Introduction to Development Economics

The course aims to provide an outline of the main issues underpinning development economics today, by outlining simple theory and providing extensive applied evidence from developing countries.

5 ECTS Credits — Studies start 8 January 2018 — University of Helsinki

Image by: © 2003 Melissa May, Courtesy of Photoshare
Image by: © 2003 Melissa May, Courtesy of Photoshare

Course dates

8 January 2018 – 9 March 2018

Registration period

1 December 2017 – 29 December 2017

Coordinating university

University of Helsinki


David Lawson



Course level


Course Dates: 11.1.2018-9.3.2018
Registration Period: 1.12.2017-29.12.2017
Course Title: Introduction to Development Economics
Coordinating University: University of Helsinki
Coordinator: David Lawson ()
Credits: 5 ECTS
Course Level: General

Course Summary:

The course aims to provide an outline of the main issues underpinning development economics today, by outlining the main economics theories that underpin development issues in developing countries.

The lectures and supplementary reading will provide a theoretical understanding of the main development issues with a strong focus on current issues of development economics - focusing on economic growth - theory and practice - the role of the public sector, budgeting, trade and openness.

The course will provide applied developing country examples, and individually assessed work exercises, focused around the abovementioned topics. For example, students will critique economic growth and development and critically evaluate with reference to the academic literature.

No prior knowledge of development economics is assumed.


On completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand, critique and apply the main theories and principles of economic development, particularly in relation to economic growth..
  • Understand the linkage between growth theory and practice - particularly when looking at global empirical data
  • Develop analytical skills relevant to the assessment of different economic development principles.
  • Understand the knowledge and skills acquired to the study of the main forces sustaining and limiting economic development today, and the design of effective policy interventions.

Learning methods:

  • Reading,

  • Lectures (ppoint),

  • Pre-course questionnaire (sent on the start date of the course)

  • Focus work sheet exercises from which students will be required to submit answers/one page summaries of reviewed evidence and literature and case studies all based on online sourcing;

  • Individual short work assignments based on the lectures/development economics literature readings.

  • Final assessment essay

All materials will be in English

Study materials:

Texts, www-materials, access to internet essential


Grade 0-5.

The final mark will consist of:

1) One short essay (1000 words) - 25%

2) One final essay (3000 words) - 75%

Additional information:

Targeted level of students is at the BA level 2nd or 3rd year students or MA level students. The maximum number of students is 40.

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