ECON2111 Introduction to Economic Development - 2019

Term 3
6 Units of Credit
On Campus
The course outline is not available for current semester. To view outlines from other year and/or semesters visit the archives

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

​One out of five people on Earth lives on less than $1 USD per day, while half the world lives on less than $2 USD per day. This course explores the causes and correlates of global poverty, and investigates the policies used to address it. The approach of the course is microeconomic, meaning that we focus on individual and household behaviours, as well as market failures which lead to sub-optimal choices by these individuals. We will learn about measurement of poverty and inequality, the role of health and education in poverty, problems in credit, savings, and insurance markets, the causes and effects of migration, environmental degradation, and child labor. By the end of this course, students will be able to design innovative ways to assess whether a proposed development intervention is likely to successfully improve the welfare of its target population.

This course will not cover macroeconomic topics, such as institutions, geography, growth, trade, or liberalization in any depth. This is not because these are not important topics, but rather because there are other courses in the School which are entirely dedicated to them. For students interested in those topics the following courses are recommended: ECON3110 (Development Economics), ECON3109 (Economic Growth, Technology, and Structural Change), ECON3116 (International Trade), and ECON3104 (International Macroeconomics).

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

ECON2111 will use content from ECON1101 and ECON1102. Students should be warned that good command of the material taught in the prerequisite courses is essential for successfully mastering the material in this course.

Economic models and econometric tools are frequently used to provide a coherent explanation for some issues, but you do not need to have taken an econometrics course to be successful in this course. I will give a brief overview of the essential statistical methods needed to interpret the literature discussed in this course during the second week of lecture.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Lecturer-in-charge    Dr Sarah WalkerRoom 4599385 3319Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00, and by appointment

​The course tutor will be posted on the Course Website

You should feel free to contact your lecturer(s) about any academic matter. However, I strongly encourage that, for efficiency, all enquiries about the subject material be made at lectures or tutorials, or during consultation time. Discussion of course subject material will not be entered into via lengthy emails.

Email correspondence on administrative matters (e.g. inability to attend tutorial) will be responded to within 48 hours, but not over weekends. Please note that the lecturer has no advance notice of the date and time of the final exam [the subject of many emails].

Your email should have “ECON2111” in the subject line.

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

An understanding of any economic phenomenon has two components. Theory investigates causal factors that produce and sustain the phenomenon (in this case, economic (under)development) and examines the processes through which causality works. The facts that theory attempts to explain are supported by empirical observations. Empirical data is also used to test the validity of the theory in the context of specific cases. In this course, we will continually emphasise the relationship between theory and empirics. Students will be particularly encouraged to question the validity of theories, as well as the relevance of specific facts.

Please note that this course will “flip” much of the content. In practical terms, this means that I will work under the assumption that you have done the readings at home, as well as completed a set of study questions related to the reading assigned for a particular day. In class we will discuss the readings and occasionally work through applications in groups. Initially, this may be an uncomfortable arrangement, but the intention is to maximize your mastery of the topics covered in this class.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

This course has two principal components: lecture and tutorial. The lectures will cover the theory of economic development and underdevelopment, and form the core material of the course. In tutorials, students will discuss and present assigned material related to the theory. This material will often complement and reinforce the lectures by incorporating data and case studies, but occasionally it will also represent alternative views and criticism. Tutorials will serve to deepen the students’ understanding of the core material.

The purpose of lecture is:
  1. to provide a logical structure for the topics that make up the course;
  2. to emphasize the important concepts, models and methods of each topic, and
  3. to provide relevant examples to which the concepts and methods are applied.

Lecture slides can be downloaded from Moodle prior to each lecture. A small set of study questions will also be provided each week via Moodle in order to assist with the weekly readings.

Tutorial meetings provide an opportunity for each student to develop their understanding of theoretical concepts, as well as communication skills and critical spirit, through oral presentations. Tutorials are NOT designed to provide students with rote solutions to assigned problems. Attendance rolls will be taken.

Alert: Content is Open to Argument

It is extremely important to note that, in large part, this course does not deal with accepted answers to conventional questions. Many of the questions we will address and discuss are current puzzles about which there are conjectures and insights, but no known “right answers” that can be memorised. Indeed, different pieces of reading material assigned on the same topic may sometimes contradict each other. Assignments and exams will reflect this nature of the material; marks will be awarded for evidence of reflection and reasoning, not for reproducing textbooks or lecture notes.

5. Course Resources

The website for this course is on Moodle.

  1. Banerjee, Abhijit and Esther Duflo, (2011). Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, New York: Public Affairs. (B&D in the course schedule)

  2. de Janvry, A. and E. Sadoulet. (2015). Development Economics: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge. (dJ&S in the course schedule)
You may either purchase copies of these texts or access them free of charge through the UNSW library. The online copies will allow you to download and print PDF versions of each chapter.

Other readings: An assortment of readings is prescribed, as detailed below, organised roughly by topic. Not all will be required. The course schedule details when required readings are to be completed. (R) Denotes readings required for lecture, in addition to the main textbook readings. Supplemental readings will be discussed in tutorial.

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Feedback is regularly sought from students and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. At the end of this course, you will be asked to complete the myExperience survey, which provides a key source of student evaluative feedback. Your input into this quality enhancement process is extremely valuable in assisting us to meet the needs of our students and provide an effective and enriching learning experience. The results of all surveys are carefully considered and do lead to action towards enhancing educational quality.

​The School of Economics strives to be responsive to student feedback. If you would like more information on how the design of this course and changes made to it over time have taken students’ needs and preferences into account, please contact the Director of Education at the School of Economics.

​Student feedback is critical to the development of this course. Every year, feedback from students is used to improve upon course design. Please participate in the myExperience survey to assist with the future development and improvement of this course.

7. Course Schedule

Note: for more information on the UNSW academic calendar and key dates including study period, exam, supplementary exam and result release, please visit:
Week Activity Topic Assessment/Other
Week 1: 16th SeptemberLecture A

What is Development? I


  • (R) B&D Ch.1


Lecture B

What is Development? II


  • (R) Sen, A. (1988). “The Concept of Development.” Chapter 1, (pp. 10-26). Handbook of Development Economics, eds. H. Chenery and T.N. Srinivasan. Elsevier Science Publishers.
  • Banerjee, A and E. Duflo. (2007) “The Economic Lives of the Poor.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(1).
Week 2: 23rd SeptemberLecture A

Measuring Poverty


  • (R) dJ&S Ch.5
  • (R) Haughton and Khander. (2009). “Measuring Poverty.” Handbook on Poverty and Inequality, Chapter 4, The World Bank Institute.


Lecture B

Measuring Inequality


  • (R) Haughton and Khander. (2009). “Measuring Inequality.” Handbook on Poverty and Inequality, Chapter 6, The World Bank Institute.



Presentation Scheduling

Week 3: 30th SeptemberLecture A

Empirical Tools: Regression Analysis


  • (R) Sykes, A. (1992). “An Introduction to Regression Analysis.” The Inaugural Coase Lecture.
Lecture B

Empirical Tools: Randomized Control Trials (RCTs)


  • (R) Banerjee, A. V., & Duflo, E. (2009). “The Experimental Approach to Development Economics.” Annual Review of Economics.
  • Duflo, E., R. Glennerster, and M. Kremer. (2007). “A Randomization Toolkit.” CEPR working paper 6059.


  • Problem Set 1 due in Lecture.

Poverty Presentations

Allen (2017). "Absolute Poverty: When Necessity Displaces Desire." American Economic Review, 107(12).

Week 4: 7th OctoberLecture A



  • (R) B&D Ch.2&3
  • (R) Dupas, P. (2014). “Short-Run Subsidies and Long-run Adoption of New Health Products: Evidence from a Field Experiment.” Econometrica, 81(1).
Lecture B



  • (R) B&D Ch.4
  • (R) Kremer, M. (2003). “Randomized Evaluations of Educational Programs in Developing Countries: Some Lessons.” American Economic Review, 93(2).
  • Duflo, E. (2001). “Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment.” American Economic Review, 91(4).

Empirical Tools Presentation

Gertler, P., P. Premand, S. Martinez, C. M. J. Vermeersch, and L. Rawlings. (2010). Impact Evaluation in Practice. World Bank. Chapter 1.

Week 5: 14th OctoberLecture A



Lecture B


Week 6: 21st OctoberLecture A

Population and Development


  • (R) B&D Ch.5
  • (R) dJ&S Ch.11
Lecture B



  • (R) B&D Ch.6
  • (R) Ray, D. (1998). “Insurance” (Chapter 15). Development Economics. Princeton University Press.

Health Presentations

Miguel, E., and M. Kremer. (2004). “Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities.” Econometrica, 72(1).

Week 7: 28th OctoberLecture A



  • (R) B&D Ch.7
Lecture B



  • (R) B&D Ch.8
  • (R) McClure, S., D. Laibson, G. Loewenstein, and J.D. Cohen. (2004). “Separate Neural Systems Value Immediate and Delayed Monetary Rewards.” Science 306(5695).

Insurance Presentations

Karlan, D., R. Osei, I. Osei-Akoto, and C. Udry. (2015). “Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 192(2).

Week 8: 4th NovemberLecture A



(R) dJ&S Ch.12

(R) “Migration and Development” The Economist, 2004

Lecture B

Environment and Development I



  • (R) dJ&S Ch.15
  • (R) Solow, R. (1991). “Sustainability: An Economist’s Perspective” 18th J. Seward Johnson Lecture to the Marine Policy Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at Woods Hole, MA.
  • Ostrom, Eleanor (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge University Press. Chapters 1 & 2.


  • Problem Set 2 due in Lecture.

Credit Presentations

Banerjee, A., E. Duflo, R. Glennerster, and C. Kinnan. (2015). “The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 7(1).

Week 9: 11th NovemberLecture A

Environment and Development II


  • (R) Jack, B. K., Kousky, C. , and Sims, K.R.E. (2008) “Designing payments for ecosystem services: Lessons from previous experience with incentive-based mechanisms.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • (R) Costello et al. (2008) “Can Catch Shares Prevent Fisheries Collapse?” Science (321).
Lecture B

Public Goods


  • (R) Miguel & Gugerty (2004). "Ethnic Diversity, Social Sanctions, and Public Goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, 89.

Migration Presentations

Munshi, K. and M. Rosenzweig. (2016). “Networks and Misallocation: Insurance, Migration, and the Rural-Urban Wage Gap.” American Economic Review, 106(1).

Week 10: 18th NovemberLectures A&B



  • Problem Set 3 due in hard copy by 12pm on Wednesday, November 20th.

Environment & Development Presentations

Andreoni, J. and A. Levinson. (2001). “The Simple Analytics of the Environmental Kuznets Curve.” Journal of Public Economics. 80.

8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

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