Development Management

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Jean-Paul Faguet CON.8.06, Dr Mayling Birney CON.8.14 and Prof Edwin Brett CON.8.12


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Anthropology and Development Management and MSc in Development Management. This course is available on the MSc in African Development and MSc in Political Science and Political Economy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why are some governed well and others badly? This course employs a political economy approach to examine the causes of development, identify the underlying obstacles to development, and evaluate potential solutions. It focuses on the principles governing the institutions, politics, and organisations through which policies, programmes and projects are produced and implemented.  Attention is given to the different kinds of authority, incentives and accountability mechanisms that govern the relationships between leaders, managers and recipients. It reviews ongoing debates about the best ways of designing state agencies, private firms and NGOs, by showing how centralised bureaucracies, markets, participatory and solidaristic agencies operate to provide services in practice. It explores the dynamics of different forms of democratic and authoritarian states, the determinants of good and poor governance, and how social, political and economic forces interact to drive change and stability. In order to enable students to make practical judgments about institutional reform programmes in various contexts, competing approaches to development are critically and constructively analyzed in light of case studies. The course is divided into four parts: (1) Analytical Assumptions, (2) Government and Governance, (3) Private Sector, and (4) Civil Society. On completing the course students should be able to: (i) use theory to identify the causes of actual development challenges, (ii) identify and assess relevant case study material to inform development practice; and (iii) employ the insights developed throughout the course to formulate policy recommendations and plans of action for improving development.


20 hours of lectures, 15 hours of seminars and 4 hours of workshops in the MT. 16 hours of lectures, 12 hours of seminars and 3 hours of workshops in the LT. 3 hours and 30 minutes of lectures in the ST.

There will be an introductory 4 hour workshop on Wednesday afternoon of week 1, 18 two-hour lectures and 18 one-and-a-half hour seminars over the Michaelmas & Lent Terms. There are also special evening sessions specifically on practical and professional aspects of the consultancy projects, and a development policy debate. Students are expected to attend all these sessions. Lectures will focus on the theoretical debates driving current policy practice in the development community, while seminars will relate these to practical problems of implementation, drawing on case studies, class exercises, and the personal experience of participants. Seminars will discuss topics covered in the lecture, and will be conducted on the basis either of a student presentation or a class exercise. Students will also take part in and be assessed on the Development Management Project, a live consultancy exercise for real development agencies in consultation with International Development staff. Workshops will be organised to assist student groups to formulate their proposals and negotiate their projects with their commissioning agencies.

There will be a three and a half hour revision session in late LT or early ST.

Formative coursework

In the Michaelmas Term students are expected to produce one short essay on a topic agreed with an individual tutor.

Indicative reading

A detailed weekly reading list is provided at the first course meeting. Background readings include: Brett, E.A. (2009) Reconstructing Development Theory; Faguet, JP. 2012. Decentralization and Popular Democracy: Governance from Below in Bolivia. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; Chang, H. 2003, Rethinking development economics, Anthem Press; London, Intermediate Technology; Kohli, A. 2004 State-directed development: political power and industrialization in the global periphery, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press; Linz, J. & A. Stepan, Problems of democratic transition and consolidation, Johns Hopkins; Olson, M. 1982 The rise and decline of nations, Yale University Press; North, D. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge University Press. Putnam, R. D. 1993. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press; Rodrik, D. (Ed.). 2003. In Search of Prosperity: Analytical Narratives on Economic Growth: Princeton University Press; Sen. A., 1999 Development as Freedom. Oxford University Press; Stiglitz, J. 2002 Globalization and its discontents, Allen Lane, 2002; World Bank, World Development Report, 2004, Making services work for poor people, Washington, World Bank.


Exam (60%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Project (40%) in the ST.

Students are required to pass the final exam in the main exam period in order to pass the course. A fail in the exam can not be condoned by a pass in other elements of assessment.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 20.5
Merit 69.3
Pass 9.9
Fail 0.3

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2015/16: 101

Average class size 2015/16: 13

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 86%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)