Seminar: Long-Run Economic Growth

Course content

This seminar focuses on long-run economic growth theory and empirics. The course focus on core economic questions such as: What is the basic driver of economic growth in the long run? Does demography matter for growth? How do growth dynamics differ in the long and the short run? Furthermore, the course provide an introduction to the exciting new research area in the field of economic growth that is related to human biology and population genetics. A main purpose is therefore to understand long-run economic and cultural processes in light of fundamental biocultural forces. Key topics for this literature include the origins of human capital formation, the demographic transition, and the transition from millennials of stagnation to the era of sustained economic growth.


MSc programme of Economics
The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics

Learning outcome

Understand central theories, findings, and questions, including those at the research frontier. Examples of topics:

  • The role of human capital and demography for economic growth.
    • The role of genetics in comparative economic development.
    • The role of natural selection as a driver of human capital formation and economic growth.
    • The economics of cultural transmission
  • Pose a focused empirical or theoretical research question and write a   short research paper on the topic.
  • Discuss a fellow participants' paper as an opponent.

Introductory meeting at the beginning of the semester, writing of seminar paper during
the semester, and presentations at the end of the semester. After the presentations, students re-submit an edited and final version of their papers. The aim is that students use the presentation round as an opportunity to get and use constructive feedback to improve their work.

More information will be given by the teacher.

A short collection of papers that can be used as starting points are given here:

  • This field is the main research area of Professor Oded Galor who is giving the Zeuthen Lectures in 2016 at the University of Copenhagen. Relevant books and papers of his include:
    • Galor, Oded. Unified Growth Theory. Princeton University Press, 2011.
    • Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2014. "The Biocultural Origins of Human Capital Formation," Working Papers 2014-6, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    • Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," American Economic Review, vol. 103(1), pages 1-46, February.
    • Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
  • Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2013. "How Deep Are the Roots of Economic Development?,"Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 325-69, June.
  • Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization,"NBER Working Papers 16512.

All students with a B.Sc. in economics can apply. It is recommended, but not at
all necessary, to have focused on studying economic growth and/or empirical methods.

Week 36 (after 4 PM): Introductory meeting

Meetings may generally be scheduled after 4 p.m. to minimize interference with other course-related obligations

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
A written seminar paper in English.
All aids allowed

Al aids for the written seminarpaper.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
up to 20 % censorship at the seminarpaper
Criteria for exam assessment

The student must in a satisfactory way demonstrate that he/she has mastered the learning outcome of the course.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 6
  • Project work
  • 200
  • English
  • 206