Poverty and Prosperity: Foundations of Economic Development

What shapes the destiny of nations? Why do some nations flourish while others grapple with underdevelopment? How can policymakers create a beacon of well-being—particularly economic well-being—in the world’s underdeveloped areas? This course regards economic development not just as a destination but as an ongoing journey. We will examine regions where successful stories have emerged, and together, we will seek to understand the intricate interplay between states and markets, the ability of governments to perform essential functions, the role of different political regimes, and the potential tension between economic expansion and equitable distribution. The course will begin by defining what success and failure in development mean and then consider potential pathways to economic well-being. We will examine unique tales of success and failure in thedeveloping world, from East Asia’s rapid ascent to the nuanced stories of Latin America, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. As we examine theoretical and historical insights, we will also explore real-world applications of theory, diving into political and legal reforms, innovative policy measurement methods, and cutting-edge technologies poised to reshape the distribution landscape. Students will examine scholarly readings and diverse examples of policy proposals from academics, NGOs, international bodies, and states. Together, we will craft a panoramic view of development grounded in optimism, innovation, and the shared aspiration for a more equitable future for all.

Dinsha Mistree
Affiliate, Neukom Center for the Rule of Law, Stanford Law School; Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford

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Online, instructor-led
Jan 22 - Mar 18, 2024
Stanford Continuing Studies