Economic Development Studies

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ECON 204 / ENVI 234Economics of Developing Countries

Not offered this year

The leaders of poor countries almost universally proclaim "economic development" to be their eventual destination, but it is not easy to visualize the journey. Is rapid economic growth sufficient to generate development, or do governments need to pro-actively invest in health and education? When does globalization facilitate development? Is it true that corruption is major obstacle? Has the climate crisis upended our traditional models to the point where we need to rethink the notion of development? The class will introduce this set of issues, as analyzed by economists. [ more ]

WGSS 211 / ECON 211Gender in the Global Economy

Not offered this year

This course will present a feminist economic analysis of the global economy, and some of the urgent issues facing women in poor countries. The course will start by developing theoretical resources: these will include feminist critiques of economics theory, work on care labor and the shifting boundaries between markets, governments and households, theories of household bargaining, and discussions of intersectionality and difference. Then we will discuss a series of interlinked issues which may include the contradictory effects of structural adjustment and its successors; the informal sector and the 'invisible assembly line'; the economics of sex work and global sex trafficking; microcredit; the economics of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We will finish by looking at community-based activism, non-governmental organizations, and the possibilities for first-world/third-world alliances. [ more ]

ECON 215 / GBST 315Globalization

Not offered this year

This course will examine the causes and consequences of globalization. This includes studying topics such as trade, immigration, foreign direct investment, and offshoring. The impact of these forms of globalization on welfare, wages, employment, and inequality will be a focal point. Throughout we will rely on economic principles, models, and empirical tools to explain and examine these contentious issues. [ more ]

ECON 219 TGlobal Economic History

Not offered this year

Why did Western Europe--and not China, India, or the Middle East--first experience the Industrial Revolution? Why did Latin America fall behind in the 20th century, while Japan and eventually China boomed? What explains the historical success of the US economy? And why has African economic growth been relatively slow for so long? These and other questions will guide our exploration of global economic development over the past several millennia. We will draw on micro and macroeconomic theory to help explain and interpret the historical roots of the modern global economy. Our focus will be broadly comparative across space and time, with an emphasis on how institutions, resource endowments, culture, technology, and market developments help explain economic differences and change around the world. Throughout the course, we will draw on micro and macroeconomic theories and concepts to help explain and interpret the historical roots of modern global economy. [ more ]

ECON 225 TGlobal Financial Crisis and African Economic Development

Not offered this year

Will the global financial crunch create a development crisis for Africa? Just two years ago the International Monetary Fund published the most optimistic growth projections for Africa in decades, predicting rapid growth driven by higher commodity prices, stronger agricultural output and the dividends of years of difficult economic reforms. Today, economic analysts are downgrading African growth forecasts in the face of growing poverty and macroeconomic challenges. Food prices have more than doubled in some countries--increasing hunger for the most vulnerable groups. Fuel costs--and subsidy policies in some countries--are creating macroeconomic imbalances, and the global financial crisis is depressing demand for Africa's exports. Private capital flows, which reached record levels until 2007, are expected to decline by $300-400 billion over the next two years, with bank lending falling, portfolio investment declining, and foreign direct investment decreasing. This triple-F crisis--food, fuel and financial--is posing renewed challenges to African leaders trying to tackle the imperatives of economic development and pro-poor and inclusive economic growth. This crisis is raising the costs of reforms in countries reliant on exports and international capital for growth. Successful strategies must combine policies more efficiently than ever--to balance the necessary reforms with initiatives that offset the costs for the most vulnerable. This tutorial will analyze critical questions posed by the emerging crisis: Which countries will be hit the hardest, and how deeply and for how long? Through which channels does the contagion afflict national economies? And perhaps most importantly, what coordinated strategies can African nations develop in order to foster effective responses? This tutorial will explore how policy-makers in Africa are working to build successful inclusive growth strategies, with fiscal, monetary, industrial, trade and labor market policies reinforcing each other rather than working at cross purposes. [ more ]

PSCI 229(F)Global Political Economy

Thirty years ago the production, distribution, consumption and accumulation of goods, services and capital were predominantly national, organized by nation-states and within national territories. Today they all are increasingly global in scope, and nation-states find themselves more and more the subjects than the masters of mobile transnational corporations, international trade tribunals, global currency markets and natural resources cartels. All of these developments have direct and far-reaching effects on the power of states, the wealth of societies, and the life chances of billions of people around the world. This course offers a broad introduction to contemporary global capitalism, emphasizing the inherent and inseparable intertwining of politics and economics, power and wealth, the state and the market. It begins with an overview of the recent history of globalization. The core of the course is made up of a broad analysis of global trade, global finance, and development, with special attention to subjects such as free trade, foreign aid, industrial policy, currency wars, and financial crisis. We conclude the course with a close look at current global financial instabilities and the implications for the future of global capitalism. [ more ]

ECON 235Urban Centers and Urban Systems

Not offered this year

Cities, systems of cities, and the interactions between cities are the outcome of human decisions and reflect their social structure and desire for interaction. The form of these urban areas is determined by the choices made by the people who reside in, work in, and travel between cities. Economic forces influence and constrain these choices, and economic models of decision-making can help us to explain and predict the patterns that result. These models help us to comprehend the structure of urban areas. This course will introduce the ideas and some of the analytic tools that assist in understanding the economic foundations of urban centers and urban systems. Topics addressed in the course will include the determinants of land use, location of firms, choice of transportation mode, flows of capital investment into real estate, housing prices and housing availability and regulation of housing markets, movement of population from one city to another, and public policies designed to deal with urban problems. [ more ]

REL 287 / ENVI 287The Dynamics of Globalization: Society, Religion and the Environment

Not offered this year

This course offers a theoretical reflection on the social, cultural and environmental dynamics of globalization and their consequences for the nature and place of religion. Rather than argue for or against globalization, we first examine the nature of this new configuration and its relation to (post)modernity, asking questions such as: What are the cultural and social dynamics of globalization? What are the effects on the nature of the state and the political practices that take place in the global world? What are its environmental consequences? We then shift to examining the role of religion, arguing that its renewed relevance is a function of the socio-cultural transformations that globalization brings about, particularly the loss of community and the increasing atomization of individuals. We conclude by examining some of the perspectives created by the new religious expressions that attempt to respond to this situation, from personal spiritual quests as manifested in interest in Buddhism, ecology or mountain climbing, to various forms of fundamentalism, such as Evangelicalism, the fastest growing religious movement in the Americas, and the most radical forms of Islamicism. Reading list: Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity; Castells, The Rise of the Network Society; Bauman, Globalization; Kivisto, Multiculturalism in a Global Society; Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World; Ortner, Life and Death on Mt. Everest; Matthews, Global Cultura/ Individual Identity; Shuck, Mark of the Beast; Roy, Globalized Islam. [ more ]

PSCI 341Modern Midas? Resource Abundance and Development

Not offered this year

Many academics, international nongovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, and the media assert that natural resource endowments--oil, gas, and diamonds--are like the touch of Midas. Yet consider that while mineral abundance promises to give countries a platform for prosperity, equity, and political stability, it often produces poor economic performance, poor populations, weak authoritarian states, and widespread conflict. Is there a resource curse, or is it possible for mineral rich countries to escape the modern counterparts of Midas? In this research seminar we revisit the debate on the relationship between mineral wealth and development, focusing on the factors and conditions that lead some resource rich countries to fail and others to succeed. [ more ]

ECON 352(S)Financial Development and Regulation

This course focuses on the financial system and its role in economic development. The first part explores the functions of finance, how it contributes to growth and income inequality, examining what can be done to increase financial inclusion. It will examine experiences with financial sector repression and subsequent liberalization, and investigate the causes and impact of financial crises. Then it will study how to make finance effective and how to prevent or minimize crises, analyzing government's role as regulator, supervisor, standard setter, contract enforcer, and owner. In this final part, attention will be devoted to the role of institutions (laws, norms, culture) and incentives in financial sector development. [ more ]

ECON 359(S)Developing Country Macroeconomics II: Institutions and Policy Regimes

Developing countries do not find it difficult to initiate rapid growth, but do find it difficult to sustain it. Growth spurts are often derailed by macroeconomic shocks. As developing countries become increasingly open to trade and financial interactions with the rest of the world, such shocks may become more frequent, and potentially more severe. This course examines the types of macroeconomic institutions and policy regimes that can help developing countries withstand such shocks and sustain economic growth. We will examine fiscal rules, policies toward the domestic financial sector, central bank independence, the design of monetary and exchange rate regimes, and capital account regimes. We will also consider how shortcomings in institutions and policy regimes have contributed to macroeconomic crises in developing countries . [ more ]

ECON 360International Monetary Economics

Not offered this year

This course studies the macroeconomic behavior of economies that trade both goods and assets with other economies: international financial transactions, especially the buying and selling of foreign money, the role of central banks and private speculators in determining exchange rates and interest rates, and the effects of international transactions on the overall performance of an open economy. Additional topics may include the "asset market approach" to exchange rate determination, the nature and purpose of certain international institutions, and important current events. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

ECON 362(F)Global Competitive Strategies

This course maintains an IO perspective, acknowledging the centrality of large, multinational firms in determining the pattern and success of a nation's international economic activities (which include, but are not limited to, a wide range of licensing, trade, and diverse configurations of foreign direct investment activities, and their implications for employment, profitability, and social welfare at home and abroad.) In this sense, we depart from international economic approaches that focus foremost on the ways in which a country's factor endowments, domestic market characteristics, and government policies promote or impede such activities, although in our treatment we do not neglect these factors, but treat them as constraints upon, or resources supporting, the optimizing behaviors of large firms. During and following a case-based module in which we learn and simulate the strategic decision processes used by executives of multinationals, we examine the actual trade and investment decisions of those firms, compare them to the predictions of international trade and multinational IO theories, and seek to explain divergences where they are identified. Throughout, competitive strategies of domestic and foreign rivals in markets around the world are explored. As well, the types and efficacy of various government policies in promoting the competitiveness of industries in regional and global markets -- and how they are linked to recent work in growth theory -- are examined. Further, substantial recent shifts in the nature of globalized economic activity, including the changing relative mobility and power of capital and labor, are examined. Finally, welfare propositions and policy ideas for addressing welfare impacts are advanced and discussed. Written cases, class participation, a mid-term exam, and a final paper or exam are expected. [ more ]

ECON 366International Trade and Development

Not offered this year

This course will examine the causes and consequences of globalization and its implications for less-developed countries. We will study the classic models of international trade and discuss the empirical relevance of these theories. In addition, we will focus on other dimensions of globalization that are of particular importance to developing countries such as trade and education, emigration, brain drain, remittances, foreign direct investment, trade policies, infant industry protection, trade and growth, the resource course, and trade agreements. [ more ]

POEC 401(F)Contemporary Problems in Political Economy

This course examines contemporary problems in political economy in the United States and across the developed world. Using both Economics and Political Science methods of analysis, students study the exercise of power and the accumulation of wealth in the world today as well as central public policy debates around those processes. We begin with a discussion of the philosophical foundations of economic policy-making. We then discuss welfare states in comparative perspective with special attention to the development of the American welfare regime. The remainder of the course is dedicated to particular issue areas of contemporary concern: pensions, health insurance, education, family policy, and immigration. The goal of this course is to build upon theoretical debates encountered in POEC 250 as well as to prepare students for the public policy projects they will do in POEC 402. [ more ]

ECON 467 TDevelopment Successes

Not offered this year

Although living standards in most of the worlds poor countries have increasingly fallen behind those of the rich industrial countries, a relatively small number of countries that were quite poor in the middle of the last century have achieved dramatic improvements in their incomes since then. These development successes include countries such as Japan, the four dragons (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan), the MIT economies (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand), the Asian giants of China and India, as well as non-Asian economies as diverse as Botswana, Chile, and Turkey. This tutorial will explore why these countries have apparently succeeded where many other poor countries have failed. A particular focus of the course will be on extracting insights from the experiences of these success cases about the broad development strategies that have been advocated over the past 50 years by scholars as well as by the international financial institutions. [ more ]

ECON 501(F)Economic Growth and Development

This course introduces some of the major theories and ideas about economic growth and development. Motivated by a number of stylized facts from cross-country data, we will begin by posing a series of questions: Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why have some countries grown at high rates over extended periods of time, while others have experienced little or no growth? Do all economies face comparable challenges to achieving sustained economic growth? Will poor countries catch up to rich countries or are they doomed to stagnate in a poverty trap? To answer these "big" questions, we will explore the underlying mechanisms of economic growth. What role is played by savings and investment (i.e., the accumulation of physical capital)? What is the influence of population growth? How important are investments in human capital (i.e., education and population health)? How important are technological differences across countries? How much significance should we ascribe to differences across countries in geographical characteristics? How much should we ascribe to differences in the quality of institutions? For each question, we will explore different theoretical and empirical strategies developed by economists to answer the question, ranging from formal models to historical and anecdotal evidence to cross-country growth and development regressions. We will evaluate the usefulness of the different approaches to each question for informing development-promoting and poverty-alleviation policies, and we will also discuss the reasons why so many important questions about economic growth continue to remain difficult to answer. [ more ]

ECON 502Institutions and Governance

Not offered this year

Over the last two decades economists have become increasingly aware of the importance of the "social infrastructure" at various levels of economic activity: capable and honest government officials must be available to formulate and implement policies, markets must be supported by suitable institutional frameworks, property rights must be secure, and contracts reliably enforced. Even the structure of the household, the smallest institution analyzed by economists, has been shown to have an important influence on economic development. This course will survey the growing literature on institutions and governance. [ more ]

ECON 504(F)Public Economics in Developing Countries

This class is about microeconomic and empirical analysis of government expenditure programs in developing and transitional countries. It provides tools for understanding the effects of government policies, as well as a useful conceptual framework for analyzing normative questions such as "what role should government play in the economy" and "what is a good policy?" The course begins by considering the efficiency of market economies, and rationales for government intervention in the market, such as public goods, externalities, information-based market failures, imperfect competition, and equity. We also consider ways that human behavior might deviate from perfect rationality, and what that might imply for policy. Along the way, we apply these concepts to various examples of policy issues, including, among other things, the environment, education, health, infrastructure, security, social insurance, and aid to the poor. We then turn to the general question of how to make the government work better, addressing questions such as the following. When is it better to have the government own and produce things, and when is it better to privatize? What are the incentives of politicians and government employees, and how does the design of political and budgetary institutions affect the degree to which they serve the public interest? How should responsibilities be divided up between the central government and local governments, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of "decentralization?" What can be done to improve the delivery of basic services? For example, how might one address problems of corruption and absenteeism? Throughout the course, we consider examples of empirical research, and to facilitate this, we will occasionally introduce econometric tools that are particularly useful for microeconomic policy evaluation. [ more ]

ECON 505(F)Developing Country Macroeconomics I: Theory

The macroeconomic structures of developing countries tend to be very different from those in high-income countries, and their macroeconomic policy environments also differ in important ways from those in rich countries. This course is intended to introduce students to a set of models that is particularly suitable for analyzing macroeconomic performance in developing countries, as well as to some analytical tools that help us understand why such countries have often experienced a variety of macroeconomic crises, including sovereign debt, currency, and banking crises. [ more ]

ECON 535 T(S)International Financial Institutions

This tutorial will explore the role of official international financial institutions in the global economic and financial system, their relations with members, proposals for how they might be reformed, and issues that they face. The focus will be principally on the International Monetary Fund, and to a lesser extent the World Bank, the Bank for International Settlements and Financial Stability Board. Topics and readings will focus on such issues as: the roles and governance reform of the IMF and World Bank; lessons from their performance in international crises; initiatives of the Fund and Bank; the global adjustment process; financial system stability; governance reform; lending programs; the management of international reserves; and provision of advice to members. Participants will meet in pairs with the faculty member. Each week, one student will prepare a policy paper and submit the paper to the professor and to the other student in advance of the meeting. During the meeting, the student who has written the paper will present an argument, evidence, and conclusions. The other student will provide a critique of the paper based on concepts and evidence from the readings and his own research and experience. The professor will participate in the discussion after each participant has presented and ask questions that highlight or illustrate critical points. [ more ]