Accueil > The political economy of international development


Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


Before class begins students should read the book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson (2012).

Course Description

The difference between average living standards in the “developed” and the “developing” countries grew five times over the last century, and is now extremely large. Hundreds of millions of people in the developing world are chronically undernourished, including a third of people living in Sub-Saharan Africa and an even larger absolute number in Asia. Infant mortality is twenty times higher in the developing countries. But there is also good news: average real per capita income has increased fivefold in the developing world since 1950, illiteracy has fallen from over 75% to about 12% among today's youth, and the proportion of undernourished people has dropped from more than 50% to about 16%. This course will examine the underlying causes and possible solutions, or approaches to solving, the enormous international gaps in living standards and levels of societal development. We will analyze the diversity of experiences among today's developing and “emerging” countries, and look also at important similarities and differences between these experiences and the historical experiences of today's developed countries. We will critically assess the evolution of thinking on the political economy of development, from the great classical political economists to important recent and emerging perspectives and debates. We will, above all, look at how these perspectives and debates are relevant for concrete action for policy makers at the community, national and international levels, for international development assistance, and for businesses and civil-society organizations in both developed and developing countries.


OMAN, Charles (Former Head of Strategy, OECD Development Center)

Pedagogical format

Lectures + class discussion + student presentations.

Course validation

Midterm and final exams (required) ; Term paper and presentation to class (optional) ; Participation in class discussions (optional).

Required reading

  • Students should read before the course begins (i.e., before Sept. 1) the book Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, 2012
  • Before each weekly session students must read selected chapters (as indicated in syllabus) in the book: Development Economics, Eleventh Edition, by Michael P. Todaro and Stephen C. Smith, 2011
  • Students should also read a few selected chapters before Sessions 4, 5 and 11 (as indicated in syllabus) in: Making Globalization Work by Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2006