Seminar: Topics in Development Economics

Course content

The seminar allows students to obtain deeper knowledge and conduct an empirical investigation about a topic of their choice in the area of development economics. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Agricultural production
  • Entrepreneurship and firms in developing countries
  • Technology adoption
  • Education
  • Health
  • Global value chains
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Access to finance
  • Institutions and corruption
  • Natural resources
  • Migration
  • Gender inequality
  • Violence against women
  • Public policies
  • Conflict


Within the topic of their choice, students are expected to develop a specific research question, conduct an empirical analysis using suitable data, and discuss their findings in the context of existing literature. It is also possible to replicate in another context and to extend the empirical analysis of an existing published article.


Examples of datasets that can be used for the empirical analysis will be discussed during the introductory meeting.


MSc programme in Economics

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



Learning outcome

In additional to the learning outcome specified in the  Master curriculum, the student is after completing the seminar able to:



  • Account for the relevant literature within the chosen topic of the seminar paper
  • Critically examine the empirical methods in the relevant literature and the seminar paper 



  • Identify literature relevant for the chosen topic of the seminar paper
  • Find and analyze the relevant data for the purpose of answering the chosen research question
  • Present findings in written and oral form
  • Evaluate and discuss the work of other students



  • Conduct an empirical analysis to answer a research question in the field of development economics
  • Identify and critically analyze the key elements of scientific articles, including, but not limited to, the key research question, empirical strategy and contributions to the related literature
  • Interpret and discuss limitations of the empirical analysis and data


Supplemented by an overall intended learning outcome outlined in the programme-specific curriculum

At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

The aim of the presentations is, that the student uses the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback. The presentations is not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

There is no weekly teaching/lecturing and the student cannot expect guidance from the teacher. If the teacher gives a few introduction lectures or gives the opportunity for guidance, this as well as other expectations are clarified at the kickoff meeting.

It is strongly recommended that you think about and search for a topic before the semester begins, as there is only a few weeks from the kick-off meeting to the submission of the project description/ agreement paper.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the full project AFTER the presentation has taken place.

Some examples of literature:

Ashraf, Nava, Natalie Bau, Nathan Nunn, and Alessandra Voena. 2019. Bride Price and Female Education. Journal of Political Economy 128 (2): 591–641.

Atkin, David. 2016. The Caloric Costs of Culture: Evidence from Indian Migrants. American Economic Review 106 (4): 1144–81.

Bai, Jie, Seema Jayachandran, Edmund J. Malesky, and Benjamin A. Olken. 2019. Firm Growth and Corruption: Empirical Evidence from Vietnam. The Economic Journal 129 (618): 651–677.

Bandiera, Oriana, Robin Burgess, Narayan Das, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul, and Munshi Sulaiman. 2017. Labor Markets and Poverty in Village Economies. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 132 (2): 811–870.

Bellemare, Marc F., Johanna Fajardo-Gonzalez, and Seth R. Gitter. 2018. Foods and Fads: The Welfare Impacts of Rising Quinoa Prices in Peru. World Development 112 (December): 163–179.

Heath, Rachel, and A. Mushfiq Mobarak. 2015. Manufacturing Growth and the Lives of Bangladeshi Women. Journal of Development Economics 115 (July): 1–15.

Kabeer, Naila, and Hugh Waddington. 2015. Economic Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfer Programmes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Development Effectiveness 7 (3): 290–303.

La Ferrara, Eliana, Alberto Chong, and Suzanne Duryea. 2012. Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 4 (4): 1–31.

McCaig, Brian, and Nina Pavcnik. 2018. Export Markets and Labor Allocation in a Low-Income Country. American Economic Review 108 (7): 1899–1941.

Note: More specific papers will be suggested once the students have decided the topic of their seminar paper.


For the empirical analysis:

Cameron, A. Colin, and Pravin K. Trivedi. 2010. Microeconometrics Using Stata: Revised Edition. 2nd Edition. College Station, Tex: Stata Press.

Deaton, Angus S. 2019. The Analysis of Household Surveys: A Microeconometric Approach to Development Policy. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Wooldridge, Jeffrey M. 2010. Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data. second edition. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.

Before taking the seminar, students would benefit from taking Development Economics and Econometrics I and II or Applied Econometric Policy Evaluation.

Students will also benefit from previous or concurrent participation in courses on Advanced Development Economics – Micro Aspects and Advanced Development Economics – Macro Aspects.

BSc in Economics or similar

- Kick-off meeting:
Tuesday, 4 February 2025, 12:15-15:00
- Extra meetings / introductory teaching / guidance:
Individual advisory meetings upon request 12 February – 10 May 2025
- Deadline for submission of commitment paper / project description: No later than 1 March.
- Deadline for uploading a seminar assignment paper in Absalon: No later than one week before the presentations.

- Presentations: In the time period 14 – 16 May 2025

- Exam date: 3 June 2025 at 10.00 AM - latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.

All information regarding the seminar is communicated through Absalon including venue. It is very important that you by yourself log on to Absalon and read the information already when you are registered at the seminar.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Brief written feedback given on commitment papers by supervisor.

Peer written feedback given to early paper drafts half-way through the course.

Collective feedback is given as projects are being presented.

Each student receives oral feedback on the presentation from peers and supervisor.

The supervisor gives the students individual guidance during the seminar.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam
Type of assessment details
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum of the Master programme and at KUNet for seminars.

Exam registration requirements

Attendance in all  activities at the seminar as stated in the formal requrements in the Master curriculum and at the KUnet for  Seminars (UK)  and Seminars (DK) is required to participate in the exam.



All aids allowed

for the project paper.

The teacher defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.

Use of AI tools is permitted. You must explain how you have used the tools. When text is solely or mainly generated by an AI tool, the tool used must be quoted as a source.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Exam information:

The seminar paper must be uploaded to the Digital Exam portal. More information will be available from the middle of the semester.

For enrolled students more information about examination, rules, aids etc. is available at the intranet for Master (UK) and Master (DK ).

Examination Dates can be found here (latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.)




Reexam information:

The reexam form in seminars is a seminar paper with a synopsis.

Deadline and more information is available at Seminars(UK) and Seminars(DK).

More information about reexam etc is available at Master(UK) and Master(DK).

Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum of the Master programme.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Project work
  • 186
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

and venue:
Go to "Remarks"

Exam and re-sits: Go to "Exam"
Two classes of up to 20 students
Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Neda Trifkovic   (14-79706f6c397f7d7471767a81746e4b706e7a79397680396f76)

Neda Trifkovic (

Saved on the 22-05-2024

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