Microeconomics of Development - EC570

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR Z Wahhaj checkmark-circle


In the last 30 to 35 years, the study of economic development has increasingly focused on the behaviour of individuals – their opportunities, constraints, and choices – to understand the causes and nature of poverty, and on formulating strategies for improving their economic well-being. This trend includes the increased application of microeconomic theories to understand phenomena related to underdevelopment, the collection and analysis of data at the individual level (as opposed to the regional or national level) and, most recently, the use of lab and field experiments to better understand individual behaviour.

The module introduces you to these trends, to show how the related microeconomic tools have contributed 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 DfID – as well as academic researchers to critically assess development strategies and evaluate programmes aimed at improving the economic well-being of the poor in developing countries.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

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


This module is an elective 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%)

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

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

* 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
* 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
* critically assess different theories about the behaviour of poor individuals or households in developing countries using existing theories and evidence on individual decision-making
* 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;
* solve microeconomic models to explain phenomena related to underdevelopment


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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