Published on Development Impact

Are you teaching or taking a class in development economics in a developing country?

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This is a joint post with Anna Luisa Paffhausen
We are currently conducting a study and survey on how development economics is taught in developing countries and would love your help getting the word out and/or participating.
Our survey is meant to be a stocktaking and study of whether and how developing economics is taught as part of an economics course in developing countries. We are focusing on undergraduate and masters level classes.
The aim is to use this to understand the following questions:
  • Is there a core of development economics taught worldwide and what topics does it constitute?
  • How does emphasis on different topics differ according to level of income and involvement of the state in the economy?
  • How much is development economics now taught as an empirical versus a theoretical subject?
  • How does knowledge flow from the research frontier to development economics classrooms?
Over the past weeks we have contacted more than 350 faculty members of economics departments in Europe and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, East Asia and Pacific, and South Asia, and invited them to participate in our survey. Identifying the relevant persons for our survey has already been quite a challenge. Ideally we would like the instructors of development economics classes to complete our survey and we have searched the websites of economics departments listed in the Index of Economics Departments, Institutes and Research Centers in the World provided by Repec for relevant information on classes offered, faculty staff teaching development economics and their contact details. But many websites of universities in developing countries do not provide the information needed for our purpose or are not working properly and so we often had to rely on general email addresses or general phone contacts for the economics departments. Calling the departments directly proved to be somewhat more helpful, but also in that case often the numbers provided do not work or connections are bad. These challenges, coupled with a generally low response rate for this kind of online survey, have led to a reasonably low response rate of 50 responses  (including incomplete responses) as of today.
This blog post is hence an alternative effort to reach out to faculty members teaching developing economics in developing countries to participate in our survey. We are collecting the syllabi of development economics classes, examples of the exams, as well as the answers of the short online survey in order to get consistent information on the content of development economics classes offered around the world. If you have taught developing economics in a developing country in the past three years, we would very much appreciate you answering our survey (We also have a French version) and sending the syllabi as well as final exam to If you are a student in a developing country, you could also share this link with your professor.
Completing the survey should only take about 15 minutes and the results will be kept confidential and will be used for research purposes only. No information will be presented from this research which could be used to identify individual teaching staff or institutions.
Finally, to encourage a prompt response, and as compensation for participation, all respondents who answer the survey by May 1, 2015, are eligible to a random draw for ten vouchers/ gift cards of the amount of USD 50 each.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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