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

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Diana Weinhold


This course is available on the MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Management (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Economic Policy for International Development, 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 Health and International Development, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development and MSc in Political Science (Political Science and Political Economy). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


DV490 is designed to be taken in tandem with Foundations of Applied Econometrics for Economic Development Policy (DV494). The methodological complexity and sophistication of DV490 evolves through the term in synchrony with DV494.  In turn, the empirical material in DV490 is designed to enhance and reinforce methodological lessons from DV494.

The combination of DV490 and DV494 is designed to be accessible and challenging for students from a range of backgrounds, from those with no economics or statistics training to those with fairly strong backgrounds in both. We approach economic theory and quantitative causal inference from an applied perspective to enable students to understand and critically engage with the frontier of applied research in development economics. 

Students with strong but mostly theoretical training in econometrics can benefit from the applied, intuitive approach taken to methods in DV494.  Students with an exceptionally strong background in applied quantitative causal inference may elect to test out of DV494 by taking the Parachuters Exam (See any of the DV494, DV490, DV491 or DV492 Moodle pages for details on the time and place of the exam).

Course content

This course explores the theory and empirics of long-run economic growth in developing countries. Throughout the course, lectures provide analytical but non-technical overviews of broad themes in long-run growth and development policy, including growth theory, institutions and history, economic geography, trade and globalization, inequality, industrial policy, inflation and financial crises, debt, and international aid. There is a strong emphasis on how the body of knowledge has evolved over time via the synthesis of theoretical advances and rigorous empirical testing.

Seminars are primarily designed around critical engagement with applied research papers in macroeconomic development.  In tandem with methodological lessons taught in DV494, students in DV490 build analytical skills to read, interpret, and critique econometric approaches to causal identification commonly used in the academic development literature.

While some background in economics and/or statistics is helpful, when taken in tandem with DV494 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.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars in the AT.

Seminars will be at or upwards of 45 minutes duration and lectures will be at or above 60 minutes duration.

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

Formative coursework

Weekly online quizzes provide formative feedback on student progress. In addition students are expected to complete weekly unassessed problem sets and come prepared to discuss them in seminars.

Indicative reading

The bulk of the course will be taught using journal articles and a reading list will be handed out by the lecturers at the beginning of their sessions. We also refer to The Quest for Growth by W. Easterly, MIT Press (2001)


Online assessment (70%) in January.
In-class assessment (30%) in the AT.


On-line assessment 70% is a 24 hour online exam.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 27
Merit 61.2
Pass 9.5
Fail 2.3

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2022/23: 79

Average class size 2022/23: 16

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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