Walsh School of Foreign Service

AFSP 3395 Political Economy of Development in Africa

Ken Opalo  (new window)

Mon/Wed 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM

What is the role of politics in economic development? With material from Sub-Saharan Africa (and other parts of the developing world), this class provides an introduction to contemporary research on the political economy of development. The class explores the role of political institutions, leaders, and the international system in determining economic development outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa. We will examine how the process of historical state development has impacted the evolution of property rights institutions, trade, and public policy development in Africa. Specific questions addressed in the class will include: How do political institutions interact with economic conditions to produce specific policy outcomes? What explains the persistence of seemingly inefficient political and economic institutions in developing countries? Can political competition mitigate the effects of bad institutions? Have African states learned the lessons of the “resource curse”? And how do international actors – including donors, creditors, and foreign investors – impact development outcomes in Africa? The class will focus on specific cases with a view of situating current development research and discourse in the context of wider trends in the economic history of Sub-Saharan Africa.