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International Development

This course is designed to introduce students to key issues and themes in international development.

Students will explore and engage with the academic debates and discussions around a set of key factors which shape, influence and constrain the development and prosperity of nations.

The course will explore a number of key themes in international development, including how questions of gender and generation shape the impact of poverty; how processes of globalization, migration and violent conflict impact on development; and how development and the environment are linked.

It also considers what exactly we mean by poverty, and how different ways of understanding poverty feed into different approaches to tackling it.

It will also consider development institutions: what are the key institutions in the architecture of international development? How do they differ, and what are the challenges and opportunities they present? Through this module, students will gain a solid background in the various factors which shape current approaches to and debates on international development.

By introducing students to a range of problems in economic development, we will look to analyse how economic theory and models can explain the lack of development in some nations. We will apply such theory to real-world economies to understand the nature of the problems they face and how effective policies can be in tackling the problems. As such the areas that are covered on this course will be highly topical and thus the syllabus may be adapted to account for this.

The Warwick Summer School allowed me to broaden my academic perspective. I recommend the program to anyone who wants to stimulate their academic curiosity while becoming immersed in London culture.

Michael Seitz (USA)

Key Facts

Level: Introductory to intermediate

Fees: Please see fees page

Teaching: 62 hours

Expected independent study: 68 hours

Optional assessment: Dependant on course

Typical credit: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)*
* Please check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, please see our Teaching and assessment page


The topics that will be analysed include, but will not be limited to:

  • Economic Development, Economic Growth and how they differ
  • Poverty traps
  • Access to health and education
  • Behavioural approaches to poverty
  • Gender and household decisions
  • Credit Markets
  • The importance of trust and reputation in trade and development
  • Corruption and Development
  • Globalisation
  • The deep roots of comparative development

Course Aims

Warwick Economics has leading academics in Economic Development and this course aims to address some of the most important questions facing economists, politicians and society. Why do some people live in luxury, while others can barely afford to eat and have no access to clean water? Economics helps to answer these questions and this course will aim to build on the knowledge and economic theories that students already have and apply it to the issues surrounding economic growth and development.

The course will enable students to develop their understanding of the problems faced by countries in the earliest stages of development and determine the way in which economics and policy can help such economies. The course will aim to draw on both microeconomic and macroeconomic theories and will encourage students to apply their knowledge of economics to real world issues, by analysing the literature and drawing on empirical studies. Through examining countries at different stages of development and understanding the obstacles they face, students will gain a broader understanding of the way in which economic policy can promote growth and development. They will also be encouraged to critically examine such interventions by domestic and international governments to determine the effectiveness of different policies.

By undertaking in-depth analysis into International Development, students will gain a greater awareness that the factors which prevent development are vast and vary extensively from one nation to another. Economic theory is therefore vital in analysing these obstacles and we will aim to demonstrate how it can be used to explain the acute problems of developing countries and in particular, to help formulate appropriate policies.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:

  • Understand the key microeconomic issues facing countries at the earliest stages of development, including poverty, malnutrition and poor access to health care and education etc.
  • Understand the key macroeconomic issues facing countries at the earliest stages of development, such as international trade, growth and inequalities.
  • Apply economic models to practical economic issues of development and explain the different obstacles that developing economies face.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of selected institutional aspects of global poverty, conflict, trade and development.
  • Assess the importance of economic theories and models in helping to formulate policy that is suitable for the specific problems a nation faces.
  • Demonstrate that they have learned to search for relevant literature to approach this information critically and to address key questions on development from a microeconomic and macroeconomic perspective.

Course Structure

For this course, there will be 4 hours of teaching on most weekdays, comprised of lectures and small group teaching. The structure will be:

  • 3 hours of lectures
  • A 1 hour seminar in small groups

Students will also be given time each day for independent study. Towards the end of the third week, students will also be provided with time for revision.

Course Assessment

The module will be assessed via a 2-hour examination. It should be noted that the exam is not compulsory. Everyone who completes the course – whether or not they sit the exam - will receive a certificate of attendance. However, by taking the exam you will also receive a grade/mark for the course which can be helpful to you.

Course Reading List

Below are some illustrative readings for this course.

  • Acemoglu, Daron and James A. Robinson (2013) Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty Profile Books
  • Banerjee, Abhijit and Esther Duflo (2011) Poor Economics: a Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight, PublicAffairs U.S.
  • Galor, Oded (2011) Unified Growth Theory, Princeton University Press.
  • Ray, Debraj (1998) Development Economics, Princeton University Press.

Materials will be updated here after each lecture.

Entry Requirements

There are no prerequisites for this course. This course is open to students studying any discipline at University level. We welcome individuals from all backgrounds, including students who are currently studying another subject but who want to broaden their knowledge in another discipline. Students should also meet our standard entry requirements and must be aged 18 or over by the time the Summer School commences and have a good understanding of the English language.

Please note changes to the syllabus and teaching team may be made over the coming months before exact set of topics are finalised.

Take a look at our other related courses:
Game Theory

Politics and Globalisation

Go to all courses