ECN253 Economics of Development and Poverty

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Arild Einar Bjørn Angelsen

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:125 hours

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel.

About this course

Development economics is the study of how national economies achieve development and reduce poverty, hunger and illiteracy. In this introductory course, we will address questions such as: Why do some countries make rapid progress while many others remain poor? What are the causes of extreme poverty? What policies have been most effective in improving the lives of the poor? How do economic institutions and natural resources shape the prospects of sustainable development?

The course will be structured in three parts: (i) major economic development theories, concepts and indicators, (ii) domestic policies and the structure of national economies, (iii) economic development within a global context: International and sustainability dimensions.

Learning outcome


  • Knowledge about major theories and concepts used in development economics.
  • A critical understanding of key questions and debates on growth and poverty in developing countries.
  • Knowledge about the role of institutions, international cooperation and trade in economic growth and development.


  • Able to understand and critically evaluate current debates on economic development and growth.
  • Able to write about and critically discuss a selected topic on economic development and poverty.
  • Able to orally present and discuss a topic in economic development.
  • A combination of lectures and class discussions based on the required readings. A textbook to be selected will provide the reading for most classes.
  • A combined assessment consisting of:

    1. One multiple-choice exam at the end of the course (40%).
    2. One individual essay (approx. 2000 words) on a chosen topic, approved by the course responsible (40%).
    3. One short essay (approx. 600 words), critically discussing the class presentation and essay of a fellow student (20%).

  • An external examiner will control the quality of the syllabus, questions for the final examination, and principles for the assessment of the examination answers.
  • Compulsory 80% attendance of classes and exercises
  • The course is in English. Incoming students can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course.
  • 11 lectures (2 hours each, one per week) + student presentations.
  • Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)