BA Modern Language and Business & Management (Portuguese)

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Development Economics: Understanding Poverty

Unit code ECON20332
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Economics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course aims to develop students’ understanding and knowledge of theoretical and empirical Development Economics.  It is done so from the perspective of inequality and poverty.  We shall cover a diverse range of topics linked to the notion of income distributional that includes the role of human capital, and institutions.  Students will also learn about the measurement and causes of poverty and inequality leading to discussion on policies to reduce poverty and inequality.  Even though it is not necessary to successfully complete the course to be familiar with calculus and some basic econometrics, you will be required to have a basic knowledge of both. If you have any questions or concerns about this at any point during the course, please contact me and we can arrange a meeting or come to my office during my office hours(to be confirmed). I also advice those who have never done Mathematics and/or Econometrics before to see me within the first couple of weeks.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Principles of Microeconomic Theory 1: Consumers, Welfare, Production and Costs ECON10171 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Macroeconomic Analysis 1 ECON10181 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Microeconomics 1 ECON10221 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Macroeconomics 1 ECON10241 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Macroeconomics 1 ECON10252 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Microeconomics 1 ECON10331 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
(ECON10171 or ECON10221 or ECON10331) and (ECON10181or ECON10241 or ECON10252)

(ECON10171 OR ECON10221 OR ECON10331) AND (ECON10181 OR ECON10241 OR ECON10252)


• To familiarise students with the theoretical and empirical aspects of economic development faced by less developed countries (LDCs);

• To provide students with key concepts of Development Economics examined through the prism of poverty and inequality

• To provide students with the basic skills required for the development of an independent understanding of current issues in Development Economics.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course students should be able to:

• Explain the key issues in developing countries making reference to the existing theoretical and empirical literature;

• Assess critically the factors and policies influencing poverty an inequality;

• Demonstrate their understanding of the changing nature of global inequality and poverty;

• Express ideas coherently in writing.


The Unit should cover the following broad topics:

Topic 1 Concepts and Measurement

  • different measures of inequality and poverty and their properties;
  • discuss the changing nature of inequality and poverty in the world
  • Case studies from World Bank.


Topic 2 Explaining inequality and poverty: theory and evidence

  • human capital model: role of education and skills
  • Labour market institutions (union, minimum wage, etc.)
  • analytical and empirical evidence linking inequality, poverty and economic growth


Topic 3: Policy: changing policy environment over the last three decades

  • UN Millennium Development Goals;
  • World Bank poverty initiative;
  • Child Poverty act of UK;
  • Cash transfer programmes in Latin America


Topic 4: Broader Notion of Well-being

  • Multi-dimensional Approach
  • Basic Needs
  • Functioning’s and Capabilities

Teaching and learning methods

Online Learning and Guided Self-Study

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Synthesis and analysis of data and information. Critical reflection and evaluation. Decision-making.
Problem solving
Planning independent research. Using library, electronic and online resources.

Assessment methods

For information about feedback please follow this link:

•         Mid-Term Assessment (14%)

•         Final Exam (86%, written answer questions)

Note; details of Mid-Term Assessments yet to be decided. Potentially two online tests. This will be clearly communicated at the beginning of the semester.


Feedback methods

  • Tutorial feedback.
  • Office hours.
  • Revision sessions.

Recommended reading

The basic textbook for this module is:

Deaton, A. (2013) The Great Escape: Health Wealth and the Origins of Inequality, Princeton University Press


Sen, A (2001) Development as Freedom, (Second Edition), Oxford University Press


Additional Readings

Lecture 1: Introduction: What is Economic Development? Overview.

BOOK: Ray (Ch. 2);

Basu, K. and Maertens, A. (2007). The pattern and causes of economic growth in India. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 23: 143-167.

Banerjee, A.V. and Du¿o, E. (2007). The Economic Lives of the Poor. The Journal of Economic Perspectives. 21(1):141-167.

Sen, Amartya. (1988). The Concept of Development. Chapter 1 in Handbook of Development Economics (1988), Vol. I, edited by Chenery, H. and Srinivasan, T. N.


Lecture 2: The Family and how the members make decisions.

A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making, The Economic Journal Volume 111,Issue 474,pages 722-748,October 2001

Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa, Duflo (2003), World Bank Economic Review.

Gender, Agricultural Production and the Theory of the Household, Chris Udry,Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-46, October, 1996.


Lecture 3: Education and the role of Human Capital in the growth process.

BOOK: Ray (Ch. 4-5);

Du¿o, E. (2001). Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment. American Economic Review, 91(4): 795-813.

Galor, O. and Zeira, J. (1993). Income Distribution and Macroeconomics. Review of Economic Studies, 60(1): 35-52.


Lecture 4: Foreign Aid for Development.

Robinson, S. and F. Tarp (2000), A Foreign Aid and Development: Synthesis in F. Tarp and P. Hjertholm (editors), Foreign Aid and Development: Learnt and Directions for the Future, Routledge, London and New York.

Burnside, G. and D. Dollar (2000), "Aid, Policies and Growth", American Economic Review, pp.847-868.

Hansen, H. and F.Tarp, (2000), "Aid effectiveness disputed", Journal of International Development, Vol. 12 (3), pp. 375-98.

Alesina, A. and D. Dollar (2000), "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?", Journal of Economic Growth, Vol.5, No.1, pp.33-63.


Lecture 5: Land and Asymmetries in Information: ownership, tenancy and land rental contracts

BOOK: Ray (Ch. 12)

Banerjee, A., Gertler, P., and Ghatak, M. (2002). Empowerment and Ef¿ciency: Tenancy Reform in West Bengal. Journal of Political Economy, 110(2):239-80.

Besley, T. and Burgess, R. (2000). Land Reform, Poverty Reduction, and Growth: Evidence from India. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(2): 389-430.


Independent study hours Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Caitlin Brown Unit coordinator

Additional notes

For every 10 course unit credits we expect students to work for around 100 hours. This time generally includes any contact times (online or face to face, recorded and live), but also independent study, work for coursework, and group work. This amount is only a guidance and individual study time will vary.

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