POL41870 Political Economy of Institutions and Comparative Development

Academic Year 2022/2023

This course takes up a number of topics in development economics in which political economy can provide either another angle or new insights into old issues. There are four key components in this module. The first part of the course deals with the role of institutions which has proven important for economic development. What are institutions? Why are they important? Who shapes institutions and why? To what extent institutions change over time, and how institutions effect economic growth, investments and prosperity. The second part of the course focuses on the role of geography as a prime determinant of economic development. In that, the focus will be particularly on Africa. Did geography help or hinder the prosperity in Africa? The role of geography in slave trade and how slave trade has affected economic growth via low levels of trust in the society today. The third segment in the course will give a broad overview of "Dutch disease" and then turns to its consequences especially for socio-economic and political development. This part of the course also discusses various strategies (tried & tested and untried) available at the disposal of policy makers to counter "Resource curse" problem. In the final segment, we will focus on the role of regimes in economic development. What is the concept of democracy? How is it different from Constitutional liberalism? Why is liberal democracy a tough venture? How did West succeed in managing liberal democracy? Why is there a democracy deficit in the Middle East? Why democracies prefer FDI? Finally, this chapter will also unpack the empirical relationship between democracy, income and socio-economic outcomes. This leads us to the final question on whether China is the new idol for emerging economies?

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

The objective of the course is to give students a solid foundation in the basic concepts of various topics covered under advanced development studies, as well as a first impression and understanding of the topics studied and the methodologies used at the frontier of development studies research today. Throughout the course, students will learn how to read research papers, how to judge the quality of a research paper, evaluate the data and methodology used, and how to read and interpret regression outputs and empirical results.

Indicative Module Content:

The key topics covered in the module include:

The role of institutions, geography, natural resources and political regimes on economic development and socioeconomic outcomes

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The teaching and learning approaches used in this module will be as follows:

1. Lectures
2. Critical writing; Review of published research work
3. Problem-based learning
4. Case study-based learning
5. Reviewing empirical research papers based on regression analysis
6. Understanding the identification strategy applied in regression models
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

This module is designed specially for students who are either interested in or intend to specialize in the fields of Development Studies, Political Economy, Development Economics and Politics of Development. Note that most of the research papers to be discussed in this course have empirical focus. Thus, the course requires solid understanding of how to read and interpret statistics, specially regression models, instrumental variable strategy and conditional plots. Therefore, this module is recommended for those students who are interested in the afore-mentioned fields.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Multiple Choice Questionnaire: There will be an MCQ test covering 20% of the overall weighting towards the end of the trimester. Unspecified n/a Graded No


Class Test: There will be a one-hour mid-term class test covering 25% of the overall weighting. Unspecified n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Term Paper (Take home exam) Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Class Test: There will be a one-hour class test covering 25% of the overall weighting towards the end of the trimester. Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

1. Detailed written feedback is provided to each student on their term paper assignment within 20 working days of the deadline for the assignment in according with university policy. 2. Written feedback is provided to each student on the two class-room tests within 20 working days of the deadline for the tests.