Development Economics

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Robin Burgess 32L.3.03 and Dr Gharad Bryan 32L.3.10


This course is available on the Double Master of Public Administration (LSE-University of Toronto), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Students may not take both this course and EC428 Development and Growth.   


The expectation is that students will have previously taken PP440 and PP455 or other equivalent courses.  Students who have not taken PP440 and PP455 will require permission from the course lecturer to attend the course.

Course content

In this course, students will apply their understanding of economics and econometrics to the task of policy making in developing countries.  The focus is on acquiring the necessary theoretical and empirical skills to engage in the rigorous analysis of public policies in developing countries. Topics at the forefront of development economics will be covered. These include political economy, trade liberalization, growth, access to finance, technology adoption, education, health, infrastructure, property rights, land reform, gender, environment, mass media and political accountability. The emphasis will be on combining theory and data to evaluate the effectiveness of policies in these different areas.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and classes totalling 40 hours of lectures and 20 hours of classes in the Michaelmas Term, Lent Term and week 1 of Summer Term. This year teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures with classes taking place in person where possible and where conditions allow.

Formative coursework

Students to complete weekly exercises based on course readings with one of these exercises being marked in a given term.

Indicative reading

A reading list will be distributed at the start of the course.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

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: School of Public Policy

Total students 2020/21: 30

Average class size 2020/21: 10

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information