NIFB14033U Development Economics

Volume 2014/2015
Bacheloruddannelsen i jordbrugsøkonomi
MSc Programme in Agricultural Development

This introductory course on developing economics seeks to provide students with an overview of the most pertinent problems facing developing countries, an understanding of the root causes of those problems and the basic tools needed to begin searching for solutions to those problems. Among the topics we explore are:

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Economic growth theory and other theories of economic development
  • The determinants and importance of education and health (human capital) in development
  • The role of the agricultural sector, including how agricultural transformation and urbanization interacts with the development process
  • Finance and credit markets
  • Development policy making and how the state, donors, NGOs and the private sector can support or hinder the development process
  • Possibly other selected topics as time permits, .e.g. the environment, international trade, macroeconomic stability, democracy, governance and conflicts, etc.
Learning Outcome

Upon completing this course, the students should be able to


  • Define the concepts of development economics introduced during the course and in the course curriculum, e.g. different ways to measure poverty, the concept of a dual economy, etc.
  • Summarize the stylized facts that describe the problems faced by developing countries, e.g. overall patterns of poverty and inequality, poor agricultural performance, limited access to health and education services, etc.


  • Explain the root causes of the problems faced by developing countries, e.g. why do many developing countries experience low economic growth?, why is it difficult for the poor to escape poverty?, why do farmers often apply low-yielding technologies?, etc.
  • Apply general economic thinking as well as the concepts and specialized models of development economics to analyze development economic and policy-related questions, e.g. can microfinance schemes help improve the poor’s access to credit?, What is the likely effect of land reform?, etc.


  • Identify and locate relevant data for informed discussions on development economics issues (as well as more generally), e.g. data on poverty incidence, economic growth rates, life expectancy, etc.
  • Formulate arguments and opinions based on facts and understanding of the economic concepts and models

The course is based on a textbook, to be announced on Absalon two weeks prior to the beginning of the course.

Possibly additional material supplied by the instructor.

It is highly recommended to have attended courses in micro- and macroeconomics as well as International economics prior to this course, since the course is an economics course building on the knowledge obtained in these courses.
The course mixes lectures, theoretical and empirical exercises, group discussions and small student presentations. As much of Development Economics is very descriptive (and non-technical) in nature, students should be prepared for a relatively large reading burden. Also we may not have time to cover everything in lectures, so students should be prepared to absorb a part of the material through self-study, exercises and group discussions.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Practical exercises
  • 24
  • Preparation
  • 130
  • Theory exercises
  • 24
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 timer under invigilation
Only certain aids allowed
  • At most 10 pages of personal notes (including empirical tables and graphs)
  • Calculator
  • English dictionary
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner
If 10 or fewer register for the reexamination the examination form will be oral.
Criteria for exam assesment

Assesment in accordance with the learning outcomes