DV501      Half Unit
Development History, Theory and Policy for Research Students

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof James Putzel


This course is compulsory on the MRes/PhD in International Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course integrates the concepts and perspectives of a range of disciplines to consider: major trends of development and change in modern history and interpretations of them in the social sciences and contemporary economic and social theory and their bearing on the policy and practice of development.  During Michaelmas Term the course critically discusses concepts of 'development' and the historical evolution of paradigms of development thinking and policy. Through an examination of comparative historical experience, we explore the role of states and markets in development and/underdevelopment, colonial legacies and path dependencies and the political economy of growth, poverty and freedom. We examine how differential experiences of financial crisis, state fragility, democratic and populist politics affect development thinking and possibilities. During Lent Term the course draws on recent research and policy documents to discuss current cutting edge policy issues and challenges in the developing world including: demographic change and its implications, poverty and inequality ; industrialisation, international trade and industrial policy; agriculture, new technologies and agrarian reform policies; gendered development and responses; the impact of violent conflict; environmental threats and sustainability; and the evolution of development practice and aid.


20 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the MT.

Students will attend the Michaelmas Term lectures for DV400 and an associated weekly seminar for research students only.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 presentations in the MT.

Indicative reading

The following are recommended basic readings for the course:

A. Kohli, State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery (Cambridge, 2004)

A Sen, Development as Freedom (Anchor, 1999)

HJ Chang, Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective (Anthem, 2002)

HJ Chang, Economics: The User's Guide (Penguin, 2014)

D Rodrik, One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth (Princeton University Press, 2008)

J.Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine: 'Development', Depoliticisation and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho (Cambridge, 1990)

M. Jerven, Poor Numbers: How we are misled about African development statistics and what to do about it (Cornell, 2013)

United Nations, “Transforming Our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (SDGs)  A/RES/70/1   (25 September 2015).

World Bank, World Development Report 2017: Law and Governance (World Bank, 2017)


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in January.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2016/17: 4

Average class size 2016/17: 4

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication