MSc Development Finance

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Political Economics for Development

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI60611
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Environment, Education and Development
Available as a free choice unit? No


The main aim of this module is to provide (i) a critical appreciation of recent developments in the intersection of development economics and quantitative political science, and (ii) an introduction to the implications of this work for development policy. The topics covered in the module will also provide the opportunity to introduce key statistical models used to analyse political-economic data.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit:


  • Successful students will be able to appraise emerging themes of recent research on the political economics of resource-poor countries.
  • Successful students will be able to evaluate the implications of this research for policy to promote social and economic development.
  • Successful students will be able to apply relevant statistical models to cross-sectional and time-series data measuring political and economic development.
  • Successful students will be able to interpret the technical content of work on political economy published in the leading applied economics and development economics journals.
  • Successful students will be able to explain how findings in development economics relate to the wider framework of development studies.


Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, tutorial and group learning. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • An understanding of contemporary research and policy issues relating to the interface between politics and economic development.

Intellectual skills

  • An ability to synthesize research findings from two different disciplines (economics and political science).

Practical skills

  • A capacity to critically interpret existing quantitative evidence relating to politics and economic development.
  • A capacity to apply statistical methods to questions in the political economy of development.

Employability skills

Analytical skills

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be delivered during in-class interactions and formal summative feedback via Blackboard following assessment.


Recommended reading

The extended reading list comprises mainly papers in peer-reviewed academic journals. In addition, the following papers are recommended as preliminary reading:


Alesina, A., & Ferrara, E. L. (2005). Ethnic diversity and economic performance. Journal of Economic Literature, 43(3), 762-800.

Blattman, C., & Miguel, E. (2010). Civil war. Journal of Economic Literature, 48(1), 3-57.

Lloyd, P., & Lee, C. (2018). A review of the recent literature on the institutional economics analysis of the long¿run performance of nations. Journal of Economic Surveys, 32(1), 1-22.

Norris, P. (2013). The new research agenda: studying electoral integrity. Electoral Studies, 32(4), 563-575.

Paldam, M. (2000). Social capital: one or many? Definition and measurement. Journal of Economic Surveys, 14(5), 629-653.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 125

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Fielding Unit coordinator

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