The topic of this class will be the political economy of development in low-income countries. Our focus is on determining the institutional and behavioral hurdles to reducing poverty. While this class aims to be comprehensive, we will focus on the most recent academic literature, covering a variety of research methods including observational statistical analyses and field experiments. At the end of this class, students will be familiar with the current state-of-art in the political economy of development. Students taking this class should be familiar with economics and basic statistical analysis including regression. A working knowledge of game theory is also useful. The course material will assess some of the most relevant questions in the political economy of development: What are the determinants of democratization? What can be done about corruption? How can we foster social cohesion in local communities? And what are the causes and consequences of violence? In so doing, we consult relevant literatures from economics and political science. We pay particular attention to rigorous empirical designs that allow one to pinpoint causal relationships. The goal of the class not to survey the entire literature, but to focus on key academic debates that motivate current research.
- Kremer, M. (1993). The O-ring theory of economic development. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108(3), 551-575.
- Boix, C., & Stokes, S. C. (2003). Endogenous democratization. World Politics, 55(4), 517-549.
- Alesina, A., Giuliano, P., & Nunn, N. (2013). On the origins of gender roles: Women and the plough. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(2), 469-530.