S1722 Introduction to Economic Growth (Sustainable Development Sp. Track)

Borisov Kirill, Vymyatnina Yulia

Course description

The process of economic growth and the sources of differences in economic performance across nations are some of the most interesting, important and challenging areas in modern social science. Economists have been thinking about economic growth since the days of Adam Smith. This effort has produced a better understanding of the sources of economic growth though many mysteries remain.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to these major questions and to the theoretical tools necessary for studying them. Discussions of theories and models developed to analyze growth are placed in the context of the broad empirically observed patterns and historical processes underlying the current state of the world economy. This course discusses what determines the economic growth, why some countries are growing while other are not, why some countries ended up being rich while many others remain poor, how globalization influences growth prospects of countries, and how historical, cultural, religious, institutional, geographic and other non-economic factors (dis)stimulate economic growth.

The course also provides a brief discussion of the place of the discussions of growth in economic discourse, of ethical and value judgments related to the issues of economic growth and technical progress, and if growth does make us happier.


Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • discuss the main empirical facts about economic growth;
  • explain the main economic and non-economic factors affecting economic growth;
  • use theoretical models for explaining main facts about economic growth including the difference of growth rates between different countries;
  • critically discuss these models and identify their limitations and fallings to account for empirical facts;
  • critically discuss the relation of economic growth to such global problems as environmental degradation, globalization, poverty and income inequality;
  • summarize the main points of ethical discussions and value judgments related to economic growth and technological progress as well as relations between economic growth and subjective well-being.


This course has no prerequisites. However, some basic mathematics, algebra, and graphing will be used.