MA Seminar: Big Ideas in Development

During the Summer term 2023, Anke Hoeffler taught a seminar on "Big Ideas in Development". The idea was to reintroduce students to reading and discussing books, rather then exclusively relying on research papers. After five introductory sessions into basic concepts of poverty, development, and growth, we organized a two-day symposium, where 14 students presented the book they had been assigned. With the huge help of KIM subject specialist Judith Heeg, we set up a literature collection at the library. The reading list included books such as Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoğlu and James A. Robinson, The Globalization Paradox by Dani Rodrik or Poor Economics by Abhijit V. Banerjee und Esther Duflo. It was an enriching experience to see students enjoying a differently structured seminar and contributing to the debate on some of today's most relevant issues. We concluded the symposium by creating a collaborative mindmap in Miro to capture of the books' key findings and to illustrate their linkages. For the written assignment, students will compare and contrast their book with another from the list, with the aim of exploring academic controversies in the realm of development research.