Global Business and Economics

Course content

The course is based on one over-arching conceptual theme – economic linkages. The general aim is to outline and explain how business activities in developing countries are established, consolidated and expanded (or curtailed and discontinued!) through commercial networks. No business activity – be it as simple it can be – is taking place in a vacuum: clearly businesses are connected to markets (of many different shades) but in addition they are vertically linked to input suppliers (of many different forms) and horizontally linked to competitors (of many different degrees). These commercial networks are not ‘purely economic’ but are embedded in social, political and cultural institutions, formal as well as informal. Furthermore, commercial networks unfold at different spatial scales. Loosely defined these may be conceptualized as the local, national, regional and international scale – the point being that global dynamics are increasingly incorporated in all commercial networks.

The ambition is to provide this broad understanding of the nature and scope of commercial networks while focusing on the economic aspects of linkages within commercial networks. The course is organizationally structured in three separate but inter-related spatial and functional categories that are appropriate for a focus on economic linkages: 

1) Enclaves: Localized ‘singular’ commercial activities, globally integrated but functionally isolated  

2) Clusters: Spatial agglomeration of commercial activities, i.e. vertically linked, horizontally linked or unrelated (but exploiting positive externalities like infrastructure, labor markets, etc.)

3) Chains: Cross-territorial linkages of commercial activities that are spatially segregated but functionally integrated

Within these categories the course will deal with different economic sectors (primarily agriculture and manufacturing) and different spatial spheres (primarily ‘the rural’ and ‘the urban’). The idea is that most lectures/seminars will emphasize one particular sector and one spatial sphere while paying due attention to ‘external linkages’. Hence, by using the mixture of sectors and spatial spheres in the context of economic linkages it is possible to;

1) disseminate knowledge of empirical manifestations (i.e. tangible learning about the ‘real world of global business’ in its many and varied forms), and

2) convey the important message that despite the separation of sectors and spheres (in the abstract) they are intrinsically linked through business networks (in the concrete).


Course Outline

  1. Enclaves/Sectors (4*2 hours lectures + 4*2 hours seminar sessions)

    • Agriculture in development - Are we caught in an efficient smallholder illusion?

    • Doing Business (in the industrial sector) - The problem of the missing middle and informality – Can we move SMEs up the productivity ladder?

    • Contract farming and smallholder inclusion.

    • Mining enclaves and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

  2. Clusters/Agglomeration (3*2 hours lectures + 3*2 hours seminar sessions)

    • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Certification and Standards – Is it all good?

    • The dimensions, determinants and impact of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – Identifying spillovers from MNEs/FDI to domestic firms.

    • Agglomeration economies – Global cities

  3. Chains/Trade (4*2 hours lectures + 4*2 hours seminar sessions)

    • Governance, institutions and upgrading in global value chains.

    • Dynamics of global agro-industrial value chains.

    • Understanding the gains and dimensions of international trade - What are the distributional consequences of globalization?

    • Learning by exporting and trade externalities - How important are these in understanding international trade patterns?


MSc programme in Global Development

Learning outcome

After completing the course, the student should be able to:


  • Describe and explain main methodologies, concepts and issues relevant within the themes (i) Enclaves/Sectors, (ii) Clusters/Agglomeration and (iii) Chains/Trade.

  • Show overview of scientific facts and disagreements related to economic linkages.

  • Understand the economic, social and political dimensions of global business.


  • Select relevant theories and methods for analyzing economic linkages.

  • Be able to evaluate empirical results related to the three themes Enclaves, Clusters and Chains, as well as demonstrate a thorough understanding of the problems faced when carrying out empirical work related to the issues.

  • Communicate and discuss theories and empirical results related to three themes.



  • Process relevant information for analysis of economic linkages.

  • Carry out economy/geography exercises (i.e. benchmarking etc.) related to economic linkages.

The course will be based on a combination of lectures (2 hours per week) and interactive seminars (2 hours per week) where students contribute actively through lab work, group discussions and presentations. The course will draw on relevant academic literature, including theoretical perspectives, empirical analyses and case studies and the students will work independently and in groups with both quantitative and qualitative data information.

During the exercises we will introduce the software programs Stata and QGIS. It is therefore recommended that you familiarize yourself with the programs before the start of the semester. A good tutorial for Stata can be found here: http:/​/​​stat/​stata/​modules/​ and for QGIS please consult http:/​/​​en/​

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 hours under invigilation
Three hours’ written exam.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See 'Learning Outcomes'

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 26
  • Seminar
  • 26
  • Course Preparation
  • 155
  • Exam
  • 3
  • English
  • 210