DV592      Half Unit
Economic Development Policy III: Government Policy Analysis

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joana Naritomi CON.6.12


This course is available 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.

Entry onto the course might be limited at the discretion of the instructor.


'DV490 Economic Development Policy I: Applied Policy Analysis for Macroeconomic Development' or equivalent.

Course content

This course explores key issues in government policies in developing countries. The course will draw on specific examples chosen from development cases worldwide to learn which policies have worked, which ones have not, and how a rigorous analysis of these experiences can inform the design of better economic development policies in the future. It begins introducing concepts from public economics to discuss the scope and impacts of government interventions. In particular, the course will cover issues related to market failures, redistribution, public goods and externalities. The course will also discuss theoretical and empirical work on the economic consequences of government interventions, with particular focus economic incidence, efficiency trade-offs and unintended consequences of policies. In the second part, it focuses on challenges in raising government revenue and delivering public service in the developing world context, where limited state and fiscal capacity impose important constraints in policymaking. Beyond these topics, the course will provide background on relevant analytical tools in quantitative research, and develop skills to interpret empirical evidence in development economics.

Coursework will include a combination of class discussions, problem sets, presentations and computer-lab based sessions for students to explore programming and statistical skills.

Students are strongly encouraged to take DV491/591, as a highly complementary course that will also apply the empirical methods taught in DV490/590 to topics in Human Development, Institutions and Markets, Social Networks, Economic History and Cultural Economics, and Behavioural Economics and Development Policy Design.


20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

There will be a two hour revision session in late LT or early ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT.

Students will be expected to produce 1 referee report.

Indicative reading

  1. Bandiera, O. , Prat, A. and Valletti, T. 2009. "Active and Passive Waste in Government Spending: Evidence from a Policy Experiment." American Economic Review, 99(4): 1278-1308.
  2. Besley, T. and Ghatak. 2004. “Public Goods and Economic Development”. in Policies for Poverty Alleviation (ed.) Abhijit Banerjee, Roland Benabou, and Dilip Mookherjee.
  3. Cohen, J, Dupas, P and Schaner, S. 2015. “Price Subsidies, Diagnostic Tests, and Targeting of Malaria Treatment: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial” American Economic Review, 105(2): 609–645.
  4. Duflo, E, Hanna, R and Ryan, S. 2012. "Incentives Work: Getting Teachers to Come to School." American Economic Review, vol. 102(4), pp. 1241 –78.
  5. Chetty, R and Looney, A (2005) "Income Risk and the Benefits of Social Insurance: Evidence from Indonesia and the United States" in Ito, T and Rose, A K, Fiscal Policy and Management in East Asia, NBER-EASE, Volume 16, University of Chicago Pres.
  6. Gordon, R. and Li, W. 2009. "Tax structures in developing countries: Many puzzles and a possible explanation," Journal of Public Economics, 93(7), pp.855-866.
  7. Gruber. J. 1994. “The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits,” American Economic Review, 84(3), 622-641.
  8. Miguel, Edward, and Michael Kremer. 2004. "Worms: identifying impacts on education and health in the presence of treatment externalities." Econometrica 72.1: 159-217.
  9. Pomeranz, Dina. 2015. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax." American Economic Review, 105(8): 2539-69.
  10. Singhal, M and Luttmer, Erzo F.P. 2011. “Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution“ American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3(1):157-79.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

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