About this course
This course is part of the new MITx MicroMasters program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP). To enroll in the MicroMasters track or to learn more about this program and how it integrates with MIT’s new blended Master’s degree, please visit the MicroMasters portal.
This is a course for those who are interested in the challenge posed by massive and persistent world poverty, and are hopeful that economists might have something useful to say about this challenge. The questions we will take up include: Is extreme poverty a thing of the past? What is economic life like when living under a dollar per day? Are the poor always hungry? How do we make schools work for poor citizens? How do we deal with the disease burden? Is microfinance invaluable or overrated? Without property rights, is life destined to be "nasty, brutish and short"? Should we leave economic development to the market? Should we leave economic development to non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? Does foreign aid help or hinder? Where is the best place to intervene? And many others.
At the end of this course, you should have a good sense of the key questions asked by scholars interested in poverty today, and hopefully a few answers as well.
Our course previews are meant to give prospective learners the opportunity to get a taste of the content and exercises that will be covered in each course. If you are new to these subjects, or eager to refresh your memory, each course preview also includes some available resources. These resources may also be useful to refer to over the course of the semester.
A score of 60% or above in the course previews indicates that you are ready to take the course, while a score below 60% indicates that you should further review the concepts covered before beginning the course.
Please use the this link to access the course preview.
What you'll learn
- To identify and analyze some of the root causes of underdevelopment using principles of economics
- To understand the unique constraints and trade-offs the poor face when making decisions
- How to interpret the findings of empirical research that evaluates the effectiveness of anti-poverty strategies, policies, and interventions (including strengths and weaknesses of research)
- A basic understanding of various econometric tools used in development research, which will provide the foundation for participating in more technical courses in development economics
Week One: Introduction & Poverty Traps and Experiments
Week Two: Food
Week Three: Health
Week Four: Education
Week Five: Family
Week Six: Risk and Insurance
Week Seven: Credit
Week Eight: Savings
Week Nine: Entrepreneurship
Week Ten: Institutions & Conclusion