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The Economics of Less Developed Countries

Module Code: EC3040

Module Title: Economics of Less Developed Countries

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas + Hilary Term
  • Contact Hours: 44 hours of lectures and 8 hours of tutorials
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Professor Tara Mitchell (MT) / Lecturer - Professor Michael King (HT)

Module Learning Aims

The problems facing the less developed countries of the Third World are among the greatest challenges facing the world today. This module will focus on the diverse structures and common characteristics of less developed countries and will offer an evaluation of policies being pursued.
The module begins by discussing the idea of economic development before moving onto sources of and barriers to development. It uses contemporary models of economic development to investigate why some countries are rich and others are poor. The inherent challenges of development policymaking will be considered, before the success and failure of trade, finance and aid policies in less developed countries is examined. The central role of macro and micro institutions in economic development is considered in detail.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain what is commonly meant by development and which countries fit into the less developed country category and why they do so.
  • Critically assess the evidence for a relationship between growth and poverty.
  • Explain and evaluate models of economic growth and how education and development may be related.
  • Apply economic theory to issues of population growth and urbanization and examine the evidence for these theories in developing countries.
  • Identify and account for the challenges of government planning in developing countries.
  • Appraise the contribution of trade, finance and aid policies to the advancement of developing countries. And formulate a balanced judgement on the opportunities and threats posed by these to developing countries.
  • Recognise the multiple functions of institutions and the role they play in economic development.
  • Outline the connections between economic development and the environment and articulate a balanced judgement on the potential policy responses.

Satisfactory completion of this module will contribute to the development of the following key skills:

  • The ability to apply economic theory to complex situations with imperfect markets.
  • The ability to use techniques learnt in earlier courses to a practical subject of interest to the students.

Module Content

Michaelmas Term:

  • What is 'development' and who are the 'developing countries'?
  • Theories of Growth and Development
  • Income Levels, Income Distribution and Development
  • Education and Health in Development
  • Financial Markets and Development
  • Rural Development: What is it and is it important?
  • Population Growth and Urbanisation: Problems and Policies

Hilary Term:

  • Contemporary Theories of Economic Development
  • Policymaking: What Role for the State in development?
  • Trade: Engine of growth or obstacle to development?
  • Domestic and International Finance: Opportunities and instability
  • Aid: Does it work?
  • The Role of Institutions in Development
  • Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability

Recommended Reading List

Michael Todaro and Stephen C. Smith, Economic Development, (11th edn.), Addison Wesley Longman, 2011.

Assessment Details

Michaelmas Term

An essay accounting for 15% of the overall grade will be due in MT.

Hilary Term

5% Academic Paper Review
5% Group Presentation
10% Essay Assignment
65% Annual Examination

Module Website

Michaelmas Term: Blackboard

Hilary Term: Blackboard