Core Courses

GHDP-501 Economics of Development: Growth

This course aims to familiarize students with the basic tools and concepts used to analyze and understand the process of economic growth. The course starts with the basics: the meanings and measurement of development and growth, including how to access and use important databases, the relationship between economic growth and other dimensions of development, and the overall growth and development experience of low-income countries and regions around the world. The course covers several major topic areas, including: (i) theories of economic growth and their relevance for developing countries; (ii) the underlying long term determinants of economic growth; (iii) theories and patterns of structural change; and (iv) the roles of agriculture, trade, demography, and human capital in economic growth. The course ends with discussions of both failures of growth (poverty traps) and the potential long-term sustainability of growth. Taught by Director Steven Radelet.

GHDP-502 Political Economy of International Development

Development is a complex process of change, involving complex interactions between economic, political, cultural and social forces. This course explores the role of the state in these processes. It introduces students to the methods and frameworks of political economy to provide important conceptual foundations. The course begins by discussing the role of the state in development. Next, it covers important themes such as the nature of institutions, processes of state formation, democratization, causes of government failure, causes of state failure, the challenge of fragile and/or failed states and issues of governance.

The class has three main learning goals. First, it provides students with some of the key theoretical and analytical skills and frameworks that are used in the field of politics and political economy, as relevant to your future careers in international development. Second, it trains students to become participants in the global debates about politics, economics and cultural change. Students will be exposed to some important examples and case studies from a number of countries. Third, it provides students with the opportunity to develop key written and oral communication skills that are frequently used by scholars, practitioners and policy-makers in this field. Taught by Irfan Nooruddin.

GHDP-503 Quantitative Methods for Research and Evaluation in Development

The purpose of this course is to equip students with the tools necessary to tackle projects involving the empirical analysis of development issues that they might encounter in a professional environment. Specifically, the course introduces students to basic statistical theory and techniques for analyzing data in the social sciences with an emphasis on empirical applications. The course is designed with twin objectives in mind. The first is to provide students with the ability to critique empirical research done by others at a level sufficient to make intelligent decisions about how to use that information in their work. The second is to provide students with the foundation required to conduct their own data analysis. Topics covered include research design, sampling and survey techniques, descriptive statistics (univariate and multivariate), hypothesis testing, and classical linear regression models. Students will also gain proficiency in the use of Stata. Taught by Charles Udomsaph.

GHDP-504 Strategy, Design and Implementation

This course is designed to acquaint GHD students with best practices in development planning and management that support rigorous and responsive program and project design, and to set the stage for effective implementation. The first segment of the course introduces strategies used by a range of different donor agencies and nontraditional actors to analyze critical development problems and formulate solutions to these problems. In the second segment, building on this material, student teams will learn, practice and apply standard analytical techniques used in the process of program and project design. Each team will tackle a complex development scenario in a specific country, and prepare a detailed design presentation that includes problem tree and root cause analysis, stakeholder analysis, economic analysis, and technical and institutional analysis. The teams’ design presentations will be reviewed and critiqued by a panel of experienced practitioners from agencies and implementing organizations in the Washington area. The third segment focuses on the process of organizing the implementation of program activities, including staffing, budgeting, work plans, and performance monitoring systems. Key topics in the course will be covered through selected readings, guest lectures and workshops, case studies, and interactive small group exercises in the classroom. Taught by Albert Barclay.

GHDP-505 Economics of Development: Poverty

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a conceptual framework and analytical tools, rooted in microeconomic theory, to design and evaluate policies aimed at reducing poverty and inequality in developing countries. After an overview of the measurement of poverty and inequality and recent trends, we will present the framework of market failures and government failures that explain these phenomena and suggest policies to address them. We will then examine interventions to reduce poverty and inequality along three dimensions: (i) expanding economic opportunities, especially employment; (ii) enhancing human capital, especially health and education; and (iii) protecting vulnerable populations from shocks. The course will conclude by applying the framework to four topics that are especially relevant to reducing poverty and inequality: (i) fragility and conflict; (ii) gender; (iii) urbanization; and (iv) politics.

GHDP-506 Evaluation for Development

A key challenge in development practice is determining whether development interventions have a measurable impact on living standards and measures of well-being. There are two sets of questions concerning social and economic impact: The first set concerns the impact of programs and initiatives that have been implemented or at least piloted on a small scale—the impact of conditional cash transfers on education, health and well-being of children, for example, or the impact of financial literacy training on the ability of households to manage their finances. The second set of questions concerns the poverty and social impact of programs and policy reforms that are yet to happen or have not yet taken place. Over the past decade, a large literature has emerged to attempt to answer these important questions.

This course exposes the students to key concepts and quantitative tools in impact evaluation and in ex ante poverty and social impact analysis. It will draw examples from studies and evaluations that have been conducted around the world in recent years. It will introduce students to experimental and non-experimental approaches that have been used in impact evaluation and simulation tools that have been used in ex ante analysis. Students will use Stata to analyze microeconomic data and apply various quantitative approaches. The empirical exercises include both in-class exercises and problem sets.  Taught by Erwin Tiongson.

GHDP-507 Development Finance

This course will familiarize students with the major tools and forms of development finance: foreign aid, debt, private capital, domestic finance, remittances, and philanthropy. We will examine the theory, mechanics, and practical advantages and disadvantages of various forms of development finance. Throughout the course, we will explore these issues both from the perspective of developing country governments and the perspectives other key groups (e.g., local citizens, donors, businesses, etc.). In building this knowledge, students will gain insights into the complexities, tensions, and trends in various forms of finance, and learn how the advantages and disadvantages can differ significantly for different actors. The course will provide frameworks and tools for better understanding various types of development finance and their applicability to different circumstances. Taught by Director Steven Radelet.

GHDP-598 Management Analysis & Practice I

This is the first half of a full-year 6-credit course, with 3 credits earned each semester. It is structured around weekly class discussions, small group work, and practical exercises in the classroom. The course has been designed to provide students with a perspective on management and leadership in the development field, and to support the year-long process of developing a Capstone Project that students will deliver to their client organizations in the spring of 2017. The range of potential clients includes government ministries, donor agencies and development banks, NGOs, social enterprises, corporations, and foundations. Students typically will work in teams of two, with a great deal of independence, and will be guided by the client, professors, and a faculty adviser.​ Each team will submit a Capstone Prospectus in late October, and a Detailed Capstone Outline at the end of the semester.The first part of the course is a six-week segment that focuses on Consulting Frameworks, Methods and Contests, with an emphasis on problem-solving skills required for crafting creative and practical solutions to the complex challenges faced by businesses, NGOs, and public sector agencies. Students will be exposed to a range of analytical frameworks and will apply these frameworks to case studies and their Capstone projects.​ ​ In the second half of the semester, students will become acquainted with organizational characteristics, business models, and management and decision-making processes across donor agencies, NGOs and private enterprises that implement development activities in the field.  Taught by Albert Barclay and Holly Wise.

GHDP-599 Management Analysis & Practice II

This course is a continuation of Management, Analysis & Practice in Development I (GHDP 598). It is designed to provide continued support to students as they prepare their Capstone projects​,​ and to expose ​them to leadership and change management issues in the development field. Similar to GHDP 598, it is a seminar-style course structured around weekly class discussions, small group work, and practical exercises in the classroom. The syllabus is organized around three themes. (1) Leadership Skills and Styles in a Changing Development Landscape equips students with the tools for understanding leadership roles within development organizations and introduces strategies for managing expectations and leading change. Additionally, it exposes students to emerging career paths in development and provides guidance and support as they develop their personal career strategies. (2) Capstone Analytics, Data Management, and Presentation Skills includes skills-oriented workshops designed to help students synthesize and present information collected as part of their Capstone projects. Additionally, students will be allotted class time to engage with peers to share ideas, progress, constraints, and challenges relating to their Capstone projects. (3) Capstone Completion and Delivery guides students through the completion of their Capstone projects, including preparation for client presentations and policy briefs which distill the results of each year-long project. Professors will provide guidance on developing final written deliverables and students will be allotted class time to engage with peers to work through remaining questions and constraints regarding their Capstone projects.  Taught by Albert Barclay and Holly Wise.