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PED-309: Development Policy Strategy

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Harvard Kennedy School

PED-309: Development Policy Strategy

Description: This course will integrate the analyses of short- and long-run dimensions of development in the design of an overall development strategy. The course will review various determinants of economic growth, macroeconomic volatility, and income distribution, such as factor accumulation, demography, geography, and institutions. It will develop the tools necessary for diagnosing growth constraints, macroeconomic imbalances, fiscal policy, trade, the performance of financial and labor markets, and the sources of inequality and volatility, with an eye toward relevant policy issues. Students will learn to employ all available information to generate a diagnostic of the development challenges and opportunities that countries face and will be required to design an overall development strategy for a country of their choice. 

Faculty Ricardo Hausmann

Source: At (accessed 20 January 2014)


Teaching Topics Addressed in this Course, Organized by Public Management Subject



Additional Course Description in Syllabus

As opposed to the typical academic setting in which theories are presented – normally one at a time - and some implications are derived, policymakers are presented with data and it is up to them to try to interpret it using alternative theories.  

This course tries to bridge this gap between the deductive method that characterizes much of academia and the inductive approach, which is typical of the policy world. The course is divided into four sections.  The first section discusses the various determinants of growth and introduces the growth diagnostic framework.  The second evaluates in detail structural factors that influence growth; demographics, geography, inequality, structural transformation and institutions. The third section deals with the macro stance of the country. The challenge for the policymaker is to find a coherent diagnostic narrative that can make sense simultaneously of observations about growth, macro balances and social outcomes.  We will also assess fiscal problems, looking not only at how the fiscal situation affects the macro but also the underlying determinants of the fiscal stance, including debt dynamics, political economy and the budget processes. We will look into the causes and sources of macroeconomic volatility, identifying the more structural causes of a country’s instability.  At every stage, the associated policy issues will be discussed and related to the challenges and trade-offs of institutional design.  The final section concludes.

Commentary by the Atlas editors: The class titles provide candidates for topic titles to be developed by the Atlas:

  • From asset accumulation to knowledge; what drives growth?
  • The escape from the Malthusian trap
  • Knowledge and structural transformation
  • The policies of structural transformation
  • Institutions
  • Growth diagnostics
  • Inequality and labor markets
  • Macro
  • Financial markets: problems and policies
  • Volatility
  • Fiscal Policy
  • From diagnostics to therapeutics
  • A Policy Making World View

Page created by: Ian Clark, 20 January 2014. The content presented on this page, except in the Commentary, is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases.




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School of Public Policy and Governance