Why Development Economics Should Be More Heavily Weighted In The A-Level Syllabus

The science of Economics is at its truest sense when its theories are used to help improve and sustain quality of life. To me therefore, the study of Development Economics is the single most important area of economics, that deserves more weighting in the A-Level syllabus. Currently, only the surface of Development Economics is scratched during A-Level, as development is either paired with globalisation, or “Ways of Measuring Development”. Neither of these provide sufficient depth to understand the essence and importance of Development Economics, as a vehicle to reduce international inequality and poverty within developing countries.

Over the last 30 years, there has been an unprecedented high level of growth within developing nations. Nations such as Botswana, China, and Brazil have seen their GDP per capita’s increase vastly, to the point where they have become self-sufficient, and not reliant on developed countries’ aid. These are the developing countries, but are not the countries that deserve the most attention in Development Economics. In Paul Collier’s “The Bottom Billion,” international economies are split into three categories : developed, developing, and the bottom billion. He argues that currently, there are a selection of economies that are stagnating, caught in a cycle of conflict, myopic policies, and resource deprivation. These “Bottom Billion” countries are in need of the most research and study to escape their vicious cycle; and in order to encourage the new generation of economists to develop theories on how to help these countries, it is vital that Development Economics is given increased significance on the A-Level syllabus.

Development EconomicsIndeed, as well as teaching Development Economics as a separate element to the course, it would also be important to implement aspects of Development Economics into pre-existing sections of the course. For instance, currently a great deal of the macro-economic section of the A-Level course focuses on different policy tools, and their usage and effectiveness. Perhaps when evaluating the effectiveness of said policy, the syllabus should also discuss its relative success when implemented in a developing economy, and the factors necessary for its potential benefit. This would allow the syllabus to become multidimensional, as students would learn about the necessary conditions for policy success through the lens of various economies and their various levels of development.

Therefore, the promotion of Development Economics is imperative to encouraging sustainable growth within the “bottom billion” countries, and thereby reducing international inequality and poverty. In order to encourage the next generation of economists to further deepen our understanding of Development Economics, it is vital that students are made aware of the challenges that developing countries face, as well as being receptive to discussion on how different economies may develop given their circumstance. If syllabi do not encourage this research, then the science of Economics will be poorly positioned to provide sufficient intellectual aid to developing countries, which may be detrimental to global efforts to help developing economies escape social stagnation.