Development Economics

Among the world poor, nearly 70% are rural, and agriculture and natural resources play an important role in their livelihoods. As a consequence, there is much demand for the contributions of economists and agricultural economists in helping to devise and implement solutions. We prepare students to address these issues through research, teaching, project development, and policy advice.

The determinants of economic growthThe field covers a wide range of problems. Indeed, the breadth of concerns and their inter-relatedness is one of its characteristics compared to other domains of economic analysis.

  • The definition of country-specific development strategies in the context of globalization
  • The role of agriculture in economic development
  • Technological and institutional innovations
  • The political economy of policy-making
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Health and education
  • Household livelihood strategies
  • Community development and local forms of governance
  • Environmental sustainability and conservation
  • Cultural norms and institutions
  • Issues specific to gender and ethnicity.

To achieve its goals, the field pursues a variety of approaches. Rigorous economic modeling and use of advanced econometric techniques are essential to ensure the highest quality in research. For this reason, much of the teaching is oriented at providing students with these skills. In-depth knowledge of selected areas, inter-disciplinary work, and fieldwork are also needed to address the specificity of particular situations.

The development field is fully integrated with the Economics Department, with courses and seminars jointly offered by the two departments. By nature, it calls upon a wide range of disciplines for which students can take full advantage of the tremendous wealth of expertise available at U.C. Berkeley, one of the most cosmopolitan campus in the nation. International and Area Studies and the numerous Area Centers on the Berkeley campus offer unique resources that complement what the academic departments offer to students in the field.

Reflecting the policy importance of the subject, the faculty is dedicated not only to academic pursuits, but also to policy and program advice to foreign governments, development agencies, non-governmental organizations. Similarly, some students prepare to pursue academic careers, while others prefer to work closer to policy makers and projects managers, finding employment in international development agencies and in the private and non-profit sectors.