Spring 2023 - ECON 857 G100

Studies in Economic Development (4)

Class Number: 5570

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    WMC 3611, Burnaby

    Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    WMC 3611, Burnaby



Examination of the characteristics of a given underdeveloped economy; allocation of resources and factor strategies; historical or contemporary comparisons of public policy and development.


This course discusses the main topics in the field of Development Economics. The aim is to give students: (1) an overall picture of the main issues in the field and the empirical methods currently used,  (2) the ability to critically assess the empirical evidence, and (3) the tools to help them start their own research agenda.


The main question we will examine is: what determines the prosperity of societies? In the framework of this question, we will discuss several topics such as: the role of institutions, contracts, human capital, infrastructure, natural resources, conflict and politics, among others. For each topic, we will discuss the main theoretical arguments and the available empirical evidence. We will also discuss the main empirical challenges to address these questions and discuss possible solutions.


  • Term paper 50%
  • Written assignments 30%
  • Class participation 20%



There is no textbook for this course. Instead, we will use several papers available online. The reading list will be available at the beginning of the course. As a guide for the empirical methods, I recommend: Angrist, Joshua D. and Jörn-Steffen Pischke, Mostly harmless econometrics: an empiricist's companion, 2009. There are copies available in the library.


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.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

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