72936 - Theory and Empirics of Comparative Development

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

This is a graduate-level course in growth economics and long term development. The course presents a detailed analysis of the state of the art research on long run growth in both a time series and a cross-country perspective. Topics include theoretical and empirical analysis of the fundamental determinants of economic growth from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The course focuses attention, in particular, on the role of economic and political institutions, geography and demography. By the end of the course the student will acquire theoretical and empirical tools that allow him/her to get a deep understanding of the recent literature, to build his/her own critical views, and to start undertaking original research in the field.

Course contents

- Stylized Facts and Macro-Theories of Long Run Comparative Development

- Theories and Empirics Democratization and Economic Growth.

- Interactions between Demographic and Economic Development

- Recent Research Advances with Disaggregated (geo-referenced) Data, historical data and spatial analysis.

- Bridging Theoretical Predictions and Empirical Analysis


The in dept study of the theories and empirical analysis is based on articles published in english in top journals in economics and political science. The updated list of articles, covering papers published until 2020 and discussion papers and will be made available at the beginning of the course.

Teaching methods

Slides and Blackboard.



Assessment methods

A take-home exam and a presentation/discussion of one or more articles selected of interest for the students and/or selected out of a reading list.


The final evaluation will be conditional of the achieved understanding of the literature with:

• <18: insufficient

• 18-23: sufficient

• 24-27:good

• 28-30: very good

• 30 e lode: excellent

Teaching tools

PDF slides of the course distributed to students.

Office hours

See the website of Matteo Cervellati