Microeconomics of Development - ECON5700

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


This module introduces students to the study of economic development by focussing on the behaviour of individuals to understand the causes and nature of poverty. It utilises microeconomic theories to consider and understand phenomena related to underdevelopment. It also explores the collection and analysis of data at the individual level (as opposed to the regional or national level) and the use of lab and field experiments to better understand individual behaviour. Particular focus is given to the evaluation of economic decision making and outcomes by considering individuals' opportunities, constraints, and choices.

The module introduces students to the variety of microeconomic tools that contribute to a better understanding of the process of economic development. Some of these methods are now widely used by international development agencies – such the World Bank and FCDO – as well as academic researchers to critically assess development strategies and to evaluate programmes aimed at improving the economic well-being of the poor in developing countries.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 16 hours
Private study hours: 134
Total study hours: 150


This module is optional on all Single and Joint Honours degree programmes in Economics.
This module is not available to students across other degree programmes in the University.

Method of assessment

Assignment 1, (1000 words) (10%)
Assignment 2, (1000 words) (10%)
Examination, 2 hours (80%)

Reassessment Instrument: 100% exam

Indicative reading

• D Ray, Development Economics, Princeton University Press, 1998
• K Basu, K, Analytical Development Economics: The Less Developed Economy Revisited, MIT Press, 1997

A number of journal articles and book chapters will be included in the assigned readings and/or referenced in the lectures. In each instance, it will be ensured that students are able to obtain the readings freely using available electronic resources.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Understand how a variety of microeconomic concepts, such as market failure, and strategic decision-making, can be used to investigate causes of underdevelopment and guide development-related policies

8.2 Analyse various types of microeconomic data (e.g. household surveys, natural experiments and methods of programme evaluation) to test economic theories and guide economic policies

8.3 Critically assess different theories about the behaviour of poor individuals or households in developing countries using existing theories and evidence on individual decision-making

8.4 Critically discuss the effectiveness of various development-related policies – e.g. credit subsidies for poor households or conditional cash transfers – in the context of existing theories and evidence on individual decision-making;

8.5 Solve microeconomic models to explain phenomena related to underdevelopment


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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