AGDK14005U  Economic Growth and Inequality

Volume 2015/2016

MSc programme in Global Development


This course is divided into three main parts. In the first we ask “big questions”: what is the relationship between economic growth and inequality; why are some countries so rich and others so poor; and why are some of the economic inequalities that arise during the process of development so persistent over time. In the second part, we study a number of aspects involved in the process of creating economic prosperity, asking for example whether different cultures are the cause of different outcomes; how economic institutions like the protection of personal liberties and property rights relate to development; and whether democracy, a sizeable middle-class, and the guaranteeing of human rights are necessary for achieving and consolidating prosperity. In the third part of the course, we move towards studying what can be done to contribute to faster and more sustainable development in poor countries, asking how international foreign aid flows, or national social assistance policies, can contribute effectively to combatting poverty.

The course will be supplemented with weekly group exercises to train students in (a) rigorous practice of quantitative data analysis for development, (b) critical reading of existing literature in economics and anthropology, and (c) writing short critical essays, on topics mentioned in the course as an extension to the curricula.

Learning Outcome

By the end of the course the students will be able to:

-          Explain the reasons behind the large and persistent differences in economic outcomes across and within countries, using different approaches.

-          Build an argument about the drivers of economic development combining both economic and anthropological literature.

-          Relate economic growth to other societal processes (cultural change/legal institutionalization/​democratization) using both quantitative and qualitative approaches.

-          Assess global development solutions, between and within countries, using appropriate methodologies.


The course is aimed at 2nd semester MSc students at the GD program, and students that have passed basic Econometric and Development Economics courses, and courses on Anthropological Theory, Methodology and Analysis at the level of the 1st year master’s program in Anthropology.

The course will consist of one weekly lecture and one weekly exercise class. During lectures, economics and anthropology lecturers engage with ‘the question of the week’, presenting different points of view on the specific topic and setting the floor for a debate. During the exercises, the focus will alternate on data-set analysis and referee report writing (led by the economics lecturer) and critical debate (lead by the anthropology lecturer).

Students are expected to do the readings before each lecture and come prepared to actively participate in the class. For each seminar, they need to upload their portfolio exercises at least 24 hours in advance, come to class having read the portfolio exercises of their group-mates, and be ready to give constructive peer feedback.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio of circa 30.000 keystrokes, consisting of a selection by the student of 2 data-set portfolio exercises and 2 critical essay portfolio exercises.

Students must upload 8 portfolio exercises: 4 quantitative analysis/referee report portfolio exercises, and 4 critical essay portfolio exercises. Students are expected to actively take part in seminars in giving peer feedback on portfolio exercises. Portfolio exercises will not be graded by lecturer – only the final portfolio selection will be.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

If you fail an examination, you will be allowed two more attempts to pass the relevant course. The first re-examination will typically be scheduled immediately following the semester (February/August). The second re-examination will typically be scheduled in the following exam period.

In order to contact to sign up for the re-exam please contact Ulla Andersen, You must sign up no later than 14 days before the re-exam date.

Criteria for exam assesment

See 'Learning outcome'

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 16
  • Seminar
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 160
  • Exam
  • 18
  • Total
  • 210