Political Economy of International Development

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 17 January 2022
Friday 25 March 2022
11 May 2021


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 L921 International Development (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.

Perspectives of political economy can help disentangle what drives development at the intersection of politics and economic outcomes. The class begins by exploring definitions and theories essential to the political economy of development. Then it considers various empirical issues and broad trends in development aid and thinking.

Module aims

The module aims to provide students with a general awareness of the broad trends in development, development thinking and the relevant actors in development, particular with a view to perspectives of political economy.

Module learning outcomes

Through the readings, lectures and assignments, students should achieve the following goals by the end of the semester:
- 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.
- Through the readings, lectures and assignments, students should achieve the following goals by the end of the semester:
- 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
- Have an improved capacity for reading graphs and understanding presentations of data
- 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

1 x 2 hour seminar each week


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   Annotated bibliography  03/03/2022  30% 
Coursework   Research Proposal  21/04/2022  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 433 hours, 20 (4.6%) hours available to students:
413 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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