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Course 2023-2024 a.y.


Department of Economics

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31 - 32

CLMG (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  12 credits SECS-P/01) - M (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - IM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - MM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - AFC (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - CLELI (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - ACME (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - DES-ESS (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - EMIT (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - GIO (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - DSBA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - PPA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - FIN (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.) - 32 (II sem.)

Synchronous Blended: Lezioni erogate in modalità sincrona in aula (max 1 ora per credito online sincrona)

Suggested background knowledge

Students attending this course should be familiar with econometrics, at least at introductory level. In particular, they should be familiar with topics as statistical inference and regression analysis. The course includes a brief program evaluation review.

Mission & Content Summary

People living in Low Income Countries (LICs) face several market imperfections, as for instance imperfect labor markets, lack of access to land and credit markets. This course analyzes the factors that constrain growth and development in poor countries, starting from individual choices related to health and education, to then study land credit and labor markets, continuing with public sector performance, and finally institutional features that shape the process of development. Particular emphasis is placed on the links between the formal and informal sector and the emergence of social norms that can be interpreted as a rational response to the economic environment. New advances in behavioral economics and development are also covered. The course mission is to provide students with analytical and empirical tools that enable them to understand household decisions and the functioning of markets and institutions in LICs. The methodological approach emphasizes the role of information, incentives and behavioral biases in examining from a microeconomic point of view how the poor cope with market imperfections. For each topic, recent theoretical contributions are proposed and compared to existing empirical evidence, in order to train the student to develop a research process that goes from the formulation to the test of hypotheses.


The course’s emphasis is placed on program evaluation, on the empirical analysis of education, health and microcredit policies, and on institutional constraints to development.

  • Economics of the family.
  • Program evaluation.
  • Education and health policy.
  • Land markets.
  • Credit and microfinance
  • Social norms and identity
  • Behavioral development
  • Media and development.
  • Conflict and development.
  • Labor markets and poverty traps.
  • Public service delivery

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Discuss theoretical contributions on development economics, including household bargaining models, moral hazard and adverse selection in markets, poverty traps and behavioral biases.
  • Explain empirical contributions and their relevance in the context of LICs.
  • Identify the connections between empirical and theoretical literature.
  • Recognize analytical and empirical tools of program evaluation useful to estimate the impact of public policies.
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Analyze theoretical models related to market imperfections faced in DCs.
  • Apply the appropriate analytical and empirical tools to study policies such as those related to education, health, and microcredit.
  • Interpret the empirical evidence from regression analysis.
  • Think critically and interact with classmates in a constructive way.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Group assignments

The learning experience of this course includes active participation of the students to the lectures. Students are encouraged to ask questions, bring their own views and to share their insights on the topics discussed in class.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •     x
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  •     x

    80% of the grade will come from a general exam with open ended questions; 20% from one or more group assignments.

    Teaching materials

    The course material, including articles and lecture notes, for both attending and non-attending students, are uploaded to the Bboard platform of the course. 

    Last change 11/12/2023 16:22