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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 less developed countries 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

Upon successful completion, students 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:

Topics discussed during Michaelmas Term include:

  • 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
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • 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

The main textbook for the course is: Michael Todaro and Stephen C. Smith, Economic Development, (11th edn.), Addison Wesley Longman, 2011.

A supplementary reading list will also be available on Blackboard.

Assessment Details

Michaelmas Term

  • An essay accounting for 10% of the overall grade and a Group Presentation and Peer Review accounting for 10% of the overall grade.

Hilary Term

  • Group Assignment worth 10%
  • Essay Assignment worth 10%
  • The Annual Examination is worth 60% of the overall grade.

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