edX: From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development

 with  Sir Paul Collier

How can poor societies become prosperous and overcome obstacles to do so? Professor Sir Paul Collier is one of the world’s leading scholars on this question, and in this economics course you will have the opportunity to learn from him directly.

This course will discuss and examine the following topics:

  • The role of government and the key political, social and economic processes that affect development;
  • Why societies need polities that are both centralised and inclusive, and the process by which these polities develop; 
  • The social factors that are necessary for development, including the importance of identities, norms, and narratives;
  • The impact of economic processes on development, including discussion about how government policies can either promote or inhibit the exploitation of scale and specialisation;
  • The external conditions for development, including trade flows, capital flows, labour flows and international rules for governance.

Enrol in this course to understand the factors that influence economic development and the different development paths that countries across the world have taken.


Module 1: From Anarchy to a centralised State
Economic development needs polities that are centralised and inclusive. No society starts with such a polity. Starting from anarchy, what determines whether a centralised state emerges?

Module 2: From centralised to Inclusive States
Economic development needs polities that are centralised and inclusive. No society starts with such a polity. What are the factors that develop a centralised state into an inclusive one?

Module 3: Power, Identities and Narratives
Economic development needs an alignment between power and identities. What happens when power and identities are misaligned and how can that misalignment be addressed?

Module 4: Growth through Urbanisation and Industrialisation
Economic development depends upon exploiting scale and specialisation, but poor societies start with neither. How can government policies promote or inhibit the exploitation of scale and specialisation?

Module 5: External Influences: Trade flows, Capital flows, Labour flows, and International Governance Rules
The political, social and economic processes covered in previous modules are fundamentally internal. External influences are peripheral but may still matter, for good or ill.

Module 6: Final Assignment
The details of the final assignment and instructions on how to complete it will be available in this module.
2 Student
Cost Free Online Course
Pace Upcoming
Subject Economics
Institution University of Oxford
Provider edX
Language English
Certificates $49 Certificate Available
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What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

2 reviews for edX's From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development

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5 months ago
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Mariana Marcondes completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
Captivating subject, charismatic instructor, plenty of opportunities to think on the lessons and apply them to the reality around me.
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6 months ago
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Philipp Straub completed this course.
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