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Development economics: introduction and overview

Published on September 29, 2016   31 min
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Welcome to this first Henry Stewart Talk on Development Economics. I'm Julie Schaffner. I'm a Development Economist in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In these talks we'll be using the term development to refer to a process of economic and social change that makes life better, raises well-being for many people. And especially for people around the world who are poor, meaning that they are living with less than a minimally acceptable level of comfort, security and opportunity. This series is designed for viewers who want not only to learn about development but also to become more engaged with development. Perhaps, by becoming more knowledgeable voters or donors to charitable organizations or perhaps, more directly through new career directions involving work with governments, non-governmental organizations, or any of the many private enterprises that are part of the international development community today.
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In this introductory talk, I'll first briefly address two motivation questions. Why study the general subject of development? And why study development economics more specifically? I'll then offer an overview of the structure that development economists bring to their study of development, describing how they approach three important tasks which I'll call, defining the development objective, understanding the development process, and designing and analyzing development policies. We'll be using the term policy very broadly by the way, to encompass any sort of policy, project or program introduced with the aim of encouraging development. Polices can be introduced by governments, non-governmental organizations or private sector enterprises alone or in creative partnerships. Development policies in this sense could include anything from programs distributing cash, food or insecticide treated bed nets, to programs of road and school construction, to offers of loans or insurance contracts to poor households that are unreached by formal financial systems, to the development of legal and law enforcement systems that protect property rights, to macro-policies toward international trade. So the term policy is really just a short hand expression for almost any kind of action development actors might take to encourage development.
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Development economics: introduction and overview

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