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Anno accademico 2023/2024

Codice attività didattica
Jerome Lange (Titolare dell'insegnamento)
Corso di studio
Master's Degree Course in Economic analysis and policy
1° anno
Annualità singola (A1)
SSD attività didattica
SECS-P/02 - politica economica
Tipologia esame
Scritto ed orale
Tipologia unità didattica
Insegnamento integrato

Sommario insegnamento



Cancellazione iscritti ai corsi sulla piattaforma del Dipartimento

Obiettivi formativi

Political economy is the original name of the discipline of economics, at a time when it was a broad “science of man” with its origins in moral philosophy and jurisprudence and encompassing aspects of modern-day demography, geography, sociology, political philosophy, history, social psychology, anthropology and political science. Today, the term Political Economy is used to denote a subfield of economics (and, in the case of International Political Economy, international relations and political science) divided between contending schools with very different approaches to the study of political and economic phenomena and their interplay. This course makes use both of classical and the modern-day political economy to explore the phenomenon of socio-economic development – understood in its intellectual-historical dimension as the latest iteration of the idea of progress.


Risultati dell'apprendimento attesi

The aim of this course is to develop a critical understanding of the theory and practice of economic development in its political and economic dimensions. It is a core course across two Masters: Applied Development Economics (Economics) and Development Studies (inter-faculty programme). Students are expected to engage with a wide range of material, to familiarise themselves with relevant economic and philosophical concepts and to write essays reflecting their critical interrogation of the development literature.



The course is divided into three parts. Part one explores the major theoretical approaches and contributions to the economic development literature. Part two explores key issues in international economic relations and power dynamics as they affect the issue of comparative economic development. Part three looks at overarching geographical and demographic processes involved in economic development and how they affect and are affected by local, regional and international politics. Naturally, subsequent sections draw on previous sections for their analysis. Theoretical, empirical, and philosophical and epistemological aspects are explored throughout.


Modalità di insegnamento

Each 2-3 hour session will start with a lecture on the week’s topic, interspersed with times for questions and answers, and will be followed by a discussion of the lecture and the reading material for the week. There will then be one to three 10-minute student presentations on the week’s topic, each followed by 15 minutes of discussion.


Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

40% of the grade of the course is given by the student’sessay grade. There will be two  “quizzes” taken during the semester, of which the better one will give 10% of the grade. Another 15% of the grade results from the presentation in class of the student’s research in connection with the essay. The remaining 35% will be given by the final exam’s mark. While the essay mark is the most important mark for the course, a grade of at least 50% for the remainder of the assessed component (quiz, presentation and exam with their respective weightings) is necessary to pass the course*.

Students are expected to read at least all essential readings for each week and to participate actively in class discussions. In the essay and the exam, students will write a rigorous and structured argument that will draw on relevant empirical and theoretical material. The class presentations will help students familiarize themselves with these expectations.
*This is a university requirement. A student who attains a pass-mark overall but does not meet this sub-minimum requirement concerning invigilated assessments will be awarded a mark of 45% and a code “Fail: does not meet subminimum requirements”.

Essays: After completing a first short essay (2.500 words), students have the choice between either writing a second short essay on a different topic, or expanding the scope of their first essay to a longer essay (5.000 words). In the case of two different subjects, these should each fall within the thematic area of one of the weekly classes, but in two different sections of the course. If the first essay is expanded, this can be done either by linking it with another subject area or by furthering the initial analysis. In both cases (two short essays or one long one), students have the possibility to ameliorate the grade of their first essay by integrating advice received on their first essay. Whatever the case, the better grade of the two will be retained.

Presentations: The presenting student will distribute a 1-page summary of their research to the class in advance. The essay does not need to be completed at the time of the presentation, but the presentation should be about the research work undertaken for the essay, presenting the main ideas and argument of the latter. Discussions with the class after the presentations will focus on assisting the presenting student in refining and advancing their work in a collegial atmosphere.

Word length and format for essays: 2.500 words, including footnotes (do not use endnotes) but excluding the bibliography. Students may use the referencing system they prefer (Harvard being the most common), as long as it is coherently followed throughout the document.
Please note: Wits has a zero-tolerance policy towards plagiarism, especially at postgraduate level. It is the student’s responsibility to familiarise themselves with the relevant definitions and policies. Information on this will also be given in class. When in doubt, consult your lecturer.


Attività di supporto

Not planned.

Testi consigliati e bibliografia


Introduction - Grounding the subject

Week 1: Development, Political Economy and the Political Economy of Development

Inge, W. R. The Idea of Progress. The Romanes Lecture, delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre, 27 May, 1920. At the Clarendon Press. 1920 Short excerpt.

Nisbet, Robert A. Social Change and History. Aspects of the Western Theory of Development. Oxford University Press - Introduction.

McCarthy, Thomas. Race, empire, and the idea of human development. Cambridge University Press. 2009 - Excerpts from Introduction and Conclusion.

Hoogvelt, Ankie. Globalisation and the Postcolonial World. The New Political Economy of Development. MacMillan Press. 1997 - Excerpt from Intro.

Chang, Ha-Joon. Economics for People. [video series]. Institute of New Economic Thinking. September 2019. Lecture 1.2: Five Reasons Why Economics is Political.

Smith, Adam. Lectures on Jurisprudence. The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, Vol. V. Oxford University Press. (1762-66) 1978. Short excerpt.

Week 2: The division of labour and the extent of the market, capital accumulation and economic stages

Smith, Adam. Lectures on Jurisprudence. The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, Vol. V. Oxford University Press. (1762-66) 1978. Short excerpt.

Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, Vol. II. Oxford University Press. (1776) 1976. General Introduction; Book 1, Chapters 1-3; Book 2, Introduction; Book 3, Chapter 1

Young, Allyn Abbot. "Increasing Returns and Economic Progress". The Economic Journal. Vol. 38, Iss. 152. 1928.

Week 3: Population, resources and inequality

Malthus, T. Robert. An Essay on the Principle of Population, as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society, with Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers. Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project (1798) 1998

Demeny, Paul and Geoffrey McNicoll. “Preface”. Special Issue: The Political Economy of Global Population Change, 1950-2050. Population and Development Review. Vol. 32. 2006.

Boserup, Ester. “Development Theory: An Analytical Framework and Selected Application”. Population and Development Review. Vol. 22, No. 3. Sep. 1996.

Boulding, Kenneth. “Population Factors in Development Economics”. Population and Development Review. Vol. 14, Supplement: Population and Resources in Western Intellectual Traditions. 1988.

Keyfitz, Nathan. “Population and Development within the Ecosphere: One View of the Literature”. Population Index. Vol. 57, No. 1. Spring, 1991.

McNicoll, Geoffrey. “Population and Development: An Introductory View”. Population Council Policy Research Division Working Papers. No. 174. 2003.

Simon, Julian. “Economic Thought about Population Consequences: Some Reflections”. Journal of Population Economics. Vol. 6. 1993.

Week 4: Capitalism, imperialism and dependency

Marx, Karl. Capital. Vol I. Marx & Engels Collected Works. Vol. 35. Lawrence & Wishart (1867. 1887) 1996. extracts.

Marx, Karl & Friedrich Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. (1848). abbr. In Edelman, Marc & Angelique Haugerud (eds.). The Anthropology of Development and Globalization. From Classical Political Economy to Contemporary Neoliberalism. Blackwell 2005.

Choonara, Joseph. Unravelling Capitalism. A Guide to Marxist Political Economy. 2009. extracts

Sens, Allen. Dependency theory. [video]. Introduction to Global Politics. YouTube. 28 February 2012.

Peter Nolan. “Karl Marx”;
John Sender & Jonathan R. Pincus. “Capitalism and Development”;
Stephen Howe. “Colonialism”;
Alastair Greig, David Hulme & Mark Turner. “Class”;
John S. Saul & Colin Leys. “Dependency”;
In Clark, David A. (ed.). The Elgar Companion to Development Studies. 2006

Hoogvelt, Ankie. Globalisation and the Postcolonial World. The New Political Economy of Development. MacMillan Press. 1997. Ch. 1: The History of Capitalist Expansion. Ch. 2: Neocolonialism, Modernization and Dependency.

Week 5: Big push, dualism and (un)balanced growth

Lewis, Arthur. “Economic Development with Unlimited Supplies of Labour”. Manchester School. Vol. 22. Iss. 2. May 1954

Rosenstein-Rodan, Paul. “Problems of Industrialisation of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe”. Economic Journal. Vol. 53. No. 210/211. Jun. - Sep. 1943

Rosenstein-Rodan, Paul. The International Development of Economically Backward Areas. International Affairs. Vol. 20. No. 2. Apr. 1944

Rostow, Walth Whitman. The Stages of Economic Growth. A Non-Communist Manifesto. Cambridge UP 1960. Introduction

Hirschman, Albert O. “The Rise and decline of Development Economics”. In Hirschman, Albert O. Essays in Trespassing: Economics to Politics and Beyond. Cambridge UP 1981

Altmann, Matthias P. Contextual Development Economics: A Holistic Approach to the Understanding of Economic Activity in Low-Income Countries. Springer 2011. Ch. 6: The First Generation of Development Economists

Warner, James M. & Kenneth P. Jameson. “The Role of Eastern Europe in Development Economics’ History” & Jeannette Mitchell. “The Doctrine of Market Failure and Early Development Theory”. History of Economics Review. Iss. 39. Jun. 2004 & Iss. 44. Dec. 2006. extracts

Krugman, Paul. “Toward a Counter-Counterrevolution in Development Theory”. in Proceedings of the Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics 1992. World Bank 1993

Collier, Paul.  “African Growth: Why a ‘Big Push’”. Journal of African Economies Vol. 00. AERC Supp. 2. 2006

Sachs, Jeffrey et al. “Ending Africa's Poverty Trap”. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Iss. 1. 2004

II. The International Politics of Development

Week 6: Free trade, protection and industrial policy

Dollar, David & Aart Kraay v. Dani Rodrik. “Trade Promotes Growth v. Trade does not Promote Growth”. in Oatley, Thomas (ed.). Debates in International Political Economy. 2nd ed. 2012

Chang, Ha-Joon. Kicking Away the Ladder. Development Strategy in Historical Perspective. 2002 - exctracts from Introduction and first chapter.

Kanatsu, Takashi. “The Asian Tigers”. In Barnett, Vincent (ed.). Routledge Handbook of the History of Global Economic Thought. 2005

Nafziger, E. Wayne.  Economic Development. 5th ed. 2012. Extract from Ch. 17: International Trade

Week 7: Neoliberal globalisation

Harvey, David. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford UP 2005. Introduction

John Weeks & Howard Stein. “Washington Consensus”;
A.P. Thirlwall. “Debt Crisis” (excerpt);
Howard White. “Economic Aid” (excerpt).
In Clark, David A. (ed.). The Elgar Companion to Development Studies. 2006

Sarah Babb & Alexander Kentikelenis. “International Financial Institutions as Agents of Neoliberalism”;
Nitsan Chorev. “Neoliberalism and Supra-National Institutions” (short excerpt);
Joshua Barkan. “Corporate Power and Neoliberalism” (short excerpt).
in Damien Cahill, Melinda Cooper, Martijn Konings & David Primrose (eds.). The Sage Handbook of Neoliberalism. 2018

Bracking, Sarah. Money and Power. Great Predators in the Political Economy of Development. Pluto Press 2009. Introduction

McMichael, Philip D. Development and Social Change. A Global Perspective. 6th ed. 2016. Ch. 5: Instituting the Globalization Project

Week 8: Decolonisation and neo-colonialism

Fanon, Frantz [tr. R. Philcox]. The Wretched of the Earth. Grove Press (1961) 2004. most of Ch. 3: ‘The Trials and Tribulations of National Consciousness’ and a few pages from Ch. 4: ‘On National Culture’

McEwan, Cheryl. “Postcolonialism”. in Vandana Desai and Robert B. Potter (eds.). The Companion to Development Studies. 3rd ed. 2014

Murrey, Amber. “Colonialism”. In Kobayashi, Audrey (ed.). Encyclopedia of Human Geography. 2nd ed. 2020

Week 9: Identity and violence

Carolyn Gallaher. “Ethnic Conflict”;
Jan Penrose. “Nation”.
In Kobayashi, Audrey (ed.). Encyclopedia of Human Geography. 2nd ed. 2020

Balibar, Étienne & Immanuel Wallerstein. Race, Nation, Class. Ambiguous Identities. 1991. Chapters 2-4

Chakrabarty, Dipesh. “Review of Amartya Sen ‘Identity and violence. The illusion of destiny’ 2006”. South Asian History & Culture. Vol. 1. No. 1. 2010

III. Regional and Global processes

Week 10: Cities as trade and growth poles

Beall, Jo & Sean Fox. Cities and Development. Routledge 2009

Week 11: Poverty, inequality and land rights

Ramphele, Mamphela. “Poverty”;
Richard Jolly. “Income Distribution”;
Frank Ellis. “Rural Poverty Reduction”;
Henry Bernstein “Land Reform”;
Jonathan R. Pincus. “Green Revolution and biotechnology”;
In Clark, David A. (ed.). The Elgar Companion to Development Studies. 2006

Kay, Cristóbal. “Why East Asia Overtook Latin America: Agrarian Reform, Industrialisation and Development”. Third World Quarterly. 2002

Cypher, James M. & James L. Dietz. The Process of Economic Development. 3rd ed. 2009. section ”Land reform” in ch. “Agriculture and development”

Wiegersma, Nan & Joseph E. Medley. US Economic Development Policies towards the Pacific Rim. 2000. Ch. 3: Agriculture in Taiwan and South Korea

Hall, Ruth. “A political economy of land reform in South Africa”. Review of African Political Economy. No.100. 2004

Hall, Ruth. Let's redistribute the land. [video]. TED. TEDx CapeTown Salon. December 2019

Hall, Ruth. Expropriation without compensation, land reform and justice in South Africa. [video]  PLAAS Seminar. YouTube. February 2020

Banyan. “For Asia, the path to prosperity starts with land reform”. The Economist. 14th Oct. 2017

Week 12Demographic transition and gender dynamics

Kirk, Dudley. “Demographic Transition Theory”. Population Studies. Vol. 50. Iss. 3. 1996

Kabeer, Naila. “Gender, demographic transition and the economics of family size: Population policy for a human-centred development”. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development Occasional Paper No. 7. 1996



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