Political Economy of International Development

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
18 December 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA L900 International Development,
BA L901 International Development (Including Year Abroad),
BA L902 International Development (Including Placement Year),
BA L150 Political Economics,
BA L151 Political Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BA L152 Political Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA L154 Political Economics (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

The problem of global poverty has come increasingly into focus in recent decades. Celebrities have decided to take up the mantle of development, calling for debt relief and increased foreign aid and personally involving themselves in particular development projects. Public intellectuals like William Easterly and Jeffrey Sachs have debated the usefulness of development aid and the specific modalities of assistance in the popular media. The class begins by exploring definitions and theories of development. Then it considers various issues and broad trends in development aid and thinking.

Module aims

Through the readings, lectures and assignments, students should achieve the following goals by the end of the semester:
-Have a general awareness of the broad trends in development, development thinking and the relevant actors in development
-Be able to think in a strategic fashion about what motivates different development actors and how these preferences lead to the particular outcomes that we see in terms of aid allocation, project design, aid coordination, etc.
-Be aware of debates surrounding the relationship between democracy and development and more generally about the preconditions for economic development
-Be able to state informed opinions with regard to the successes and failures of international development and how foreign aid and development should be organized in the future

Module learning outcomes

After this module, students will
-Have an improved capacity for understanding research questions and data sources with regard to the Political Economy of Development
-Have an improved capacity for producing original research using primary documents and/or data and an improved capacity for presenting this research in term paper format

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly two-hour session. This module will be delivered as a weekly interactive seminar session in which the instructor discusses various aspects of the module readings with the students. Students are expected to read the listed readings on Moodle in preparation for the discussion


  • Pandya, Sonal S. (2014-09) 'Democratization and Foreign Direct Investment Liberalization, 1970-2000', in International Studies Quarterly. vol. 58 (3) , pp.475-488
  • Nuñez-Mietz, Fernando G.; García Iommi, Lucrecia. (2017-03-01) 'Can Transnational Norm Advocacy Undermine Internalization? Explaining Immunization Against LGBT Rights in Uganda', in International Studies Quarterly. vol. 61 (1) , pp.196-209
  • Quan Li; Adam Resnick. (2003) 'Reversal of Fortunes: Democratic Institutions and Foreign Direct Investment Inflows to Developing Countries', in International Organization. vol. 57 (1) , pp.175-211
  • Paul Collier. (1999) 'On the Economic Consequences of Civil War', in Oxford Economic Papers: Oxford University Press. vol. 51 (1) , pp.168-183
  • Docquier, Frédéric; Rapoport, Hillel. (2012-09) 'Globalization, Brain Drain, and Development', in Journal of Economic Literature. vol. 50 (3) , pp.681-730
  • Abhijit Banerjeel; Duflo, Esther; Glennerster, Rache; Kinnan, Cynthia. (2015) 'The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation', in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. vol. 7 (1) , pp.22-53
  • Wade, Robert. (c1990) Governing the market: economic theory and the role of government in East Asian industrialization, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
  • Olson, Mancur. (1993-09) 'Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development', in American Political Science Review. vol. 87 (3) , pp.567-576
  • Badgett, M.V. Lee; Waaldijk, Kees; Rodgers, Yana van der Meulen. (2019-08) 'The relationship between LGBT inclusion and economic development: Macro-level evidence', in World Development. vol. 120, pp.1-14
  • Moran, Theodore H. (2012) 'Foreign Direct Investment and Development', in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization, Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • John Gerring; Strom C. Thacker. (2005) 'Do Neoliberal Policies Deter Political Corruption?', in International Organization. vol. 59 (1) , pp.233-254
  • Oatley, Thomas. (2010) 'Political Institutions and Foreign Debt in the Developing World', in International Studies Quarterly. vol. 54 (1) , pp.175-195
  • Rafael Reuveny, William R. Thompson. (2008) 'Uneven Economic Growth and the World Economy's North-South Stratification', in International Studies Quarterly. vol. 52 (3) , pp.579-605
  • Hall, Peter A. (1986) Governing the economy: the politics of state intervention in Britain and France, New York: Oxford University Press., pp.227-283
  • Gray, Mark M.; Kittilson, Miki Caul; Sandholtz, Wayne. (2006-4) 'Women and Globalization: A Study of 180 Countries, 1975–2000', in International Organization. vol. 60 (02)
  • Biglaiser, Glen; DeRouen, Karl. (2007-12) 'Following the Flag: Troop Deployment and U.S. Foreign Direct Investment', in International Studies Quarterly. vol. 51 (4) , pp.835-854
  • Joseph Wright. (2008) 'Do Authoritarian Institutions Constrain? How Legislatures Affect Economic Growth and Investment', in American Journal of Political Science. vol. 52 (2) , pp.322-343
  • Nita Rudra. (2002) 'Globalization and the Decline of the Welfare State in Less-Developed Countries', in International Organization. vol. 56 (2) , pp.411-445
  • Adam, C.; Dercon, S. (2009-06-01) 'The political economy of development: an assessment', in Oxford Review of Economic Policy. vol. 25 (2) , pp.173-189
  • Alatas, Vivi; Banerjee, Abhijit; Hanna, Rema; Olken, Benjamin A.; Purnamasari, Ririn; Wai-Poi, Matthew. (2019-05) 'Does Elite Capture Matter? Local Elites and Targeted Welfare Programs in Indonesia', in AEA Papers and Proceedings. vol. 109, pp.334-339
  • Wade, Robert. (1985-4) 'The market for public office: Why the Indian state is not better at development', in World Development. vol. 13 (4) , pp.467-497
  • Besley, Timothy; Persson, Torsten. (2010) 'State Capacity, Conflict, and Development', in Econometrica. vol. 78 (1) , pp.1-34
  • Englebert, Pierre. (2000-03) 'Pre-Colonial Institutions, Post-Colonial States, and Economic Development in Tropical Africa', in Political Research Quarterly. vol. 53 (1) , pp.7-36
  • Przeworski et al., Adam. (2000) 'Political Regimes and Economic Growth', in Democracy and development: political institutions and well-being in the world, 1950-1990, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., pp.142-186
  • Randall W. Stone. (2004) 'The Political Economy of IMF Lending in Africa', in The American Political Science Review. vol. 98 (4) , pp.577-591
  • Sonal S. Pandya. (2010) 'Labor Markets and the Demand for Foreign Direct Investment', in International organization. vol. 64 (3) , pp.389-409
  • de Soysa, Indra; Neumayer, Eric. (2005) 'False Prophet, or Genuine Savior? Assessing the Effects of Economic Openness on Sustainable Development, 1980-99', in International Organization. vol. 59 (3) , pp.731-772
  • Sen, Amartya K. (c2001) 'What Is Development About?', in Frontiers of development economics: the future in perspective, Oxford: Oxford University Press., pp.506-513
  • Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra; Duflo, Esther. (2004) 'Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a India-Wide Randomized Policy Experiment', in NBER Working Paper Series. vol. 72 (5) , pp.1409-1444
  • Borensztein, E.; De Gregorio, J; Lee, J-W. (1998) 'How does foreign direct investment affect economic growth?', in Journal of International Economics: Elsevier. vol. 45 (1) , pp.115-135
  • Faisal Z. Ahmed. (2012) 'The Perils of Unearned Foreign Income: Aid, Remittances, and Government Survival', in The American Political Science Review: Cambridge University Press. vol. 106 (1) , pp.146-165
  • Daron Acemoglu; Simon Johnson; James A. Robinson. (2012) 'The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation: Reply', in The American Economic Review. vol. 102 (6) , pp.3077-3110
  • Jeffrey Herbst. (2011) 'War and the State in Africa', in War and the State in Africa: The MIT Press. vol. 14 (4) , pp.117-139
  • Vivek Chibber. (2003) 'Late Development and State-Building', in Locked in Place: State-Building and Late Industrialization in India, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press., pp.13-48
  • Claudio Ferraz; Frederico Finan. (2008) 'Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes', in The Quarterly Journal of Economics: MIT Press. vol. 123 (2) , pp.703-745
  • Acemoglu, Daron; Robinson, James A. (2012) Why nations fail: the origins of power, prosperity and poverty, London: Profile.
  • Bhagwati, Jagdish N. (2004) In defense of globalization, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Sen, Amartya. (1988-2010) 'The concept of development', in Handbook of development economics, Amsterdam: North-Holland. vol. 1, pp.9-26
  • Yadav, Vineeta. (c2011) Political parties, business groups, and corruption in developing countries, New York: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Bibliography  02/03/2021  30% 
Coursework   Research Proposal  20/04/2021  40% 
Practical   Presentation    30% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Florian Kern, email: fkern@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Florian Kern
Dr Florian Kern: fkern@essex.ac.uk Module Administrator: Edmund Walker, govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Mohammed Rodwan Abouharb
University College London
Available via Moodle
Of 573 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
573 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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