ENVI 234
Economics of Developing Countries Spring 2021
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ECON 204
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The leaders of developing countries almost universally proclaim “economic development” to be their eventual destination, but it is not easy to visualize the journey. Is rapid economic growth sufficient to generate development, or do governments need to invest proactively in health, education and social protection? Can agriculture support incomes and provide jobs, or is urban industrial development a prerequisite? How do households in developing countries insure themselves against adverse outcomes? Can policies enable entrepreneurship and innovation in such economies? Is it true that corruption is a significant obstacle? Has the climate crisis upended our traditional models to the point where we need to rethink the notion of development? How does the global COVID-19 pandemic threaten the progress developing countries have achieved, and what policy responses will be most effective in addressing the crisis? The class will introduce these and other issues, as analyzed by economists.
The Class: Format: lecture; discussion
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 5041
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: short essays/assignments; two individual take-home exams; final group project
Prerequisites: one ECON class at Williams or prior course deemed equivalent by the Economics Department
Enrollment Preferences: first-year and sophomore students
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ECON 204 Division II ENVI 234 Division II
DPE Notes: This course provides a setting for students to learn about the causes and consequences of poverty in developing countries. It requires students to engage with questions of political and economic power, stressing attentiveness to how market relationships may not generate welfare-maximizing opportunities for poor and marginalized populations. Through exercises and a group project, the course builds analytical and empirical skills for diagnosing and addressing constraints on economic development.
Attributes: ENVI Environmental Policy
GBST African Studies Electives
GBST Economic Development Studies Electives
POEC Comparative POEC/Public Policy Courses

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