This course offers an introduction to selected topics in development economics. The aim is to improve the students' understanding of the major constraints impeding the economic development of rural areas in developing countries. The focus is on smallholders' access to production factors, mainly in agriculture.
Chapter 1: Access to credit
Rural households' lack of access to credit is a major determinant of poverty. The first part of this chapter provides an explanation of why credit is so scarce and financial markets fail to reach poor households. Mixed contracts by which purchasers of agricultural products act as lenders are briefly examined. Finally, some principles of microfinance are analyzed.
Chapter 2: Human capital
The second chapter is devoted to rural labor. On the one hand, the stock of rural labor depends on occupational and location decisions. Internal and international migrations are therefore tackled. The topics of migrants' remittances and the brain drain are briefly explored. On the other hand, human capital and wellbeing are strongly influenced by education. Some determinants of child labor and educational attainment are therefore examined in connection with access to credit (chapter 1) and intra-household relationships (chapter 3).
Chapter 3: Social capital
In contexts of market imperfection, social networks provide important services that the market does not deliver. Their role in agricultural trade is illustrated and students are introduced to some aspects of family economics.
This course may be seen as a complement to LBRAI2212 'Economie du développement rural' in which the development of agriculture is tackled from a sectoral point of view, together with elements of risk management and an introduction to labor and tenancy contracts.