Economic Development Studies

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ECON 204 / ENVI 234Economics of Developing Countries

Not offered this year

This course is an introduction to the economics of development. The central question is: why are some people and nations poor? And what can governments (or donors) do to reduce poverty? Possible topics include agricultural productivity, health, education, microfinance, child labor, corruption, resource utilization and pollution, and intellectual property rights. We shall also discuss the extent to which market-friendly reforms (such as trade liberalization) can reduce poverty. [ more ]

ECON 215 / INST 315(S)International Trade, Globalization and Its Effects

This course is an introduction to international trade and finance with an emphasis on issues of current interest. Topics to be discussed may include: the gains from trade; why nations trade; different theories of the pattern of trade; the effects of tariffs and other trade barriers on national welfare and income distribution; the balance of payments, the determination of foreign exchange rates, and alternative exchange rate regimes. [ more ]

ECON 217 / INST 217 / ASST 220(S)Economics of East Asia

This course will provide students with an understanding of economic growth in East Asia and the region's current microeconomic policy issues. For the purpose of this course, we will focus on China, Japan, Korea, and a few Southeast Asian countries. Those interested in economic development and applied microeconomic policies characteristic of East Asia will find this course useful. We first examine the process of economic growth. Cross country comparisons will help draw similarities but also differences in the development processes. The second part of the course will focus on specific economic issues such as, privatization in China, education and inequality in South Korea, demographic challenges in Japan, health care in Indonesia, etc. The course will involve readings from various texts, policy reports, academic journals, and case studies. Throughout the course students will learn how to read empirical evidence presented in these articles. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

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PSCI 229Global Political Economy

Not offered this year

This course offers a broad introduction to contemporary global capitalism, emphasizing the inherent and inseparable intertwining of politics and economics, power and wealth, the state and the market. It begins with an overview of the history of thought in international political economy up to current theory. The core of the course is a broad analysis of global trade, global finance, and development, with special attention to subjects such as free trade, the WTO, foreign aid, money, and financial crisis. We conclude the course with a close look at the contemporary global political economy in crisis, its politics, and the future of global capitalism. [ more ]

ECON 235Urban Centers and Urban Systems

Not offered this year

Cities, systems of cities, and the interactions between cities are the outcome of human decisions and reflect their social structure and desire for interaction. The form of these urban areas is determined by the choices made by the people who reside in, work in, and travel between cities. Economic forces influence and constrain these choices, and economic models of decision-making can help us to explain and predict the patterns that result. These models help us to comprehend the structure of urban areas. This course will introduce the ideas and some of the analytic tools that assist in understanding the economic foundations of urban centers and urban systems. Topics addressed in the course will include the determinants of land use, location of firms, choice of transportation mode, flows of capital investment into real estate, housing prices and housing availability and regulation of housing markets, movement of population from one city to another, and public policies designed to deal with urban problems. [ more ]

REL 287 / ENVI 287The Dynamics of Globalization: Society, Religion and the Environment

Not offered this year

This course offers a theoretical reflection on the social, cultural and environmental dynamics of globalization and their consequences for the nature and place of religion. Rather than argue for or against globalization, we first examine the nature of this new configuration and its relation to (post)modernity, asking questions such as: What are the cultural and social dynamics of globalization? What are the effects on the nature of the state and the political practices that take place in the global world? What are its environmental consequences? We then shift to examining the role of religion, arguing that its renewed relevance is a function of the socio-cultural transformations that globalization brings about, particularly the loss of community and the increasing atomization of individuals. We conclude by examining some of the perspectives created by the new religious expressions that attempt to respond to this situation, from personal spiritual quests as manifested in interest in Buddhism, ecology or mountain climbing, to various forms of fundamentalism, such as Evangelicalism, the fastest growing religious movement in the Americas, and the most radical forms of Islamicism. Reading list: Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity; Castells, The Rise of the Network Society; Bauman, Globalization; Kivisto, Multiculturalism in a Global Society; Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World; Ortner, Life and Death on Mt. Everest; Matthews, Global Cultura/ Individual Identity; Shuck, Mark of the Beast; Roy, Globalized Islam. [ more ]

PSCI 341(S)Modern Midas? Resource Abundance and Development

Many academics, international nongovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, and the media assert that natural resource endowments--oil, gas, and diamonds--are like the touch of Midas. Yet consider that while mineral abundance promises to give countries a platform for prosperity, equity, and political stability, it often produces poor economic performance, poor populations, weak authoritarian states, and widespread conflict. Is there a resource curse, or is it possible for mineral rich countries to escape the modern counterparts of Midas? In this research seminar we revisit the debate on the relationship between mineral wealth and development, focusing on the factors and conditions that lead some resource rich countries to fail and others to succeed. [ more ]

ECON 360International Monetary Economics

Not offered this year

This course studies the macroeconomic behavior of economies that trade both goods and assets with other economies: international financial transactions, especially the buying and selling of foreign money, the role of central banks and private speculators in determining exchange rates and interest rates, and the effects of international transactions on the overall performance of an open economy. Additional topics may include the "asset market approach" to exchange rate determination, the nature and purpose of certain international institutions, and important current events. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

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ECON 362(S)Global Competitive Strategies

This course maintains an IO perspective, acknowledging the centrality of large, multinational firms in determining the pattern and success of a nation's international economic activities (which include, but are not limited to, a wide range of licensing, trade, and diverse configurations of foreign direct investment activities, and their implications for employment, profitability, and social welfare at home and abroad.) In this sense, we depart from international economic approaches that focus foremost on the ways in which a country's factor endowments, domestic market characteristics, and government policies promote or impede such activities, although in our treatment we do not neglect these factors, but treat them as constraints upon, or resources supporting, the optimizing behaviors of large firms. During and following a case-based module in which we learn and simulate the strategic decision processes used by executives of multinationals, we examine the actual trade and investment decisions of those firms, compare them to the predictions of international trade and multinational IO theories, and seek to explain divergences where they are identified. Throughout, competitive strategies of domestic and foreign rivals in markets around the world are explored. As well, the types and efficacy of various government policies in promoting the competitiveness of industries in regional and global markets -- and how they are linked to recent work in growth theory -- are examined. Further, substantial recent shifts in the nature of globalized economic activity, including the changing relative mobility and power of capital and labor, are examined. Finally, welfare propositions and policy ideas for addressing welfare impacts are advanced and discussed. Written cases, class participation, a mid-term exam, and a final paper or exam are expected. [ more ]

POEC 401(F)Contemporary Problems in Political Economy

This course examines contemporary problems in political economy at and across diverse spatial scales. Using both Economics and Political Science methods of analysis, students study the exercise of power and the accumulation of wealth in the world today as well as central public policy debates around those processes. We begin with a discussion of the philosophical foundations of economic policymaking. Then we move through three course sections organized around contemporary problems at three distinct scales: the United States political economy, comparative political economy with an emphasis on the advanced capitalist countries, and the global political economy. We end by taking issues usually studied at a single scale and exploring their innate interconnections through an integrated political-economic and public policy analysis of immigration. The goal of this course is both to build upon theoretical debates encountered in POEC 250 as well as to prepare students for the public policy analysis they will do in POEC 402. [ more ]

ECON 467 TDevelopment Successes

Not offered this year

Although living standards in most of the worlds poor countries have increasingly fallen behind those of the rich industrial countries, a relatively small number of countries that were quite poor in the middle of the last century have achieved dramatic improvements in their incomes since then. These development successes include countries such as Japan, the four dragons (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan), the MIT economies (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand), the Asian giants of China and India, as well as non-Asian economies as diverse as Botswana, Chile, and Turkey. This tutorial will explore why these countries have apparently succeeded where many other poor countries have failed. A particular focus of the course will be on extracting insights from the experiences of these success cases about the broad development strategies that have been advocated over the past 50 years by scholars as well as by the international financial institutions. [ more ]

ECON 501(F)Development Economics I

This course introduces some of the major theories and ideas about economic growth and development. Motivated by a number of stylized facts from cross-country data, we will begin by posing a series of questions: Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why have some countries grown at high rates over extended periods of time, while others have experienced little or no growth? Do all economies face comparable challenges to achieving sustained economic growth? Will poor countries catch up to rich countries or are they doomed to stagnate in a poverty trap? To answer these "big" questions, we will explore the underlying mechanisms of economic growth. What role is played by savings and investment (i.e., the accumulation of physical capital)? What is the influence of population growth? How important are investments in human capital (i.e., education and population health)? How important are technological differences across countries? How much significance should we ascribe to differences across countries in geographical characteristics? How much should we ascribe to differences in the quality of institutions? For each question, we will explore different theoretical and empirical strategies developed by economists to answer the question, ranging from formal models to historical and anecdotal evidence to cross-country growth and development regressions. We will evaluate the usefulness of the different approaches to each question for informing development-promoting and poverty-alleviation policies, and we will also discuss the reasons why so many important questions about economic growth continue to remain difficult to answer. [ more ]

ECON 502Institutions and Governance

Not offered this year

Over the last two decades economists have become increasingly aware of the importance of the "social infrastructure" at various levels of economic activity: capable and honest government officials must be available to formulate and implement policies, markets must be supported by suitable institutional frameworks, property rights must be secure, and contracts reliably enforced. Even the structure of the household, the smallest institution analyzed by economists, has been shown to have an important influence on economic development. This course will survey the growing literature on institutions and governance. [ more ]

ECON 504(F)Public Economics

This class is about microeconomic and empirical analysis of government expenditure programs in developing and transitional countries. It provides tools for understanding the effects of government policies, as well as a useful conceptual framework for analyzing normative questions such as "what role should government play in the economy" and "what is a good policy?" The course begins by considering the efficiency of market economies, and rationales for government intervention in the market, such as public goods, externalities, information-based market failures, imperfect competition, and equity. We also consider ways that human behavior might deviate from perfect rationality, and what that might imply for policy. Along the way, we apply these concepts to various examples of policy issues, including, among other things, the environment, education, health, infrastructure, security, social insurance, and aid to the poor. We then turn to the general question of how to make the government work better, addressing questions such as the following. When is it better to have the government own and produce things, and when is it better to privatize? What are the incentives of politicians and government employees, and how does the design of political and budgetary institutions affect the degree to which they serve the public interest? How should responsibilities be divided up between the central government and local governments, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of "decentralization?" What can be done to improve the delivery of basic services? For example, how might one address problems of corruption and absenteeism? Throughout the course, we consider examples of empirical research, and to facilitate this, we will occasionally introduce econometric tools that are particularly useful for microeconomic policy evaluation. [ more ]

ECON 505(F)Developing Country Macroeconomics

This course focuses on the relationship between macroeconomic policies and economic growth in developing countries. After examining the links between macroeconomic stability and long-run growth, the rest of the course is divided into three parts. The first part is devoted to the construction of an analytical model that is suitable for analyzing a wide variety of macroeconomic issues in developing countries. This model provides the general framework for a more specific analysis of fiscal and monetary policies in the two remaining parts. In analyzing fiscal policy, the course will consider in particular the requirements of fiscal solvency and the contribution that fiscal policy can make to macroeconomic stability. It will also examine alternative methods for achieving fiscal credibility, including the design of fiscal institutions. The final part of the course will turn to an analysis of central banking, focusing on central bank independence, time consistency of monetary policy, and the design of monetary policy rules in small open economies. [ more ]

ECON 510(S)Financial Development and Regulation

This course focuses on the financial system and its role in economic development. The first part explores the functions of finance, how it contributes to growth, and reviews different models of financial sector development and their influence on how governments viewed the sector. It will examine experiences with financial sector repression and subsequent liberalization, and investigate the causes and impact of financial crises. Then it will study how to make finance effective and how to prevent or minimize crises, analyzing government's role as regulator, supervisor, standard setter, contract enforcer, and owner. In this final part, attention will be devoted to the role of institutions (laws, norms, culture) and incentives in financial sector development. [ more ]

ECON 515(S)Developing Country Macroeconomics II

This lecture course is a continuation of Economics 505. The first part of the course extends the analysis of the first semester to several open-economy issues that arise in developing countries, especially with respect to the interactions among exchange rate regimes, monetary policy regimes, and policies directed at the financial account of the balance of payments. The second part of the course will apply these analytical tools, as well as those developed in Economics 505, to an examination of the various types of crises that have afflicted developing countries over the past three decades, considering in particular the implications of such crises for growth and development. [ more ]

ECON 516(S)International Trade and Development

This course will examine the causes and consequences of international trade and its implications for less developed countries. We will examine a few models of international trade and the empirical relevance of these theories. In addition, international economic issues of particular importance to developing countries will be covered, such as brain drain, remittances, foreign direct investment, trade policies, infant industry protection, trade and growth, the World Trade Organization, and the resource course. [ more ]

ECON 535 T(S)International Financial Institutions

This tutorial will explore the role of international financial institutions in the global economic and financial system, their relations with members, and proposals for how they might be reformed. The focus will be principally on the International Monetary Fund and to a lesser extent the World Bank, but consideration also may be given to the regional development banks, Bank for International Settlements, the Financial Stability Board, and the Paris Club used for official debt renegotiation. Topics and readings will focus on such issues as: the roles and governance reform of the IMF and World Bank; relations between the two institutions and their relations with other institutions of international finance and governance; lessons from their performance in international crises; and initiatives of the Fund and Bank in the global adjustment process, financial system stability, public and private sector governance, lending programs, the management of international reserves, and provision of advice to members. Participants will meet in pairs with the faculty member. Each week, one student will prepare a policy paper and submit the paper to the professor and to the other student in advance of the meeting. During the meeting, the student who has written the paper will present an argument, evidence, and conclusions. The other student will provide a detailed critique of the paper based on concepts and evidence from the readings. The professor will join the discussion after each participant has presented and ask questions that highlight or illustrate critical points. [ more ]

Taught by: Jim Hanson

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