ECONOMICS 280:   Development Economics


Two out of five people worldwide lack access to a toilet. One out of six does not have access to safe drinking water.  Inadequate access to water and sanitation contributes to two million child deaths a year.


Fall 2014: TTh 10:10-11:35 and 11:50-1:15

Instructor: Jim Casey

Contact Info: Holekamp 204, Ext. 8102, Email: Caseyj

Office Hours: :  MW 9:15 – 11:15

Prerequisite: Economics 101


Course Overview:

     Economic Development has been defined by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen as "the process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy" (see Development as Freedom, p. 3). Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq has written that "the objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives" (see Human Development Reports).  

Development Economics is the branch of economics that studies developing countries. While there is no generally accepted definition of "developing countries," the expression refers to relatively poor countries-or countries where standards of living are relatively low on average.  This class serves as a broad-ranging introduction to the field of Development Economics.  Development Economics is a very broad field, covering everything from Agriculture to Trade with poverty, inequality, gender, finance, environment, labor, education, health, and nutrition in between.  Knowledge of Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 101) is required. Knowledge of basic regression analysis and calculus will be helpful.

       The structure for this class will remain the same as the topics change.  A typical week will involve reading 1 or 2 chapters from the text in preparation for Tuesday’s class.  Class time on Tuesday will be reserved for discussion and answering any questions you may have pertaining to the day’s assigned reading.  If there are no questions, then I will assume you understand everything from the chapter and move on to some new material.  We will often start Thursday's class with a short quiz.  The quiz will cover material from Tuesday’s assigned reading(s).  We will finish each Thursday with a discussion of the assigned reading for that day, which will usually be a journal article related to the chapter material. In order to prepare for Thursday's discussion you should comment on the class blog before Wednesday at 8pm.


  The Class Blog -


 Classroom and Course conduct: As a courtesy to your classmates, please turn off all cellphones at the start of class.  Also, use the restroom before class and do not get up during class to leave the room. If you are having an emergency then please raise your hand and I will certainly dismiss you from class.  Lastly, be on time – please do not enter the classroom late.

It is important to note that lectures and class discussion will complement rather than substitute for the reading, sometimes providing alternative approaches. Therefore, both reading and attendance are strongly advised, and arrangements should be made to find out what was covered in class when attendance becomes impossible.

I will make every attempt to respond to class-related emails within 24 hours. This policy does not apply to weekend days, so do not expect responses to emails during the weekend. I will also not respond to emails asking questions that are clearly answered on the syllabus or via prior emails: e.g. “when is the problem set due?”


Questions about grading of any assignment or exam must be addressed within two weeks of its return. Questions must be presented in writing, and the entire assignment or exam will be regarded, which means you might end up with a lower score than you started.  I make plenty of mistakes so don’t be afraid to ask.


Washington and Lee University makes reasonable academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.  All undergraduate accommodations must be approved through the Office of the Dean of the College.  Students requesting accommodations for this course should present an official accommodation letter within the first two weeks of the term and schedule a meeting outside of class time to discuss accommodations.  It is the student’s responsibility to present this paperwork in a timely fashion and to follow up about accommodation arrangements.  Accommodations for test-taking should be arranged at least a week before the date of the test or exam



(1Todaro and Smith (T&S) Economic Development. 

(2) Selected Online Reading Assignments



Requirements and Grading

10% of your grade will be based on class participation

60% of your grade will be based on two exams.

10% on blogging

20% of your grade will be based on 5 quizzes.



(1)   You will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss the day’s topics and to ask questions if you have them.  

(2)   We will have two exams.  These will be scheduled around the 5th or 6th week of the term and during final exam week.

(3)    As stated above, in order to prepare for Thursday's discussion you should comment on the class blog before class.  Your comment should NOT be a summary.  It should be a question about or critical insight from the paper and/or a previous blog comment.

(4)   We will have a quiz on random Thursdays at the beginning of class.  The quiz will consist of one or two questions from material that was covered in class Tuesday.  If you miss class on Thursday, you will NOT be allowed to make up the quiz. .  I will drop your lowest score. 






























This is directly from the course catalogue - A+, A, A- Superior, B+, B, B- Good, C +, C, C- Fair, D +, D, D- (Marginal), F (Failure)



Daily  (flexible) Schedule for Economics 280




1 What do we mean by Development? Comparative Economic Development.


            Tuesday, September 16 -    T&S 1 and 2

            Thursday, 18 – readings\economiclivesofpoor.pdf

 2 - Poverty, Inequality, and Development


                        Tuesday 23  - T&S 5

                        Thursday 25readings\271.pdf   and -


3 -       Growth Theory

                        Tuesday  30  -    T&S 3 and 3.1

                                                                                                                                                            (notes)The Evolution of Growth and Development Theory.ppt

                        Thursday October 2     -


4  -      Development Theory


                        Tuesday October 7 T&S 4

                        Thursday October 9   The Fall and Rise of Development Economics

5  -                  Tuesday 14 – Exam 1 

                        Thursday 16 – reading day              

6  -      Population, Urbanization, and Labor

                        Tuesday 21       T&S 7

                        Thursday 23 Child Labor


7 -       Human Capital

                        Tuesday  28  T&S 6 and 8 -                                                                                                                                                       (notes) Chapters 6 and 8.ppt

                        Thursday 30  - readings\SchultzNobelLecture.pdf

                                                            readings\sachs.pdf -

                                                                                                                                                                                    (notes) The Economic and Social Burden of Malaria.ppt

8 -       Agriculture

                        Tuesday November 4     T&S 9

                        Thursday November 6    -  Keynes and Agroforestry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (notes) keynes.ppt

9  -      Environment and Development

                        Tuesday November 11 T&S 10

                        Thursday 13 fueltaxcostarica.pdf

  10 - Finance (Micro and Macro)

                        Tuesday 18  -  latestmicrofinance

                        Thursday 20    T&S 16  and  Interest Rates in the North and Capital Flows to the   South: Is There a Missing Link?

11 -    Trade and Aid

                        Tuesday December 2      -          T&S 12 and 15

                        Thursday December 4 -             TBA

                                                                                                                                                                        (Notes) Chapter 15fdiaid.ppt and Development and Trade.ppt

 12 -    Development in a Warming World

                        Tuesday  9 TBA 

                        Thursday 11 -  TBA