The New School, 2015
This course is an introduction to Development Economics and is concerned with how economists have sought to explain how the process of economic growth occurs, and how – or whether – that delivers improved well-being of people. The course includes theories of growth and their critiques from feminist, capabilities and heterodox economic traditions. We explore the relationship between economic growth, poverty, inequality, sustainability and human development. Throughout the semester, we ask: Is equitable growth possible – where economic growth is robust and sustained, while expanding human choices and freedoms for all and not just a few, and where the most deprived are empowered? In seeking to answer this question, we examine the theoretical concepts, policy strategies, and empirical evidence from experience. The learning objectives of the course are for students to become familiar with the basic theories and concepts on economic growth and its consequences for distribution, poverty and human development.
This course is the required foundation course for the Development Concentration in GPIA. It is designed to complement Theories, Histories and Practices of Development (THPD). Both aim at understanding the contemporary challenges of growth, inequality and human development. But while THPD focuses on contemporary issues and country experiences, this course is about the economic theories that help explain them.
Class 1 – Overview of the course. Introductions; course objectives, themes, expectations, organization.
Short Lecture: history of mainstream and heterodox thinking about growth, poverty, inequality and human development
Class 2 – Economic Growth Models. Harrod-Domar and Solow models, long-term growth trends.
Class 3 - New Growth Theory. Human capital, technology, social reproduction, and institutions.
Class 4 – Human Development and Capabilities. Consequences of growth – ends and means of development, human development and capabilities approach.
Class 5 – Gender Inequality and Economics of Gender. Critique of mainstream economic models; care economy and unpaid work; macroeconomic policies and gender; gender empowerment leads to growth.
Class 6 – Structuralism, developmental growth models and strategies. Structuralism, Import Substitution Industrialization, Industrial Policy, New Structuralism
Class 7 - Inequality. Definition and measurement approaches; concept including intrinsic and instrumental concerns; instrumental role for economic growth; empirical trends since the 1970s.
Class 8 – Poverty. Conceptual approaches; definitions and measures; empirical trends.
Class 9 - Employment. Employment and poverty; Standard theory of labor market; Policy prescriptions – flexible labor market and alternative approaches; Informal sector work.
Class 10 – Rural and Urban linkages. Role of agriculture; structural shifts; migration.
Class 11- Micro economics of poverty - Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to assess ‘what works’ to reduce poverty
Macro vs. micro approaches, potential and limitations of RCTs, critique of RCTs.
Class 12 – International Trade
Class 13 - Sustainability – Political Economics of the Environment
Class 14 – Student panel discussion on growth, poverty, inequality, and human development
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