AØKA08087U  Advanced Development Economics - Macro Aspects

Volume 2016/2017

MSc programme in Economics – elective course


The course covers three broad themes:

Theme 1. The historical origins of comparative development

It is increasingly understood that it is impossible to account for the vast income differences we see across countries without an understanding of the differential timing of the take_off to sustained growth, which occurred first some two hundred years ago in the Western world. This event is sometimes referred to as the Industrial Revolution. As all countries have not embarked in a trajectory of sustained growth at the same time, income gaps emerged, thus shaping contemporary comparative development. This part of the course will therefore discuss the forces that have kept economies in a state of stagnation for the bulk of human history and, by extension, how economies ultimately are released from stagnation.

Theme 2. Fundamental determinants of productivity

2A. Climate and geography

2B. Culture

2C. Institutions

Why haven’t all countries taken off at the same time? Put differently, why did the Industrial Revolution not diffuse rapidly across the world as a whole? At the same time, why have some countries, post take_off, not manage to catch_up? And why have some not taken off yet?

At the proximate level, the answer is suggested by existing growth models (such as the Solow_Swan model and extensions): some countries are simply not able to accumulate capital (physical and human), adopt new ideas, and ensure a high degree of macroeconomic efficiency as others. But then again, why is that? If policy is part of the story, why do some countries apparently impose growth hampering policies? If low savings are part of an answer, why do citizens of some countries display more "thriftiness" than citizens of other countries? Etc.

This part of the course discusses a recent body of literature that seeks an answer in slow_moving country specific characteristics: Climate/Geography, Culture, and Institutions. Differences in these three broad dimensions are critical in understanding both the differential timing of the take_off and the post take_off different economic trajectories.

Our journey through the literature will also reveal important debates, which have played out an important role – and, in many cases, are still on_going – such as: Does greater longevity lead to higher income? Do cultural differences matter? Are the formal rules of the game of an economy (i.e., property rights protection) important to growth once we take into account that the informal rules of the game differ across countries (i.e., social norms and values ; dimensions like trust, cultural valuation of skills and wealth and so forth)?

Theme 3. Policy debates

Towards the end of the course we will explore recent or relevant public debates about our main topic – for example the effectiveness of development policy tools like foreign aid, or the causes and consequences of income inequality in the developing world.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course, the student should be able to:


  • Describe the global pattern of economic development, in a modern and a historical perspective.

  • Have a broad appreciation of important papers in the literature relevant to economic development of less advanced economies.

  • Understand theoretical models and arguments for topics in the contents of the course, and the empirical evidence accompanying them.



  • Identify and explain the causes of differences in the development path that different countries have followed, and relate them to fundamental drivers of economic development.

  • Provide the basic economic intuition behind central driving mechanisms in theoretical models.

  • Assess the capacity of theoretical models to generate testable predictions, and evaluate the correspondence between theoretical predictions and empirical evidence.



  • Appreciate some of the key debates among economists, understand how they relate to contemporary policy issues, and discuss about the effectiveness of policies aimed to promote growth and economic development.

  • Apply knowledge of econometrics to articles that conduct quantitative analysis in less developed countries.

  • Work effectively as a trained economist analyzing problems of less developed countries in an international organization, business environment, non_governmental organization, or governmental institution.


The readings for the course are book chapters, journal articles, and recent working papers. Accordingly, the precise content of the course, in terms of required readings, will vary from time to time. But the course consistently covers three broad themes explained in the content of the course.

Macroeconomics I equivalent to the course at the B.Sc programme in Economics.
The course consists of 2 hours of classes (lectures) every week and 2x2 hours every second week for 14 weeks.
Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of classroom please press the link under "Se skema" (See schedule) at the right side of this page (16E means Autumn 2016).

You can find the similar information partly in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-E16; [Name of course]””
-Select Report Type: List
-Select Period: “Efterrår/Autumn – Weeks 30-3”
Press: “ View Timetable”
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 hours under invigilation
Individual written closed-book exam at the computers of Copenhagen University.
The exam assignment is in English and must be answered in English.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
100% censorship
Exam period

The exam takes place December 15, 2016 at Peter Bangs Vej 36. 2000 Frederiksberg http:/​/​pc-eksamen.ku.dk/​pc_exam The exact time of the exam will be informed in the Self-Service at KUnet

For enrolled students more information about examination, exam/re-sit, rules etc. is available at the student intranet for Examination (English) and student intranet for Examination (KA-Danish).


The written re-exam takes place February 16 , 2017 at Peter Bangs Vej 36. 2000 Frederiksberg http:/​/​pc-eksamen.ku.dk/​pc_exam The exact time of the exam will be informed in the Self-Service at KUnet

If only a few students have registered for the re-exam, the exam might change to an oral exam including the date for the exam, which will be informed  by the Examination Office.

Criteria for exam assesment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.

To receive the top grade, the student must be able to demonstrate in an excellent manner that he or she has acquired and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 161
  • Exam
  • 3
  • Total
  • 206