ECON 501
Economic Growth and Development Fall 2023
Division II
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Class Details

This course focuses on the analysis of modern economic growth and comparative development across nations. Motivated by several stylized facts from cross-country data, we will pose a series of questions: Why are some countries so rich while others remain so poor? What explains heterogeneity in the experience of economic growth across nations, with some growing at a moderate pace over long periods of time, others experiencing rapid growth over shorter intervals, and yet others stagnating persistently? Do all economies face comparable challenges to achieving sustained economic growth? Will poorer countries ever catch up to richer ones? To answer these and other related 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)? What about technological differences across nations? How much significance should we ascribe to cross-country differences in geographical characteristics? How much should we ascribe to differences in the quality of institutions? For each question, we will explore both theoretical and empirical approaches, ranging from formal models to qualitative historical evidence to cross-country growth regressions. We will debate the usefulness of these different approaches for development policy and will discuss the reasons why so many questions about economic growth remain difficult to answer.
The Class: Format: seminar; discussion
Limit: 32
Expected: 30-32
Class#: 1842
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: problem sets, one midterm exam, and a final exam
Prerequisites: for undergraduates ECON 251, ECON 252, and either ECON 255 or STAT 346
Enrollment Preferences: junior and senior economics majors only; this is a core course in the master's program at the CDE, so undergraduate enrollment is very limited and requires instructor's permission
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: GBST Economic Development Studies

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