ECON 240
Colonialism and Underdevelopment in South Asia Spring 2023
Division II Quantitative/Formal Reasoning Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ASIA 241
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British colonial rule in South Asia shaped economy and society in fundamental ways. As resistance to colonial rule emerged in the late nineteenth century, “nationalist” writers developed a critique of its economic impact via taxation, fiscal policy, trade, and many other policies. In their turn, supporters of British rule, “apologists,” argued that British rule had laid the foundations of economic growth by securing property rights, enforcing contracts, and developing infrastructure. The debate between “nationalists” and “apologists” has never quite ended, but after the recent growth of the Indian economy it has lost some of its emotional charge. We will use this opportunity to revisit the controversy.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3675
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: essays (one every other week) and responses to partner's essays will be evaluated
Prerequisites: one course in ECON
Enrollment Preferences: Economics major, prior course on South Asia
Distributions: Division II Quantitative/Formal Reasoning Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ASIA 241 Division II ECON 240 Division II
DPE Notes: Issues of difference, power, and equity are at the heart of any analysis of colonialism, hence the DPE designation.
QFR Notes: Students will write six essays, in which they will employ economic models and engage with quantitative evidence, so the course satisfies the QFR requirement.
Attributes: GBST South + Southeast Asia Studies
POEC Comparative POEC/Public Policy Courses

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