Course: ECON 581-073 (W, 7:30-10:20, Econ/Finance Grant Seminar Room)
Term: Fall 2004
Instructor: Professor Garett Jones
Office hours: Alumni Hall 3132, MW 4-6, M 7:15-8, and gladly by appt.
Phone: (618) 650-2982
Economists look at economic growth in a number of different ways: They write down dynamic models that can explain real-world facts, they study anecdotes and patterns throughout world history, and they try to explain why politicians in many countries are unable or unwilling to implement growth-promoting policies. In the course of this semester, we will use a wide set of tools from the economist’s toolbox to gain an understanding of why some nations are rich and others are poor.
I will assume that all students in this course are comfortable with basic statistics, including multiple regression, at a level similar to MS 251. I also assume that you have completed a principles of economics course and have taken EITHER intermediate macroeconomics OR intermediate microeconomics, similar to Econ 302 or Econ 301, respectively. I also assume familiarity with differential calculus. If you have concerns about these prerequisites, please feel free to discuss your concerns with me.
David Weil, Economic Growth, Addison-Wesley, 2005.
William Easterly, The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics, MIT Press, 2001. (available in paperback)
The Weil book will form the foundation of the course; you must read ALL appendices of Weil’s text. The Easterly book is designed to flesh out Jones’s textbook approach with real-world tales of failed 20th-century economic development programs.
Most other course readings are available SIUE’s online journal databases, http://www.library.siue.edu/lib/info/periodb.html. You can find individual journal titles via SIUE’s TDNet journal management system.
20% of your grade will be based on a roughly 20-minute presentation that you will give to the class during the last few weeks of the semester. You will discuss one factor that you believe IS important for raising long-run living standards, and one factor that you believe IS NOT important (though widely believed to be important). This will give you a chance to address widely-held misconceptions about why countries have different living standards. You will also hand in and be graded on a paper on the same subjects. Details will be provided later in the semester.
Course Outline and Reading Assignments
Week 1: The Facts of Growth and the Mathematical Tools of Growth
Weil, Chapter 1 and 2.
Sala-i-Martin, “I just ran two million regressions,” American Economic Review, May 1997. Available via
JSTOR (and handout).
Week 2: The Solow Model
Weil, Chapter 3 (including Appendix).
Easterly, Prologue and Chapter 1.
Week 3: Before Solow mattered: The Malthus model.
Weil, Chapter 4.
Amartya Sen, “Population: Delusion and Reality,” available at:
Burkhard Bilger, “The Height Gap,” available at:
Easterly, Chapters 2-3.
Week 4: Human Capital and Growth
Weil, Chapter 6.
Mankiw, Romer and Weil, “A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth,” Quarterly Journal of
Economics, 107 (May): 407-437. Available through JSTOR.
Jones and Schnieder, “Intelligence, Human Capital and Economic Growth,” available at:
Easterly, Chapters 3-4
Week 5: Technology and Productivity
Weil, Chapters 7 and 8.
Brynjolfsson and Hitt, “Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational
Transformation and Business Performance,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2000, pages 23-48. Available through PROQUEST.
“Information technology and the
Easterly, Chapter 5
Week 6: New Growth Theory: Modeling the change in technology
Weil, chapter 9.
Easterly, Chapter 6.
Adam Smith, “Wealth of Nations,” Introduction and Chapters 1-3, available online at:
Lucas, “The Industrial Revolution: Past and Future,” available at:
Week 7: Midterm Examination
Week 8: Efficiency: Why aren’t all countries on the technological frontier?
Weil, Chapter 10
Easterly, Chapter 7.
Wirtz, “Mining for Missing Links” available at:
Hubbard, “Information, Decisions, and Productivity: On-Board Computers and Capacity Utilization in
Trucking,” American Economic Review, September 2003. Available at:
Week 9: Government and Trade
Weil, Chapter 11-12.
Olson, “Big Bills Left on the Sidewalk: Why Some Nations are Rich, and Others Poor,”
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 10, No. 2. (Spring, 1996), pp. 3-24. Available via JSTOR.
Easterly, Chapter 8-9
Week 10: Economic Inequality and Development.
Weil, Chapter 13
Secor, “Mind the gap the debate over global inequality heats up,” available at:
Lant Pritchett, “Divergence, Big Time,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 1997.
Available via JSTOR
Sala-i-Martin, “The Disturbing "Rise" of Global Income Inequality,” available at:
Easterly, Chapter 10
Week 11: Culture and/or Institutions
Weil, Chapter 14
Francis Fukuyama, “Culture and Economic Development,” available at:
Gregory Clark, “Why Isn’t the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills,” Journal of
Economic History, March 1987, pages 141-173. Available through JSTOR.
Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson, “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical
Investigation.” Available at:
Easterly, Chapter 11.
Weil, Chapter 15
The Economist, Survey:
Brad DeLong, “India Since Independence: An Analytic Growth Narrative,” online at:
Paul Collier and Jan Willem Gunnning, “Why Has
Perspectives, Summer 1999, pages 3-22. Available via JSTOR.
Acemoglu, Johnson, and
Robinson, “An African Success Story:
Easterly, Chapter 12
Week 13: What are the world’s biggest problems?
Weil, Chapter 16
Copenhagen Consensus, http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com and
Easterly, Chapter 13
Easterly, Chapter 14.
Week 15: Is Y/L really the right number to study?
Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom, Preface, Introduction, and Chapters 1 and 2. (Handout)
In addition to the presentation, you will have four homework assignments, one midterm, and a (mostly) comprehensive final. The class participation grade will be based on your attendance and your informed contribution to class discussion. Completing each week’s reading assignment before that week’s lecture will help ensure a good class participation grade.
Class Participation 5%
Final Exam 35%