COOL CLASSES: “Economic Development and Transformation: China vs. India”

COOL CLASSES: “Economic Development and Transformation: China vs. India”

Class name: Economic Development and Transformation: China vs. India

Taught by: Assistant Professor of Economics Saleha Jilani


Here’s what Jilani has to say about the course:

This is a survey course on the economic development and transformation experience over the past four decades in China and India. The course examines the economic structure and policies in the two countries, with a focus on comparing their recent economic successes and failures, their past development policies and strategies, and the factors affecting their current transformation process, from varying degrees of centrally planned communist/socialist economic systems, towards more decentralized, reforming hybrid economies combining plan and market. We examine various factors affecting economic development in these emerging economies, including the role of market failure versus government failure, globalization, and institutions. The principal goals for this course include engaging students in critical analysis of published research, exposing them to an application of key economic concepts and theories applied in the study of economic growth and development, and introducing them to the process of conducting original research.

The class includes a research project designed to help students learn something about globalization and about its impact on industrialization in China and India. The students choose one industry from a list of manufacturing and service sectors, and compare and contrast the development of this sub-sector across the two countries, with a particular focus on how this industry has been impacted by forces of globalization. Student papers and presentations address key issues that are particularly salient for developing countries, such as indigenous versus foreign control of firms (multinational subsidiaries versus indigenously owned private or state firms), market access (and branding), and technology transfer. Ultimately, they must answer the question: Should governments intervene to see that full advantage is taken of globalization, and if so, how?

I created this course because development economics has always been a research and teaching interest of mine, and I thought it would be interesting to examine how the two most populous countries in the world, which started out at a relatively similar level of development in the 1980s and ’90s but with really different political systems, development strategies and policies would differ. There was also lots of interest from students for an economics course focusing on South Asia.


Photo by Cole Sansom ’19.

See what other courses the Department of Economics is offering this semester.

Cool Classes is a recurring series on the Haverblog that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford College experience. 

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