Not available in 2021/22
Dissertation in Economic Development Policy

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joana Naritomi, Dr Sandra Sequeira and Dr Diana Weinhold


Core course for MSc Economic Development Policy


Students must have completed Foundations of Applied Econometrics for Economic Development Policy (DV494).

Course content

DV495 will build on DV494 to teach students how to develop a quantitative research project in development economics. It will cover micro-econometrics, causal analysis, data visualization and research design. The course will include workshops to teach programming languages commonly used in econometrics. The objective is to enable students (a) to critically assess the quality and validity of development economics research; including analyses they will read in their courses and for their dissertation; and (b) to independently design their own research proposal.  Students will learn about the challenges of research design, including how to generate a research question and how to select a research method, the relative strengths and weaknesses of alternative research methods, and some of the practical and ethical dos and don’ts of doing fieldwork.  Students will then apply these skills to prepare for and write an original dissertation.


15 hours of lectures, 6 hours of seminars and 4 hours of computer workshops in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT and 1 essay in the ST.

The course will have the following formative assessments:

- Research proposal in-class presentation: each student will perform one in-class presentation during seminar meetings in order to get peer feedback and oral feedback from the course convenors. The presentations will take place towards the end of LT to allow time for students to develop their proposals.

- Problem sets with STATA: there will be bi-weekly problem sets with STATA

These two formative assessments will provide them with skills and feedback to write their research proposals and pursue their research paper projects. They will also be relevant data for course conveners to assess which areas may need strengthening.

Indicative reading

  • Angrist, Joshua D., and Jörn-Steffen Pischke. Mastering Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect. Princeton University Press, 2014.
  • Angrist, Joshua D., and Jörn-Steffen Pischke. Mostly harmless econometrics: An empiricist's companion. Princeton university press, 2008.
  • Asiedu, Edward, et al. A Call for Structured Ethics Appendices in Social Science Papers. No. w28393. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2021.
  • Cunningham, Scott. Causal inference: The mixtape. Yale University Press, 2021.
  • Duflo, Esther, Rachel Glennerster, and Michael Kremer. 2008. “Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit.” Vol. 4.
  • T. Schultz and John Strauss, eds., Handbook of Development Economics. Amsterdam and New York: North Holland, 4


Research paper (70%) in August.
Research proposal (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.

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: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills