with the rest of the group. In this way, all - or most - of the reading materials assigned each week will be covered by every group. The group can use this discussion to prepare their responses to the accompanying assignment questions, which we will discuss in class. Students who do not come to classes regularly cannot expect to pass the course.

  • Required prerequisites


  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    Overlap with VOA022

  • Requirements for course approval

    Students must participate (i.e. speak) regularly in class in order to be eligible to take the exam.

  • Assessment

    The students are graded based on a 3-hour written school exam. All answers must be written in English.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale A - F

  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    First, each week's class discussion will revolve around a Harvard Business School case; the case collection should therefore be purchased by the students, using the link to the course pack on the Harvard Business School Publishing website. Second, the cases will be supplemented each week by a selection of research papers that are downloadable from the web.

    Required readings:

    The collection of Harvard Business School cases; the associated research papers.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered Autumn 2020.

Written school exam is offered both semesters (according to Regulations for Full-time Study Programmes at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), section 3-1).

Please note: Due to the present corona situation, please expect parts of this course description to be changed before the autumn semester starts. Particularly, but not exclusively, this relates to teaching methods, mandatory requirements and assessment.

Course responsible

Professor Liam Brunt, Department of Economics.