NIFB14033U Development Economics

Volume 2024/2025

BSc Programme in Environmental and Food Economics
BSc Programme in Natural Resources


This course examines challenges posed by poverty affecting a billion people in low-income countries across the world as targeted by the Sustainable Development Goals and taking an economic approach to conceptualizing those challenges, their causes and solutions. The course will provide the students with theoretical frameworks enabling them to understand, measure, analyse and discuss themes within the development economics literature focusing on poverty, its consequences and its alleviation. Key questions discussed during the course include: What is the state of progress towards relevant SDG’s? What is life like when living with under a dollar a day? Are famines unavoidable? Is child labour necessary? Is education and health key to lifting people out of poverty? Does growth help the poorest of the poor? And, does aid matter for development? What is the relationship between environment and development, and how does climate change affect them? What role do sustainable food systems play in addressing both climate change and food insecurity?


The course includes the following  thematic topics (subject to change):

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Economic growth and development
  • Health and Education
  • Agricultural transformation  
  • Aid
  • Poverty, conflicts and corruption
  • Environment and development
  • Sustainable food systems
Learning Outcome

Towards the end of the course, students should be able to:



  • Define development economic concepts and measures
  • Describe common economic characteristics and problems of life in low-income countries



  • Apply development economic concepts to explain the causes and the interconnection of problems faced by households and institutions in low-income countries
  • Calculate, present, and discuss descriptive statistics
  • Conduct simple regression analyses, and interpret results to answer development economic questions  
  • Interpret and discuss basic findings of scientific studies in development economics
  • Assess the implication of development economic measures and models for development policy-related questions



  • Discuss and cooperate with fellow students to solve problems
  • Critically reflect on and discuss the causes and consequences of economic problems faced by households and institutions in developing countries

The course curriculum is based on the book “Development Economics” by G. Roland, published by Pearson in collaboration with Routledge in 2016 (available from Academic Books at Frederiksberg campus). Additional material including scientific articles, book chapters and reports, will be supplied throughout the course. The curriculum will be described on Absalon prior to course start.

No prior academic qualifications are needed, yet a bit of knowledge of basic economic theory is an advantage, as well as some experience using MS Excel for basic data analysis.
Blended learning combining lectures, group discussions and assignments, and classroom discussions of the empirical literature. Each week, students will be asked to: (1) read the mandatory literature; (2) meet up in class to attend lectures, exercises, discuss the week's theme and reading material. In addition, the course involves two written group assignments upon which the group/student will receive feedback and the approval of which are required for signing up for the course exam.
An interest in global affairs, life in low-income countries and the alleviation of poverty is a plus.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Preparation
  • 133
  • Practical exercises
  • 21
  • Project work
  • 24
  • Exam
  • 4
  • Total
  • 206
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Plenum discussion of group presentations on analysis of scientific literature. Feedback on group assignments, either written or orally as relevant. Students may also be asked to provide peer feedback on assignments based on agreed criteria. 

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam, 4 hours under invigilation
Exam registration requirements

Two written group assignments submitted and approved. 

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiners

The same as the ordinary exam.

If 10 or fewer register for the reexam, the reexam is oral of 20 minutes duration with no time for preparation and no aid allowed. 

If the student has not handed in and gotten two group assignments approved, the student must hand in the assignments individually three weeks before the reexam, and they must be approved before the reexam.



Criteria for exam assesment

Assesment in accordance with the learning outcomes