In this course, students acquire empirical skills to analyze critical issues in global development. Students apply simple quantitative tools to data from low-income countries to examine the economic strategies of households and the policy choices of governments. Examples range from using household-level data to identify the effect of central government policies on poverty and inequality in Mexico to examining how market failures and unremunerated household labor lead to underinvestment in the education of girls and women. Other topics covered include how the choice of a human development measure affects economic policy, how individuals and households make migration decisions, how population policy affects--or doesn't affect--fertility choices, how to accurately identify the causal impact of development projects and whether microfinance helps participants escape poverty traps. The course draws heavily on the book Poor Economics for rich narratives about the lives of the poor and for recent insights from behavioral economics that can inform development policy. While Microsoft Excel is the main empirical tool, no experience with Excel is assumed.
Prerequisites: ECON 101