Fall 2023 - IS 410 D100

Politics, Institutions and Development (4)

Class Number: 4635

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    90 units.



The quality of institutions' exercises a crucial influence on the prospects for development. Aims are to interrogate this claim through analysis of different paths of economic growth and change across the developing world. Examination of the ways in which politics influences economic growth and distribution; the relationships between political systems and patterns of development; and the politics of institutions and state formation.


The central focus of this required graduate seminar and advanced undergraduate course will be social-science debates about politics, institutions, and development. An important question guiding this seminar will be: what are the conditions under which subordinate groups, communities and classes can push socioeconomic and political development toward a societal democracy in the age of neoliberal globalization to reduce or eliminate inequalities?


The course will provide students the opportunity to read extensively about development and inequality. Students will finish the course with an intermediate-to-advanced level of knowledge of the main theoretical and critical perspectives from several disciplines in the social sciences about issues confronting developing countries. They will acquire a broad range of conceptual and analytical tools for examining the politics, institutions and development across a diverse range of countries, primarily but not only of the Global South.


  • Discussion Papers (5x5%) 25%
  • Response Papers (5X2%) 10%
  • Mid-term Essay 25%
  • Final Essay 25%
  • Participation 15%



All articles will be available on Canvas:
Classical work on development (articles)
Financialization, land grabbing and neoliberal globalism (articles)
Thomas Piketty. 2022. A Brief History of Equality. Translated by Steven Randall. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN: 9780674273559
Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, et al. 2022. World Inequality Report 2022. World Inequality Lab. wir2022.wid.world.
Katharina Pistor. 2019. The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Erik Olin Wright. 2019. How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century. London and New York: Verso. ISBN: 9781788736053


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.