Politics of Development in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

The purpose of this course is to examine the effects of political factors on economic development in SubSaharan Africa and South Asia.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Acquire a critical introduction to the principal analytical approaches to the study of political economy such as rational choice theory and historical institutionalism
  • Apply such theories to case studies of political economy to gain an insight into how the differing combinations of political and economic factors produce different ‘pathways’ of development
  • Acquire general skills of research and presentation of arguments in both verbal and written forms


2 hours lecture per week

1 hour tutorial per week

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introduction to course
  2. The political and economic consequences of geography
  3. Historic trajectories (1): Post-colonial state and Institutions
  4. Historic trajectories (2): Post-colonial economic policies and urban bias
  5. Transition to neo-liberalism
  6. Development under neo-liberalism (1): The Structural Adjustment Programmes in Africa and Economic Liberalisation in India 1991
  7. Development under neo-liberalism (2): Good governance, reforming institutions, tackling corruptio
  8. Development under neo-liberalism (3): Globalisation, Africa Rising and the return of South-South Development Cooperation
  9. Developmental State in Africa: Emulating East Asia?
  10. Conclusions: prospects for the future.

Method of assessment

Assessment is 40% coursework (one 2000 word essay), 60% unseen examination (2 hours).

Suggested reading

  • Chang (2002), H.-J. Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective, London: Anthem Press.
  • Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty,
  • Bates R. (1981), Markets and States in Tropical Africa: The Political Basis of Agricultural Policies, Berkeley and London: University of California Press
  • Chabal P. and Daloz J.-P. (1999), Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument, Oxford: James Currey.
  • Moss, Todd J. (2011 edition). African development (1st or 2nd Ed). London, Lynne Rienner
  • Bardhan, P (1984), The Political Economy of Development in India, Oxford University Pres
  • Chibber, V (2003), Locked In Place: State-Building and Late Industrialisation in India, Princeton University Press.
  • Kohli, Atul S. 2004. State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery. Cambridge University Press.
  • Rudoloph, L.I and S.H.Rudolph (1987), In Pursuit of Lakshmi: The Political Economy of the Indian State, Chicago University Press


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules