ITRN 718 Development

ITRN 718

Global Economic and Human Development
Revised: August 21, 2018

Kenneth A. Reinert

Phone: 703-993-8212
Office hours: Tuesday, 7:30 to 8:30 PM
Office: Founders Hall 627

Study Guide

Course Description

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the field of development economics, development studies and development policy. The course will introduce the student to alternative concepts and theories of economic development. It will also introduce the student to analytical frameworks for assessing a number of important issues that arise in development processes.

The course will begin with a critical examination of alternative answers to the question: What is development? We will then explore the importance of the colonial legacies of developing countries in contributing to the phenomenon of path dependence. Next, we will explore a number of theories of economic development, including but not limited to growth theory. Finally, we will examine a number of areas of important policy interest for developing countries: population; health; education; industrialization; and agricultural and rural development.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding: To have a broad understanding of the concepts, theories and measures that characterize the fields of economic and human development.

Analytical Skills and Abilities: To be able to understand and manipulate the basic graphical analysis of modern growth theory and to understand its relationship to broader development theory. To be able to access development data and analyze it in a spreadsheet.

Professional Development: To be able to engage in basic development policy analysis as evidenced in a written briefing paper.

Required Texts

Szirmai, A. (2015) Socio-Economic Development, Cambridge University Press.

World Bank (2011) World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development. Also available through World Bank e-Library via GMU library databases.

Recommended Texts

Banerjee, A.V. and E. Duflo (2011) Poor Economics, Public Affairs.

Boo, K. (2012) Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, Random House.

Collier, P. (2007) The Bottom Billion, Oxford University Press.

Cypher, J.M. (2014) The Process of Economic Development, Routledge.

Goldin, I. and K.A. Reinert (2012) Globalization for Development: Meeting New Challenges, Oxford University Press.

Moss, T.J. and D. Resnick (2018) African Development: Making Sense of the Issues, Lynne Rienner.

Reinert, K.A. (2012) An Introduction to International Economics: New Perspectives on the World Economy, Cambridge University Press.

Reinert, K.A. (ed.) (2017) Handbook of Globalisation and Development, Edward Elgar.

Reinert, K.A. (2018) No Small Hope: Towards the Universal Provision of Basic Goods, Oxford University Press.

Rodrik, D. (2007) One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions and Economic Growth, Princeton University Press.

Weil, D.N. (2013) Economic Growth, Pearson.

Course Requirements and Grading

Midterm exam- 30 percent
Cumulative final exam- 30 percent
Briefing paper- 25 percent
Class participation- 15 percent

Course Outline and Readings

Week 1 (August 28): Introduction to the Course

Mass, P., “Emroz Khan Is Having a Bad Day.”

Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years


Banerjee, A.V. and E. Duflo (2007) “The Economic Lives of the Poor,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21:1, 141-168.

Deaton, A. (2018) “The U.S. Can No Longer Hide from Its Deep Poverty Problem,” New York Times, January 24.

Goldin and Reinert, Chapter 2, “Globalization and Poverty.” 

Reinert (2018) Chapter 1, “What Matters.”

Week 2 (September 4): Concepts of and Trends in Development

Szirmai, Chapter 1, “Developing Countries and the Concept of Development.”

World Bank, Chapter 1, “A Wave of Progress” and Chapter 2, “The Persistence of Gender Inequality.”

Martha Nussbaum on Capabilities


Adelman, I. (2001) “Fallacies in Development Theory and Their Implications for Policy,” in G.M. Meier and J.E. Stiglitz (eds.), Frontiers of Development Economics, Oxford University Press, 103-134.

Alkire, S. (2002) “Dimensions of Human Development,” World Development, 30:2, 181-205. 

Nussbaum, M. (2011) Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach, Harvard University Press.

Reinert, Chapter 20, “Development Concepts.”

Reinert, K.A. (2018), Chapter 2, “Growth and Capabilities” and Chapter 3, “Basic Goods.”

Streeten, P. (1994) “Human Development: Means and Ends,” American Economic Review, 84:2, 232-237.

Suri, T., M. Boozer, G. Ranis and F. Stewart (2010) “Paths to Success: The Relationship between Human Development and Economic Growth,” World Development, 39:4, 506-522.

Week 3 (September 11): History and Colonial Legacies

Szirmai, Chapter 2, “Development of the International Economic Order: 1450-2015.”

North, D.C. (1994) “Economic Performance through Time,” American Economic  Review, 84:3. Available via e-journals.

Slave Voyages


Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson and J.A. Robinson (2002) “Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117:4, 1231-1294.   

Goldstone, J. (2009) Why Europe? The Rise of the West in World History, 1500-1850, McGraw-Hill.

Moss, Chapter 2, “History and Legacy of Colonialism.”

North, D.C. (1990) Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance, Cambridge University Press.

Week 4 (September 18): Classical Theories of Economic Development

Szirmai, Chapter 3, “Growth and Stagnation: Theories and Experiences.”


Gilbert, G. (1997) “Adam Smith on the Nature and Causes of Poverty,” Review of Social Economy, 5:3, 273-291.

Maddison, A. (1991) “Interpreting Capitalist Development,” Chapter 1 of Dynamic Forces in Capitalist Development, Oxford University Press, 5-29.

Malthus’ Essay on the Principle of Population, available through Google Books. 

Week 5 (September 25): Neoclassical Theory of Development: Growth Models

Szirmai, Chapter 3, “Growth and Stagnation: Theories and Experiences.”

Economic Growth Resources


Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson and J.A. Robinson (2005) “Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth,” in P. Aghion and S.N. Durlauf (eds.), Handbook of Economic Growth, Volume 1A, Elsevier, 385-472.

Easterly, W. (2001) “Solow’s Surprise: Investment Is Not the Key to Growth,” Chapter 3 of The Elusive Quest for Growth, MIT Press, 47-69. 

Kugler, M. (2018) “The Economics of Ideas: Paul Romer Receives the 2018 Nobel Prize,” Berkeley Economics Department.

Levin, A. and L. Raut (1997) “Complementarities between Exports and Human Capital in Economic Growth: Evidence from Semi-industrialized Countries,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, 46:1, 155-174.

Moss, Chapter 6, “Africa’s Growth Puzzle.”

Pio, A. (1994) “New Growth Theory and Old Development Problems,” Development Policy Review, 12:3, 277-300.

Reinert, Chapter 21, “Growth and Development.”

Rodrik, D. (2003) “Introduction,” Chapter 1 of In Search of Prosperity, Princeton University Press, 1-19.

Rodrik, D., A. Subramanian and F. Trebbi (2004) “Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development,” Journal of Economic Growth, 9:2, 131-165.

Wacziarg, R. and K.H. Welch (2008) “Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence,” World Bank Economic Review, 22:2, 187-231.

Week 6 (October 2): No Class, Invited to WTO Public Forum

Week 7: (October 9): No Class Due to Columbus Day Holiday, Begin Studying for Midterm

Week 8: (October 16): Technology and Development

Szirmai, Chapter 4, “Technology and Development.”


The Economist (2007) “High-Tech Hopefuls,” 10 November.

Lall, S. (1993) “Understanding Technology Development,” Development and Change24:4, 719-753.

Lall, S. and M. Teubal (1998) “Market Stimulating Technology Policies in Developing Countries,” World Development, 26:8, 1369-1385.

Mokyr, J. (1990) The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress, Oxford University Press.

Pack, H. and L.E. Wesphal (1986) “Industrial Strategy and Technological Change,” Journal of Development Economics, 22:1, 87-128.  

Week 9 (October 23): Midterm Exam

Week 10 (October 30): Population and Development (Briefing Paper Description Paragraph Due)

Szirmai, A., “Population and Development,” Chapter 5.

World Bank, Chapter 4, “Promoting Women’s Agency.”

United Nations World Population Prospects


Dasgupta, P. (1994) “The Population Problem: Theory and Evidence,” Journal of Economic Literature, 33:4, 1879-1902.  

The Economist (2017) “Depopulation in Germany: Fading Echoes,” April 15.

Reher, R.S. (2011) “Economic and Social Implications of the Demographic Transition,” Population and Development Review, 37:S1, 11-33.

Reinert (2018), Chapter 4, “Food.”

Sen, A., (1996) “Fertility and Coercion,” University of Chicago Law Review, 63:3, 1035-1061.

Week 11 (November 6): Health and Development

Szirmai, A., “Health, Healthcare and Development,” Chapter 6.

World Bank, Chapter 3, “Education and Health.”

Michel Sidibe of UNAIDS

Health and Human Rights


Bhalotra, S. and S.B. Rawlings (2011) “Intergenerational Persistence in Health in Developing Countries,” Journal of Public Economics, 95:3-4, 286-299.

Case, A., A. Fertig and C. Paxson (2005) “The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance,” Journal of Health Economics, 24:2, 365-389.

Farmer, P. (1996) “Social Inequalities and Emerging Infectious Diseases,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2:4, 259-269.

Ikeda, N. and others (2011) “What Has Made the Population of Japan Healthy?” Lancet, 378:9796, 1094-1105.

Kassouf, A.L. and B. Senauer (1996) “Direct and Indirect Effects of Parental Education on Malnutrition among Children in Brazil: A Full Income Approach,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, 44:4, 817-838.

Osmani, S. and A. Sen (2003) “The Hidden Penalties of Gender Inequality: Fetal Origins of Ill-Health,” Economics and Human Biology, 1:1, 105-121.

Reinert (2018), Chapter 5, “Water,” Chapter 6, “Sanitation,” and Chapter 7, “Health Services.”

Strauss, J. and D. Thomas (1998) “Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development,” Journal of Economic Literature, 36:2, 1998, 766-817.

Wolff, J. (2012) The Human Right to Health, Norton.

 Week 12 (November 13): Education and Development

Szirmai, A., “Education and Development,” Chapter 7.

World Bank, Chapter 5, “Gender Differences in Employment.”

Maranyundo Initiative


Glewwe, P. (2002) “Schools and Skills in Developing Countries: Education Policies and Socioeconomic Outcomes,” Journal of Economic Literature, 40:2, 2002, 436-482.

Psacharopoulos, G. (1994) “Returns to Investment in Education: A Global Update,” World Development, 22:9, 1325-1343.

Psacharopoulos, G. (2006) “The Value of Investment in Education: Theory, Evidence, and Policy,” Journal of Education Finance, 32:2, 113-136. 

Reinert (2018), Chapter 8, “Education Services.”

Schultz, T.P. (2002) “Why Governments Should Invest More to Educate Girls,” World Development, 30:2, 2002, 207-225.

  Week 13 (November 20): Agriculture and Rural Development

Szirmai, Chapter 10, “Agricultural Development and Rural Development.”

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

Swaminathan Research Foundation


Davis, D.E. (2004) Discipline and Development: Middle Classes and Prosperity in East Asia and Latin America, Cambridge University Press.

The Economist (2017) “For Asia, the Path to Prosperity Starts with Land Reform,” October 12.

Henley, D. (2012) “The Agrarian Roots of Industrial Growth: Rural Development in South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa,” Development Policy Review, 30:S1, S25-SS47.

Lewis, A. (1954) “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labor,” Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies, 22, 139-191.

Martin, W. and D. Mitra (2001) “Productivity Growth and Convergence in Agriculture versus Manufacturing,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, 49:2, 403-422.   

Mwabu, G. and E. Thorbecke (2004) “Rural Development, Growth and Poverty in Africa,” Journal of African Economies, 13:S1, 16-65.

Reinert, K.A. (1998) “Rural Nonfarm Development: A Trade-Theoretic View,” Journal of International Trade and Economic Development, 7:4, 425-437.    

Ruttan, V.W. (2002) “Productivity Growth in World Agriculture: Sources and Constraints,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16:4, 2002, 161-184.

Smedshaug, C.A. (2010) Feeding the World in the 21st Century: A Historical Analysis of Agriculture and Society, Anthem Press.

Week 14 (November 27): Industrialization

Szirmai, Chapter 8, “Economic Development, Structural Change and Industrialization.”

Szirmai, Chapter 9, “Industrial Development.”

World Bank, Chapter 6, “Globalization’s Impact on Gender Equality.”


Bruton, H. (1998) “A Reconsideration of Import Substitution,” Journal of Economic Literature, 36:2, 903-936.

Goldin and Reinert, Chapter 3, “Trade.”

Rodrik, D. (1995) “Getting Interventions Right: How South Korea and Taiwan Grew Rich,” Economic Policy, 20, 53-97.

Week 15 (December 4): Summary and Review 

World Bank, Chapter 7, “Public Action for Gender Equality.”


Reinert (2018), Chapter 12, “No Small Hope.”

Week 16 (December 11): Cumulative Final Exam

December 17: Briefing Paper Due by 10:00 AM

Briefing Paper

One requirement of this course is for you to write a briefing paper on a development topic of your choice. The paper is to be approximately 4,000 words. It is to be written in relatively non-technical language suitable for a policy-maker. The paper must include an Excel-prepared chart based on the World Development Indicators or other suitable source in some specific cases.

Try your best to include some quality research sources in your briefing paper, particularly from journals. Here, Google is not your friend! Google Scholar is your friend. So too is the e-journals resource of Mason’s library system. See also the Library’s resources for the ICP Program.

Ph.D. students have the option of working with me to develop a paper assignment that supports their progress in their program. Please contact me as early as possible in the semester to discuss this alternative option.

A paragraph describing you paper topic is due on October 30. The paper itself is due on December 17 by 10:00 AM. The paper must be submitted by email in electronic format for plagiarism assessment (see below).

Schar School Policy on Plagiarism

The profession of scholarship and the intellectual life of a university as well as the field of public policy inquiry depend fundamentally on a foundation of trust.  Thus any act of plagiarism strikes at the heart of the meaning of the university and the purpose of the School of Public Policy. It constitutes a serious breach of professional ethics and it is unacceptable.

Plagiarism is the use of another’s words or ideas presented as one’s own.  It includes, among other things, the use of specific words, ideas, or frameworks that are the product of another’s work.  Honesty and thoroughness in citing sources is essential to professional accountability and personal responsibility.  Appropriate citation is necessary so that arguments, evidence, and claims can be critically examined.

Plagiarism is wrong because of the injustice it does to the person whose ideas are stolen. But it is also wrong because it constitutes lying to one’s professional colleagues.  From a prudential perspective, it is shortsighted and self-defeating, and it can ruin a professional career.

Nondiscrimination Statement

It is my personal policy not to discriminate among students based on race, ethnicity, religious faith, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or physical ability.


If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 993-2474.  All academic accommodations must be arranged through the DRC.