DV490      Half Unit
Economic Development Policy I: Applied Policy Analysis for Macroeconomic Development

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Diana Weinhold


This course is available on the MPA in European Policy-Making, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, 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.

Enrolment will be controlled through the use of a pre-quiz.

Course content

This course explores the foundations of applied macroeconomic policy analysis by combining a rigorous introduction to advanced quantitative methods with applications to the theory and empirics of long-run growth in developing countries.  Throughout the course, lectures provide analytical but non-technical overviews of broad themes in long-run growth and development policy, with a strong emphasis on how the body of knowledge has evolved over time via the synthesis of theoretical advances and rigorous empirical testing. Topics including growth theory, institutions and history, economic geography, globalization, balance of payments and financial crises, environmental policy and international finance. Classes in the first half of term will focus on building analytical skills to read, interpret, and critique econometric approaches to causal identification commonly used in the academic development literature. The emphasis will be on developing rigorous intuition rather than technical details; we focus on teaching students from a broad range of backgrounds to understand and critically consume high-level applied research in a sophisticated manner.  The seminars in the second half of term give students an opportunity to repeatedly practice and improve their skills by working through problem sets based on top academic journal articles addressing issues from the lectures on macroeconomic development.  While some background in economics and statistics is helpful, the course is designed to be engaging and challenging for students from a broad variety of backgrounds, from those with no economics and statistics to those with more advanced skills in either one or both areas.  Strong analytical skills (whether quantitative or not) and a sturdy work ethic are the best predictors of success.


IMPORTANT:  For students without strong skills in economics and statistics DV490 constitutes the foundational prerequisite for DV492 in the Lent term.  Thus students wishing to most fully develop their skills in analytical policy analysis should plan to take this course in conjunction with DV492.  Our experience is that the majority of students benefit most from a full academic year of repeated practice and exposure to the techniques covered to develop their intuition and ability.  Furthermore, DV492 will cover additional empirical approaches more commonly employed in micro- and public economics, as well as providing an introduction to statistical programming in STATA (coordinated so that students taking both need not face repetition).


20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

There will be two 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: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
In class assessment (30%) in the MT.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2016/17: 62

Average class size 2016/17: 15

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (MT)

Value: Half 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

(2015/16 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 77%



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