Development Economics

Course content

This course examines the challenges posed by poverty affecting billions of people in low-income countries across the world, taking an economic approach to conceptualizing those challenges, their causes and solutions. The course will provide the students with theoretical frameworks enabling them to understand, measure, analyse and discuss themes within the development economics literature focusing on poverty and its alleviation. Key questions discussed during the course include: What is life like when living with under a dollar a day? Are famines unavoidable? Is child labour necessary? Is education and health key to lifting people out of poverty? Why are the poor forest-dependent and the forest-dependent poor? Does growth help the poorest of the poor? And does  aid matter for development?

The course includes the seven thematic topics:

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Economic growth and development
  • Health and Education
  • Agricultural transformation  
  • Poverty and the environment
  • Aid
  • Democracy, governance and conflicts

BSc Programme in Agricultural Economics

Learning outcome

Towards the end of the course, students should be able to:



  • Define  development economic concepts and models
  • Describe common economic characteristics and problems of life in low income countries



  • Apply development economic concepts to explain the causes and the interconnection of problems faced by households and institutions in low income countries
  • Analyse quantitative data using excel to answer development economic questions
  • Interpret the implication of development economic measures and models for development policy-related questions



  • Discuss and cooperate with fellow students to solve problems
  • Critically reflect on  and discuss causes and consequences of economic problems faced by households and institutions in developing countries

Blended learning combining e-learning, online quizzes, lectures and classroom exercises. E-learning is centred around online asynchronous discussions in small groups (7-9 people). Each week, students will be asked to: (1) read the mandatory literature; (2) answer a mandatory online quiz (multiple choice or similar) covering the topic of the week’s reading; (3) participate in online asynchronous discussions on a topic of relevance for the week’s theme (based on one or more scientific papers); (4) meet up in class to attend lectures, discuss the weeks theme and reading material, and conduct exercises to solve assignment problems (based on quantitative and qualitative data).

The course takes departure in various textbook material provided through Absalon. The curriculum will be described on Absalon prior to course start. Additional material including scientific articles, book chapters and reports will be supplied throughout the course.

No prior academic qualifications are needed, yet a bit of knowledge of basic economic theory is an advantage, as well as some experience using MS Excel for basic data analysis.

An interest in global affairs, life in low-income countries and the alleviation of poverty is a plus.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
The assessment has two components: (i) continuous assessment of participation in online discussions (20% of final mark); (ii) Written examination (80%), 4 hours under invigilation. A prerequisite for being allowed to enrol for the written exam is that five out of seven online quizzes are passed.
Only certain aids allowed

All aids allowed for online discussions and quizzes. No aids allowed for written examination.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

Assesment in accordance with the learning outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • E-Learning
  • 24
  • Practical exercises
  • 21
  • Preparation
  • 133
  • Exam
  • 4
  • English
  • 206