Steven W. Collins
Advanced course offerings designed to respond to faculty and student interests and needs. Topics include French Impressionism, social movements in late nineteenth-century Japan, international business and the changing European economic structure.
The theme of this course is economic growth: its causes and consequences, and especially why some countries are wealthier and grow faster than others. We define growth broadly to include rise in material living standards that is sustainable and consistent with shared norms of democracy, liberty, and social justice. We look in particular at the role of technological innovation, natural environment and geography, culture, public policy, and engagement with the international economy in shaping economic development.
Student learning goals
Gain insights into the sources of national wealth, and why the world's rich countries are rich and the poor countries poor.
Understand the role of technological innovation in shaping historical and contemporary patterns of national development.
Build skills in using social and economic indicators to evaluate and compare different countries.
Understand the role of public policy in managing economic growth and shaping it to achieve broader social, environmental, and political objectives.
Build competency in the use of the comparative method in analyzing and comparing political economies of different countries.
General method of instruction
Seminar format with some lecture but emphasis on class and small group discussion.
No formal prerequisite but at least one quarter of introductory macroeconomics or economic principles is strongly recommended. Courses on international political economy (BIS 324, for example), comparative political economy (BIS 320, for example), international business, managerial economics, technology management, world history, or business/economic history also provide good background for this course. MAPS students interested in economic development policy are especially encouraged to consider taking the course. Students interested in the topic but who lack any of these courses are encouraged to speak with the instructor.
Class assignments and grading
Active, informed participation in seminar discussion will be a major part of the course. A likely mix of assignments includes a short essay (3-5 pages); a longer research project (8-10 pages for undergraduates, 12-15 pages for graduate students) that compares economic growth and development in two countries, or that analyzes an economic growth problem in one country; and a data analysis assignment comparing countries using social and economic indicators.