Economics of Rural Development

lbrai2212  2022-2023  Louvain-la-Neuve

Economics of Rural Development
3.00 credits
30.0 h
General skills for a bio-engineering bachelor, micro-economics (e.g., LBIR1242 Principes d'économie) and introduction to game theory (e.g., LBIRA2104 Decision tools).
Main themes
Determinants that hamper or promote rural development are analyzed in their context. Some peculiarities of rural development lead to the identification of a list of missing markets. To fulfil the social functions that are thus left unattended, rural communities set up institutional solutions to problems of insurance, credit, labour exchange and land tenure. A particular attention is devoted to the transition from a subsistence economy to a market-oriented economy with a focus on the structural adjustment of the agro-food sector: transfer of the agricultural surplus, investment in productivity and market, technological and institutional innovations, gains from international trade. Poverty and food insecurity are both issues that are analysed transversally through these topics.
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 With respect to the learning outcomes of the Bio-engineering in agricultural sciences, this course contributes to the following main learning outcomes:
1.1 - 1.5, 2.1 - 2.5: Industrial organisation, agricultural transformation, structural adjustment (theory and empirics)
3.1 - 3.4, 3.6 - 3.8: Matching real situations with archetypal problems, solving models and interpreting the abstract results
4.1 - 4.2: Identifying typical problems in complex situations
4.4 - 4.7: Drawing lessons from abstract models for complex, real situations
7.1 -7.5: Development policy in a context of poverty and inequality
By the end of the course, students are able to:
-       master economic theory on the development of the agricultural sector,
-       analyze the transitions from a subsistence economy into a market-oriented economy,
-       understand the opportunities and the limits of the contributions of the development of the agro-food sector to economic development as a whole,
-       understand technological and institutional innovations to foster the development of the agro-food sector,
-       understand opportunities and limits of policy instruments in favour of rural development,
understand specific obstacles to rural development rural and their traditional, institutional solutions through economic models (game theory, political economics, partial and general equilibrium models).
Part 1 : Students learn more about the processes of rural development with a particular focus on the Global South. Five topics are covered:
1) Introduction of different concepts of development, distinguishing between monetary and non-monetary based indicators
2) The role of agricultural transformation in rural development, highlighting how development thinking and policies have changed over time
3) Decisions that farm-households take and how market imperfections influence these decisions
4) Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in poor, rural areas
5) Food and nutrition security, and the link with agricultural transformation
Part 2 : Students read a book or selected chapters of a book chosen by the teachers. Following a guidance sheet, they compile an operational summary of the book and raise two questions about the arguments put forward by the author (the type of relevant question is defined in the guidance sheet). Furthermore, with the occasional help of the teachers, each student must suggest an informed tentative answer to her own questions. The questions and answers are sent to the teachers before a debate organized at the end of the semester ; questions raised by the students are confronted and answered during the debate.
Teaching methods
Classes, directed reading, oriented questions and answers, debate
Evaluation methods
Part 1 : Essay
Part 2 : Preparatory report, quality of participation during the debate.
Other information
The course will be taught in English. Students are expected to participate in an English-spoken debate.
Online resources
Variable ; e.g. Paul Collier « The Bottom Billion » (various editions).
Teaching materials
  • Slides on moodle
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Minor in Development and Environment

Master [120] in Forests and Natural Areas Engineering

Master [120] in Agriculture and Bio-industries

Master [120] in Agricultural Bioengineering