Not available in 2014/15
Economic Development Policy

This information is for the 2014/15 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Diana Weinhold and Prof Danny Quah


This course is available on the MPA in International Development, MSc in African Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development and MSc in Political Science and Political Economy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course focuses on analytically and empirically rigorous analyses of economic policies in developing countries. Please note, for the 2013/2014 academic year the emphasis will be on macroeconomic policies for development and global trends. We review current theoretical debates and consider how the use of empirical evidence can help to inform our analyses. In particular, increasing data availability has meant that the effectiveness of development policies, in terms of improving welfare, reducing poverty and promoting growth, can now be analysed using a variety of quantitative techniques. By looking at how these approaches can be applied to a range of development issues, the course will provide an overview of new thinking on the design of public policy in developing countries. While a strong mathematical or statistical background is not necessary to follow the course, students will be expected to actively learn and engage with regression analysis and other econometric techniques. These skills are developed through the year with mandatory weekly problem sets and occasional in-class quizzes supplementing the lectures and readings. The course consists of one lecture on the interpretation of empirical regression analysis and the role of quantitative methods in policy evaluation,and a further 19 lectures on theory and policy issues of relevance to developing countries. Topics themselves may vary from year to year but may include determinants of growth; human capital accumulation; globalisation and the political economy of trade policy; the global evolution of income distribution, the middle income trap, the rise of China in the world economy, structural adjustment; and financial crises; economic geography of development; aid; debt relief; corruption; and environment and growth. Microeconomic topics have included health and education intra-household resource allocation; credit markets; social networks; and behavioural economics applied to the design of development policies. Seminars consist of student-led participatory in-depth analyses of best-practice theory and quantitative empirical research papers which students assess and critique. Seminars will also include introductory sessions to reading and interpreting quantitative analysis.


20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 4 hours of lectures in the ST.

Indicative reading

The bulk of the course will be taught using journal articles. A reading list will be handed out by the lecturers at the beginning of their sessions. Useful reference texts include D Ray, Development Economics (1998) which will serve as the course text, W Easterly, The Quest for Growth;


Exam (70%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
In class assessment (30%) in the MT and LT.

Student performance results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 20.8
Merit 46.4
Pass 27.4
Fail 5.4

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2013/14: 82

Average class size 2013/14: 14

Controlled access 2013/14: No

Lecture capture used 2013/14: 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
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 92.4%



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)