Not available in 2021/22
DV491      Half Unit
Economic Development Policy II: Microeconomic Analysis

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sandra Sequeira


This course is available on the 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 Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Economics and Climate Change) (LSE and Peking University), 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.

Students will be allocated places to courses with priority to ID and joint-degree students.  If there are more ID and joint-degree students than the course can accommodate, these spots will be allocated randomly.  

Non-ID/Joint Degree students will be allocated to spare places by random selection with the preference given first to those degrees where the regulations permit this option.


Economic Development Policy I: Applied Policy Analysis for Macroeconomic Development (DV490) or equivalent background in statistics and economics.

For students without strong skills in economics and statistics DV490 constitutes the foundational prerequisite for DV491 in the Lent term.  Students without a (very) strong background in economics and statistics are highly recommended to take both DV490 and DV491 and consider them together as a full 1 course. Our experience is that the majority of students benefit most from a minimum of a full academic year of repeated practice and exposure to the techniques covered to develop their intuition and ability, and students who take only the first half unit with thus be at a distinct disadvantage. In addition, while DV490 will build a foundational knowledge, DV491 will cover additional empirical approaches more commonly employed in micro-development economics, as well as providing an introduction to statistical programming in STATA, thus rounding out students’ exposure to empirical methods more fully.

Students who would like to take DV490 or DV491 in isolation are invited to take a “Parachuter’s Exam” at the beginning of MT to assess their quantitative skills. More information on the Parachuter’s Exam can be found on the DV490 and/or DV491 Moodle page or from the course instructors.

Course content

This course examines the microeconomic foundations of economic policy-making in developing countries. Classes will combine economic theory and rigorous empirical analysis to better understand the impact of economic development policy on development goals. We will focus 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.


The course is structured around three main themes:


(i) Human Development: health policy, education policy and intra-household dynamics

(ii) Institutions and Markets: labour markets, state capacity for public service delivery and private sector development

(iii) Behavioural Economics and Development Policy Design: the importance of psychology in explaining economic behaviour and how it can inform better development policy design


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars in the LT. Seminars will be at or upwards of 45 minutes duration and lectures will be at or above 60 minutes duration. There will also be a weekly Economietrics workshop in the LT.

Student on this course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Indicative reading

Cohen, J. and P. Dupas (2010) “Free Distribution or Cost-sharing? Evidence from a Randomized Malaria Prevention Program”,  Quarterly Journal of Economics

Das, Jishnu, Jeffrey Hammer and Kenneth Leonard (2008) “The Quality of Medical Advice in Low Income Countries”, Journal of Economic Perspectives

Dupas, Pascaline. (2011). “Do teenagers respond to HIV risk information: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya”, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics

Duflo, E.; R. Hanna, S. Ryan. (2012). “Monitoring Works: Getting Teachers to Come to School”, American Economic Review

Muralidharan, K and V. Sundararaman. (2011). “Teacher Performance Pay: Experimental Evidence from India”, Journal of Political Economy

Duflo, E., and C. Udry. (2004) “Intrahousehold Resource Allocation in Cote d'Ivoire: Social Norms, Separate Accounts and Consumption Choices”, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper

Qian, Nancy (2008) “Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance”. Quarterly Journal of Economics

Olken, Ben. (2007). “Monitoring Corruption: evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia”, Journal of Political Economy

Fisman, Ray (2001) “Estimating the Value of Political Connections”, American Economic Review

Dupas, Pascaline and Jonathan Robinson. (forthcoming) “Why don’t the poor save more? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments, American Economic Review

Morduch, Jonathan. "Microinsurance: The Next Revolution?" Chapter 22 in Understanding Poverty

Ardagna, S. and Annamaria Lusardi (2008) “Explaining International Differences in Entrepreneurship: The Role of Individual Characteristics and Regulatory Constraints”, NBER Working Paper No. 14012

Guiso, L., P. Sapienza and L. Zingales, (2004) “The Role of Social Capital in Financial Development” American Economic Review

Nunn, N. (2008) “The Long-Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades", Quarterly Journal of Economics

Chong, A., S. Duryea and E la Ferrara (2012), “Soap Operas and Fertility in Brazil”, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics

Bertrand, Marianne, and Sendhil Mullainathan (2004). "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.", American Economic Review

Duflo, Esther, and Petia Topalova. (2004) "Unappreciated Service: Performance, Perceptions, and Women Leaders in India."


Exam (70%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
In-class assessment (30%) in the LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17.4
Merit 57.7
Pass 23.5
Fail 1.3

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 67

Average class size 2020/21: 17

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

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