SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Comparative Growth: Contemporary Debates

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2021/2022
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 2

Comparative Growth: Contemporary Debates builds on theories of economic growth and structural change introduced in Comparative Growth: Theoretical Approaches, and extends them to conteporary debates in major economies of Asia and Africa since 1950. It introduces students to broader debates linking growth to poverty, inequality, international trade, foreign aid, conflict, gender, and climate change. The majority of the course is comparative but towards the end introduces case studies on specific countries and regions.


153401010 Comparative Growth: Theoretical Approaches

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Acquired an understanding of a range of contemporary debates relating to basic economic and developmental issues on growth;
  • Acquired an understanding of the experience of growth in contemporary Asian and African economies.
  • Developed essay-writing skills, gained experience of giving a seminar presentation, and be able to present complex arguments under the time pressures associated with and unseen exam

Scope and syllabus

1.         Poverty and Growth

2.         Inequality, Growth and Development

3.         International Trade

4.         Foreign Aid and Growth

5.         Conflict, Growth and Development

6.         Issues in Gender, Growth and Development

7.         Climate Change and Growth Impacts

8.         India Since Independence

9.         China Since 1978

10.        Structural Change and Industrialisation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: Exam 70%, Coursework 20% (1 essay of 2500 words) Tutorial presentation 10%.

Suggested reading

Core Reading: 

Chang, H. J. (2014). Economics: The User's Guide (London: Pelican).

Cypher, J. M. and Dietz, J. L. (2008). The Process of Economic Development, 3rd edition, London: Routledge.

Szirmai, A. (2005). The Dynamics of Socio-Economic Development, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Todaro, M. P. and Smith, S. C. (2011). Economic Development, Harlow: Addison Wesley

Additional Reading:

Easterly, W. (2001). The Elusive Quest for Growth. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Easterly, W. (2013). The Tyranny of Experts. New York: Basic Books.

Acemoglu, D. and Robinson, J. A. (2012). Why Nations Fail. London: Profile Books.

Sachs, J. (2008). Common Wealth. London: Penguin.

Nayyar, D. (2013). Catch Up: Developing Countries in the World Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chang, H. J. (2002). Kicking Away the Ladder. London: Anthem Press [other books by Chang offer a similar perspective].

Rosling, H., Rosling, O, and Rosling, A. (2018). Factfulness: 10 Reasons Why We’re Wrong About the World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think. London: Sceptre


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules