ECON 8784-001 Economic Development

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ECON 8784-001 Economic Development
Econ 8784: Ph.D. Seminar in Economic Development (“Micro-Development”)
Course Meets 08/23/2005 - 12/8/2005
Tue, Thurs: 11:00 am – 12:15 pm, Room: Econ 5
No Class: Thurs, Oct 13 (Fall Break) and Thurs, Nov 24 (Thanksgiving)
Course Website: www.colorado.edu/Economics/courses/mobarak
Prerequisities: Ph.D. Level Microeconomic Theory and Econometrics
(need to see me if you don’t have these prerequisites)
Office Hours:
A. Mushfiq Mobarak, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics
Economics Building (256 UCB) – Room 14B
303-492-8872 (off)
[email protected] (preferred method of contact)
Tue 9:30am-10:45am, Thurs 1:15pm-3:00pm
There is no required text for this course. The lectures and discussion will be primarily
based on journal articles and working papers in the reading list provided below. Here are
some texts that you may find useful to consult from time to time:
Jeffrey Wooldridge, Economic Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data, MIT Press,
Debraj Ray, Development Economics, Princeton University Press, 1998.
Pranab Bardhan and C. Udry, Development Microeconomics, Oxford Univ. Press, 1999
H. Chenery and T.N. Srinivasan eds, Handbook of Development Economics Vols. I to
IV, Elsevier Publishers.
Angus Deaton, The Analysis of Household Surveys: A Microeconometric Approach to
Development Policy, World Bank, 1997
Wooldridge is an excellent panel data econometrics reference text. Ray’s book is an
advanced undergraduate or Master’s level text that contains intuitive treatments of some
of the material covered in this course. Bardhan and Udry is a more advanced text that
attempts to summarize the literature on each of the topics it covers. The four-volume
Handbook of Development Economics set contain essays on selected issues in
development by prominent authors in each sub-field. This is an expensive set. You
might consider using the copies available in the Reserve Room of Norlin library.
Course Objectives & Description
The objective of this course is to put you in a position to do original research in
development economics. You will be required to write a research proposal and submit it
to me before the end of the semester. I have chosen papers for the reading list that will
help you understand what “state of the art” research in development economics
constitutes. Many of the papers are current – yet to be published, including several
successful “job market papers” from Ph.D. students in development who were on the
market in the last couple of years.
Although the course will examine both theoretical and empirical issues in economic
development, the focus will be on the empirical side, which reflects some major trends in
this field, as well as my own research interests. We will be concerned mostly with microeconomic issues in development. This course complements Econ 8774, which is a
“macro-development” course being taught by Professor Murat Iyigun, which covers
macroeconomic issues, and is more theoretical in its approach. The two courses make up
the development economics field at Colorado.
You will have to work through some problem sets that will require you to clean, compile
and analyze data. One of the first topics we will cover is empirical research methodology
in development economics, and I will point you to some publicly available micro and
macro datasets that may be useful for your research. During class, we will primarily
discuss the papers in the reading list below. Once in a while, the lectures may be based
on a few chapters from the list of texts above. To get the most out of this course, please
read the papers in advance. I will ask you to hand in summaries of papers throughout the
semester in order to give you the proper incentives to read. Reading ahead will also no
doubt help your class participation grade.
1. You will be required to hand in one-page summaries of numerous (15-20) papers
on the syllabus during the course of the semester. The summary should make
clear that you’ve read the entire paper. Apart from the fact that these are graded,
there is another very important reason for you to do a good job on these
summaries: I will make available the summary you wrote for you to consult while
you are writing the final exam. The summaries will be due at the beginning of the
class period on the first day that we move to that ‘topic’ on the syllabus.
2. I will assign 3 problem sets which will require you to spend many hours cleaning,
compiling and analyzing data using a statistical software package such as Stata.
You can use any software package you choose, but based on my own experience
doing empirical research, I will highly recommend that you use Stata.
3. The class participation grade will be based on your willingness to contribute
meaningfully to class discussion. It will help if you read the papers in advance
4. I will ask you to write referee reports for either 2 or 3 unpublished papers. Each
referee report should be at least 2-3 pages double-spaced. The report should start
with a brief 1-2 paragraph summary of the main point of the article and the
methodology used. This should be followed by a critique and suggestions for
improvement. You should describe your main 3-4 points of critique in detail as if
you were writing directly to the author. Conclude the report with more minor
comments. A good referee report not only clearly states the shortcomings of the
work, but also lays out detailed (and realistic) suggestions for improvement.
5. You will develop a research proposal on a topic related to development
economics over the course of the semester. You are expected to have several
conversations with me about your research idea. The proposal should be as
detailed as possible, and will outline the research question, develop an appropriate
literature review noting the gap in the literature that your work will fill, the
methodology to be employed and the data to be used (if the project is empirical).
Even better, if you already have data, you should show me some preliminary
analysis, summary statistics etc. You will be graded on the originality of your
ideas, and on how well you develop the proposal. The proposal will be due
towards the end of the semester; an exact due date will be announced. For
students also enrolled in 8774, you can use the same research proposal, as long as
that proposal has a strong empirical component to it.
6. There will be a short final exam, so I can gauge whether you retained the material
that we discussed in class.
The following weights will be used to compute your final grade:
One-Page Summaries
Class Participation
Problem Sets (10% each)
Referee Reports (3)
Research Proposal
University Policies
If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter
from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs may be addressed.
Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities.
Contact: 303-492-8671, Willard 322, and www.Colorado.EDU/disabilityservices
We will make reasonable accommodations for students who have conflicts between
religious observance dates and course examinations or assignments. Please talk to me at
the beginning of the semester, if you think you may require such accommodation. For
university policies on this and on other things such as classroom behavior, see
For the university honor code, see www.colorado.edu/academics/honorcode/
Plagiarism is not allowed. This means that you cannot copy anyone else’s work and pass
it off as your own. Each person must turn in assignments that are the fruit of his/her own
sincere efforts.
The University of Colorado at Boulder policies on Discrimination and Harassment
(http://www.colorado.edu/policies/discrimination.html), on Sexual Harassment, and on
Amorous Relationships applies to all students, staff and faculty. Any student, staff or
faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of discrimination or harassment
based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or
veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550. Information about the ODH
and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or
harassment can be obtained at http://www.colorado.edu/odh
Schedule of Topics and Reading List
* You are required to hand in one-page summaries of the starred articles
1. Introduction to Development and History of the Field
(1 lecture)
Amartya Sen, “The Concept of Development,” Chapter 1 in Handbook of
Development Economics, Volume 1, pp. 9-26.
Paul Krugman, “The Fall and Rise of Development Economics,” Chapter 1 in
Development, Geography and Economic Theory, MIT Press, 1995. (This book
can be read online using Norlin’s ebook collection. Search for the book in the Chinook catalog,
and there is a link) (www.netlibrary.com)
2. Empirical Research in Development
(3.5 lectures)
Deaton, Angus (1993). “Data and Econometric Tools for Development Economics,”
in Handbook of Development Economics Vol. III.
Udry, C. (1995). “Recent Advances in Empirical Microeconomic Research in Poor
Countries: An Annotated Bibliography,” Journal of Economic Education 28 (1):
58-75. Working Paper: www.econ.yale.edu/~cru2/pdf/review.pdf
Discussion Pieces
a. “Ugly Children May Get Parental Short Shrift,” New York Times, May 3, 2005
b. “One Possible Cure for the Common Criminal,” New York Times, June 16, 2005
Joshua Angrist and Alan Krueger (1999). “Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics.”
In Orley Ashenfelter and David Card eds. Handbook of Labor Economics, v. 3.
Amsterdam: Elsevier Science. Ch. 23. (working paper version:
*Angrist, Joshua and Alan Krueger (2001), "Instrumental Variables and the Search
for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Journal
of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 15 (4), pp. 69-87.
Holland, Paul, (1986) "Statistics and Causal Inference", Journal of the American
Statistical Association, Vol. 81 (396), 945-960. (JSTOR)
Freedman, David (1991) "Statistical Models and Shoe Leather," Sociological
Methodology, Vol. 21, 291-313. (JSTOR)
*Meyer, Bruce D. (1995), "Natural and quasi-experiments in economics," Journal of
Business and Economic Statistics, 13 (2), pp. 151-161.
John Bound, David Jaeger and Regina M. Baker (1995). “Problems with Instrumental
Variables Estimation when the Correlation between the Instruments and the
Endogenous Explanatory Variable is Weak,” Journal of the American Statistical
Association 90 (430): 443-450, June. (JSTOR)
Marianne Bertrand, Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan (2004). “How Much
Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?,” Quarterly Journal of
Economics, 2004, 119(1): 249-75. (can access through library website for QJE)
3. Growth in Developing Countries
(3 lectures)
*Acemoglu, D. and F. Zilibotti (1997), “Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk,
Diversification and Growth,” Journal of Political Economy 105 (4): 709-751.
Pritchett, Lant (2000), “Understanding Patterns of Economic Growth: Searching for
Hills among Plateaus, Mountains and Plains,” World Bank Economic Review 14
(2): 221-50.
Mobarak, A. Mushfiq (2005). “Democracy, Volatility and Development,” The Review
of Economics and Statistics 87 (2), May 2005.
(access through library website for published version or on papers.ssrn.com)
*Levine, Ross and David Renelt (1992). “A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country
Growth Regressions,” American Economic Review 82(4): 942-963. (JSTOR)
Durlauf, Steven (2001). “Manifesto for a Growth Econometrics,” Journal of
Econometrics 10: 65-69.
*Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson and J. Robinson (2001). “Colonial Origins of
Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation,” American Economic
Review 91 (5): 1369-1401. (JSTOR)
Comment on Paper: David Albouy (2005). “The Colonial Origins of Comparative
Development: A Reexamination Based on Improved Settler Mortality Data.,”
Reply to comment: http://econ-www.mit.edu/faculty/download_pdf.php?id=1138
4. Definitions and Measurement: Income, Poverty, Inequality, PPP
(1 lecture)
Debraj Ray, Development Economics. Chapter 2 (sections 2.2-2.6), Chapter 6
(section 6.3), Chapter 8 (section 8.2 and Appendix).
United Nations, Human Development Report 1996 (pg. 106), Human Development
Report 1990 Chapter 1 (“Defining and Measuring Human Development”)
5. Trade and Development
(2 lectures)
*Verhoogen, Eric (2004). “Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the
Mexican Manufacturing Sector: Theory and Evidence from an Exchange-Rate
Shock,” working paper, Columbia University.
Mobarak and Purbasari (2005). “Political Trade Protection in Developing Countries:
Firm Level Evidence from Indonesia”
Thierry Mayer, Philippe Martin, Mathias Thoenig (2005), Make Trade not War?,
Working Paper
*Topalova, Petia (2004). “Factor Immobility and Regional Impacts of Trade
Liberalization: Evidence on Poverty and Inequality from India”
6. Corruption
(2 lectures)
Bardhan, P. (1997). “Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues,” Journal of
Economic Literature 35 (3): 1320-1346. (JSTOR)
Fisman, R. (2001). “Estimating the Value of Political Connections,” American
Economic Review 91(4): 1095-1102. (JSTOR)
*Ray Fisman and Shang-Jin Wei (2004). “Tax Rates and Tax Evasion: Evidence from
'Missing Imports' in China,” Journal of Political Economy 112 (2): 471-496
*Olken, Benjamin A. (2004), “Monitoring corruption: Evidence from a field
experiment in Indonesia,” Mimeo, Harvard, November.
7. Political Economy & Public Service Delivery
(4 lectures)
Besley, T. and R. Burgess (2004), “The Political Economy of Government
Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India,” Quarterly Journal of
Economics 117 (4): 1415-1451.
*A. Foster and M. Rosenzweig (2001). “Democratization, Decentralization and the
Distribution of Local Public Goods in a Poor Rural Economy,” Working Paper,
Mobarak, Rajkumar and Cropper (2004). “The Political Economy of Health-Care
Provision and Access in Brazil,” World Bank Policy Research Paper 3508,
Khwaja, Asim and Atif Mian (2005). “Do Lenders Favor Politically Connected
Firms? Rent Provision in an Emerging Financial Market,”
*Duflo, Esther and R. Chattopadhyay (2004). “Women as Policy Makers: Evidence
from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India,” Econometrica 72(5), pp.
1409-1443. http://econ-www.mit.edu/faculty/download_pdf.php?id=437
Wantchekon, Leonard (2004). "Clientelism and Voting Behavior: Evidence from a
Field Experiment in Benin", World Politics, Forthcoming.
World Bank (2003), World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for
Poor People, Washington DC: The World Bank.
8. Environment, Health and Development
(3 lectures)
Mark M. Pitt, Mark R. Rosenzweig, and Md. Nazmul Hassan (2005). “Sharing the
Burden of Disease: Gender, the Household Division of Labor and the Health
Effects of Indoor Air Pollution,” BREAD Working Paper 093.
Jayachandran, Seema (2005). “Air Quality and Infant Mortality During Indonesia's
Massive Wildfires in 1997,” BREAD Working Paper 095.
*Grant Miller (2005). “Contraception as Development? New Evidence from Family
Planning in Colombia,”
*Kremer, M. and Miguel, T (2004). “Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and
Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities,” Econometrica, Vol. 72, No.
1 (January, 2004), 159–217
9. Water
(2 lectures)
*Esther Duflo and Rohini Pande (2005). “Dams,” BREAD Working Paper No. 100,
Hilary Sigman (2002). “International Spillovers and Water Quality in Rivers: Do
Countries Free Ride?,” American Economic Review, vol. 92(4), pages 11521159
Stefan Ambec and Yves Sprumont (2002). “Sharing a River,” Journal of Economic
Theory 107 (2): 453-462
10. Marriage
(3.5 lectures)
*Mark Rosenzweig and Oded Stark (1989). “Consumption Smoothing, Migration,
and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India,” Journal of Political Economy 97(4):
905-26 (JSTOR)
*M. Browning, P. A. Chiappori (1998). “Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A
General Characterization and Empirical Tests,” Econometrica, 66 (6): 12411278
Lena Edlund and Evelyn Korn (2002). “A Theory of Prostitution,” Journal of
Political Economy, vol. 110, issue 1, pages 181-214
Bittles, Alan (2001). “Consanguinity and its Relevance to Clinical Genetics,” Clinical
Genetics, 60: 89–98.
Hanan Jacoby and Ghazala Mansuri (2005). “Watta-Satta: Exchange Marriage and
Women's Welfare in Rural Pakistan,” Working Paper, World Bank
(will be available in late September)
*Nava Ashraf (2005). “Spousal Control and Intra-Household Decision Making: An
Experimental Study in the Philippines,” Working Paper.
11. Land & Credit Markets
(3 lectures)
Kranton, R. and A. Swamy (1999). “The Hazards of Piecemeal Reform: British Civil
Courts and the Credit Market in Colonial India,” Journal of Development
Economics 58: 1-24.
*Eswaran, M and A. Kotwal (1985), “A Theory of Contractual Structure in
Agriculture,” American Economic Review 75 (3): 352-367. (JSTOR)
Pitt, Mark & S. Khandker (1997), “The Impact of Group-Based Credit Programs on
Poor Households in Bangladesh: Does the Gender of Participants Matter?,”
Journal of Political Economy. (JSTOR)
Ashraf, Nava, Dean Karlan, and Wesley Yin. (2004). “Tying Odysseus to the Mast:
Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines”, BREAD
Working Paper No. 083. http://www.cid.harvard.edu/bread/abstracts/083.htm
12. Trust, Social Capital, Behavioral Economics
(2 lectures)
*Rabin, M. (1993). “Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics,”
American Economic Review 83(5): 1281-1302 (JSTOR)
Dean Karlan (2005). “Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and
Predict Financial Decisions,” forthcoming, American Economic Review
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