This course will survey a variety of topics in development economics, returning to examples from Latin America. We will engage deeply with the academic literature.
Why are some countries poor and others not? Why are some people poor and others not? What improves the wellbeing of individuals and families who are poor, and how do we know? In this course, we will study these questions, which define the subfield of development economics. We will draw on examples from Latin America throughout, but we will examine many other contexts as well.
We begin with the ways poverty and inequality are measured, which allows us to review the long arc of economic growth. We will attempt to account for modern inequality in wealth and income as best we can. We then proceed to the modern puzzles of development. Then, cutting across economic activities from entrepreneurship to agriculture to health, we will investigate three major themes: i) path dependence and institutions, ii) misallocation, investment, and liquidity constraints, and iii) technology adoption and behavior change.
Prerequisites: Basic and intermediate-level microeconomics (ECON 115 or equivalent; ECON 121), along with econometrics (ECON 131).