Foundations of Development Policy

Students sit in a classroom in a grassy field.

South African outdoor classroom. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Peace Corps.)


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As Taught In

Spring 2009



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Course Features

Course Description

This course explores the foundations of policy making in developing countries. The goal is to spell out various policy options and to quantify the trade-offs between them. We will study the different facets of human development: education, health, gender, the family, land relations, risk, informal and formal norms and institutions. This is an empirical class. For each topic, we will study several concrete examples chosen from around the world. While studying each of these topics, we will ask: What determines the decisions of poor households in developing countries? What constraints are they subject to? Is there a scope for policy (by government, international organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs))? What policies have been tried out? Have they been successful?

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Esther Duflo. 14.74 Foundations of Development Policy, Spring 2009. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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