Development Economics

Course content

This course examines challenges posed by poverty affecting a billion people in low-income countries across the world as targeted by the Sustainable Development Goals and 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, its consequences and its alleviation. Key questions discussed during the course include: What is the state of progress towards relevant SDG’s? 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 (subject to change):

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Economic growth and development
  • Health and Education
  • Agricultural transformation  
  • Poverty and the environment
  • Aid
  • Poverty conflicts and corruption

BSc Programme in Environmental and Food Economics
BSc Programme in Natural Resources

Learning outcome

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


  • Define  development economic concepts and measures
  • 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 and interpret quantitative data 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
  • Reflect on and discuss the causes and consequences of economic problems faced by households and institutions in developing countries

Blended learning combining lectures, group discussions and assignments, and classroom discussions of the empirical literature. Each week, students will be asked to: (1) read the mandatory literature; (2) meet up in class to attend lectures, exercises, discuss the week's theme and reading material. In addition, the course involves two written group assignments upon which the group/student will receive feedback and the approval of which are required for signing up for the course exam.

The course curriculum is based on the book “Development Economics” by G. Roland, published by Pearson in collaboration with Routledge in 2016 (available from Academic Books at Frederiksberg campus). Additional material including scientific articles, book chapters and reports, will be supplied throughout the course. The curriculum will be described on Absalon prior to course start.

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.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Plenum discussion of group presentations on analysis of scientific literature. Feedback on group assignments, either written or orally as relevant. Students may also be asked to provide peer feedback on assignments based on agreed criteria. 

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Type of assessment details
The course has been selected for ITX exam
See important information about ITX-exams at Study Information, menu point: Exams -> Exam types and rules -> Written on-site exams (ITX)
Exam registration requirements

Two written group assignments submitted and approved. 

All aids allowed

As the exam is an ITX-exam, the University will make computers available to students at the exam. Students are therefore not permitted to bring their own computers, tablets, calculators, or mobile phones.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiners

The same as the ordinary exam.

If 10 or fewer register for the reexam, the reexam is oral of 20 minutes duration with no time for preparation and no aid allowed. 

If the student has not handed in and gotten two group assignments approved, the student must hand in the assignments individually three weeks before the reexam, and they must be approved before the reexam.



Criteria for exam assessment

Assesment in accordance with the learning outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Preparation
  • 133
  • Practical exercises
  • 21
  • Project work
  • 24
  • Exam
  • 4
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level

1 block

Block 4
no limit
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Mohammed Hussen Alemu   (3-736e67466f6c787534717b346a71)

Various guest lectures and assisting teachers

Saved on the 15-11-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students