The Economics of Growth and Development

Dr Nick Drydakis

In developed countries, with recession looming and unemployment rising, social planners are trying to find ways of stimulating economic growth through productivity. Economic growth is important because it allows prosperity to rise and more people to find jobs. Elections are won or lost on the economy’s record of growth. In addition, in developing countries high growth rates reduce poverty. China, India and Africa’s sustained growth rates over the last few decades have taken hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

Economic development is fundamental in this as well because it demonstrates the ways in which growth impacts on a society by increasing standards of living: improvements in health and mental health provisions, the quantity and quality of food which can be supplied, and in working conditions. The measurement of economic development includes looking at the roles of early childhood education, neighbourhood desegregation, innovation, trade and legislative reforms.

This course examines how economies can be supported to grow and develop. Growth and development are not synonymous. Economic growth aims to increase a country’s national income. Development aims to generate positive qualitative changes. However, both indicators are continuous processes affecting a country’s welfare and social progress.

We will examine how a country can increase the size of its national income, and also how increased growth can impact on a society by improving the development indicators. The determinants of positive, zero, and negative growth are evaluated, as well as how growth and development are affected by changes in:

  • Population numbers
  • Resources
  • Infrastructure
  • Innovation
  • Governmental intervention
  • Institutions (political, legislative and monetary) and
  • Stability (including the effects of negative shocks)

During the course, we unravel the secret of the “economic miracle” of many Asian countries which have experienced high positive growth and development rates. How poor economies can evolve into relatively prosperous ones is of critical importance. In addition, given the current US and EU economic crises, the issues of economic growth and development are very topical and merit investigation. Comparisons between regions are offered and alternative policy implications are presented. We examine longstanding statistics regarding both growth and development policies in the US, EU, China, India, Africa and UAE through the focusing lens of economic theory.

Intended Audience

This course is a most fundamental one for those students interested in building the effectiveness of their knowledge concerning the factors affecting a country’s performance. It discusses the theoretical explanations offered by economists and social scientists, and examines the writings of leading experts. By the end of this course, students should be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of alternative explanations of economic growth and development in both developed and developing countries.

Upon completion of the course, students should have a knowledge of how social scientists define, evaluate, measure and would attempt to boost both economic growth and development. The course provides the theoretical and practical knowledge students need to work on economic growth and development and provides a solid basis and training for a wide range of posts in the public sector and in research centres.

Previous Knowledge

No previous knowledge of economics is required, although this may be advantageous. However, students should be comfortable manipulating mathematical equations and evaluating empirical tables, and diagrams.

Transferable Knowledge and Skills

This course introduces the tools of economic theory to the student and develops their understanding of the factors affecting both economic growth and development. In addition, it examines how growth and development interact with each other and thus affect a country’s well-being indicators. Students are encouraged to develop their own abilities in critical reading and writing and to formulate arguments based on their own viewpoints – related to the problems and policy actions pertaining to both economic growth and development. At the end of the course, students will be capable of evaluating a country’s performance and of offering theoretically and empirically informed growth and development policy strategies.