Development Economics

  • Summer schools
  • Department of Economics
  • Application code SS-EC307
  • Starting 2022
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

In a world composed of similar people, why is it that we live in relative comfort while about 1.4 billion people live on less than $1 a day?  And, more importantly, what can be done about it?

This course will use all the skills you have developed as an economist to try and answer important economic questions. Providing an answer is hard because solving the problem of world poverty is not as simple as reallocating income. It would take $511 billion a year to increase the incomes of the poorest to just $2 a day, but calculated in 2003 the G7 countries aspire to give (but do not quite) just $142 billion a year in aid.

In short, solving world poverty requires finding places where an intervention can generate more in income than it costs. Fortunately the economic theory you already know tells us how to find such places. The economic model you have learned says that if some conditions (X) are met then nothing can be done about poverty without making other people worse off. But we can flip this conclusion on its head: if X is not true, then it is possible to make someone better off without making anyone worse off, and the theory tells us how – make the world more like X. Making progress on poverty means finding out where X does not hold – i.e. where do markets fail?

The course then is detective work. Theory tells us when markets will fail and we use econometrics analysis to find these places in the real world. Finally, we use rigorous impact evaluation to find out whether the intervention implied by theory works. We will teach you all the tools you need to apply this thinking, and we hope you will use it to make a difference in the developing world.

Session: Two
Dates: 11 July - 29 July 2022 
Lecturer: Dr Gharad Bryan 


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 300 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: Two written examinations

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


Intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics.

Programme structure

  • The Neo-classical Model and Convergence of Income
  • Coordination and Persistent Poverty
  • Credit, Inequality in the Divergence of Incomes
  • The Psychology of Poverty
  • Health and Nutrition
  • The Role of Institutions in Development
  • Political Economy and Corruption
  • Property Rights and Investment Incentives
  • International Aid and Economic Growth
  • Microfinance
  • Credit, Saving and Insurance
  • Land Redistribution
  • Role of Media and Policy in Development
  • Social Networks and Social Capital
  • Role Regulation in Development
  • Intrahousehold Allocations and Gender
  • Technology Adoption and Learning

Course outcomes

Each lecture will be structured to provide the necessary theory to understand the topic discussed, as well as an empirical assessment of its relevance. Each class focuses on a particular journal article and is designed to help you to explore the topic in greater detail.


The LSE Department of Economics is one of the biggest and best in the world, with expertise across the full spectrum of mainstream economics. A long-standing commitment to remaining at the cutting edge of developments in the field has ensured the lasting impact of its work on the discipline as a whole. Almost every major intellectual development within Economics over the past fifty years has had input from members of the department, which counts ten Nobel Prize winners among its current and former staff and students. Alumni are employed in a wide range of national and international organisations, in government, international institutions, business and finance.

The Department of Economics is a leading research department, consistently ranked in the top 20 economics departments worldwide. This is reflected in the 2014 Research Assessment Exercise which recognised the Department's outstanding contribution to the field. According to the REF 2014 results, 56 per cent of the Department’s research output was graded 4 star (the highest category), indicating that it is 'world-leading'. A further 33 per cent was designated 'internationally excellent' (3 star).

On this three week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s economics faculty.

Reading materials

The main reference text for the course:
D. Ray, Development Economics, Princeton University Press (1998).

A. Banerjee & E. Duflo, Poor Economics,Public Affairs (2012)

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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