Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Development Economics analyses human economic circumstances and how improving economic, social, fiscal and other important conditions can send developing nations on the trajectory of sustainable economic development. This subject will address current economic problems and issues facing developing countries, including, poverty trap, income, energy and health inequalities, malnutrition, unemployment, foreign debt and the unequal impact of globalisation. The unit will examine contemporary economic management policies and their effectiveness and alternative strategies that could be adopted when pursuing the goal of economic development. A case-study approach will be important in demonstrating the diverse nature of the problems facing developing economies and the policy responses that have been adopted.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Interpret economic concepts and their application to contemporary issues of economic growth and development (GA2, GA4, GA8,);

LO2 - Distinguish between economic growth and economic development and be able to measure them using various indicators (GA4, GA5, GA6);

LO3 - Use mathematical ideas and techniques and apply information technology in identifying and communicating economic trends as well as evaluating the impact of various policies (GA4, GA8, GA10);

LO4 - Identify and examine the main issues involved in achieving economic development and the problems faced in individual economies (GA2, GA4, GA8, GA10);

LO5 - Evaluate the alternative theoretical approaches and strategies that can be used in achieving economic development (GA2, GA4, GA8, GA9, GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • Distinguishing Between Economic Growth and Development; 
  • Characteristics of Developing Countries;  
  • Factors Affecting the Level of Development; 
  • Theories of Growth and Development; 
  • Population Growth, Unemployment and Poverty; 
  • Human capital: Health and Education; 
  • Inequality 
  • Land Reform and Economic Development; 
  • The Role of Trade in Development; 
  • The Role of Foreign Investment and Aid in Development; 
  • Third World Debt and Macroeconomic Stability - The Role of the IMF and World Bank; 
  • The Role of the Government in Economic Development; 
  • Successful development case studies: 
  • Asian Models of Growth; 
  • The Impact of Globalisation on Development. 
  • Impact of Globalization on Indigenous and First Nation communities 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be offered in attendance mode, multimode or online. 

This unit embraces a student-centred approach to learning where students are encouraged to interpret economic principles and apply these to contemporary development issues such as worldwide rise in income inequality, population trap, role of human capital in economic development, and others. To achieve the learning objectives outlined above, this unit provides content and theoretical information in face-to-face or online lectures. Tutorial workshops or online tutorial webinars engage students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, and problem-solving. This unit uses case studies to explore how what student have learned applies to real world situations. In addition, students in this unit will be encouraged to develop specific skills in locating economic information, critically analysing economic sources and economic case studies, and confident communication skills through research-based writing and in class presentation using various media.   

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Mode: Attendance, Multimode or Online

The assessments in this unit encourage students to develop a range of skills related to becoming an economics professional working in different real-life areas such as arts, global studies, teaching, law, and commerce. Assessments have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.

Since, students in this unit are encouraged to develop specific skills in locating economic information, critically analysing economic sources and data including indicators of economic wellbeing, and confident communication skills (presentation and research-based writing), we have chosen as assessments tasks in this unit: 

  1. Designated skill development activities. These activities are focused on gradual building of certain skills that are required in economics graduates including critical thinking, communication, data analysis and others. (These activities may be online depending on the mode and the topic covered).    
  2. Research assignment. This will allow students to analyse a certain case in economic development. They could choose for the analysis a certain issue (such as population trap or income inequality) or a particular developing or developed country and discuss its development trajectory.  
  3. Final examination. This final assessment will allow to test students’ knowledge of the topics studied during the semester and apply skills of economic analysis at the intermediate level.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Skills development task:  

A scaffolded task that requires students to consider and evaluate real world case studies. these activities will be based on the compulsory weekly readings or analysis of economic data or trends posted on the subject website. (These activities may be online.)


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, G10

Research assignment will 

  • be based on the analysis of particular country/region/development issue 
  • foster students to obtain superior research skills on locating and using primary and secondary international trade or finance related economic data and sources 
  • encourage students to obtain critical thinking skills through analysing economic data  
  • teach students to communicate clearly in written form to construct an evidence-based economic case with appropriate referencing. This also requires presenting their work in front of audience using various media.


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10

Final Examination 

The closed book final examination will allow students to apply the skills and knowledge acquired during the unit to a particular case of economic development, analyse real world economic issue (e.g. rising income inequality), and evaluate economic policies which might foster or delay development.


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA4, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Banerjee, A. and Duflo, E. (2012). Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. PublicAffairs. 

Iankova, K., Hassan, A., & L'Abbe, R. (Eds.). (2016). Indigenous People and Economic Development: An International Perspective. Routledge. 

Kim T.-Y., and Heshmati, A. (2014) Economic Growth: The New Perspectives for Theory and Policy. Springer. 

Nafziger, W. (2012), Economic Development. 5th Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.  

Reinert, E.S. (2019)  How Rich Countries Got Rich . . . and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor. PublicAffairs. 

Sanders, W. (2016). Engaging Indigenous Economy. Debating diverse approaches (Vol. 35). ANU Press. 

Sunna Cl., and Gualerzi, D. (2015). Development Economics in the Twenty-First Century. Routledge. 

Todaro, M. and Smith, S. (2015), Economic Development. 12th Edition. Addison Wesley, London. 

Thirlwall, A. and Pacheco-Lopez, O. (2017). Economics of Development. 10th edition. Macmillan.  

Van den Berg, H. (2012), Economic Growth and Development. World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd.  

Web resources: 

UNDP (various), Human Development Report. UNDP and Oxford University Press, Oxford. 

World Bank (various), World Development Report IBRD and Oxford University Press, Oxford. 

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