DEC-53306 Economics and Policy of Agricultural Development


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. NBM Heerink
Lecturer(s)dr. NBM Heerink
dr. ir. MM van den Berg
Examiner(s)dr. ir. MM van den Berg
dr. NBM Heerink

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

DEC-20306 Rural Households and Livelihood Strategies; DEC-20806 Introduction to Development Economics; or similar courses in micro and macro development economics; basic knowledge of regression analysis.

Continuation courses:

DEC-30306 Central Themes in Economics of Development;
DEC-51806 Finance and Marketing in the Developing World.


It is increasingly recognised that development of the agricultural sector is crucial for poverty reduction and promoting food security. This course focuses on major economic aspects of agricultural development in less developed countries (LDCs) and on economic policies that intend to stimulate agricultural development in these countries. Much attention will be paid to the links between agricultural development and poverty reduction, food security and the environment. Topics covered in the course include the role of agriculture in economic development, rural-urban linkages, economics of fertilizer, land and water use, agriculture for nutrition, principles of agricultural policy analysis, and current policies to promote agricultural and rural development in LDCs. These topics may still be adjusted, depending on the interests expressed by the students that participate in the course. 

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand theoretical approaches in the economic analysis of agricultural and rural development in LDCs;
- understand the rationale behind agricultural policies, the expected impact and the potential limitations of such policies;
- apply quantitative analytical methods for (agricultural) policy analysis;
- report research results of (agricultural development) policy analysis to interested outsiders through 'policy briefs'.


Lectures on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, computer assignments on Thursday afternoons. Lectures and assignments do not interfere with those of Advanced Econometrics (YSS-34306), so interested students can take both courses during this period.
For the computer assignments, students will prepare computer exercises (in Excel and Stata) in which they apply quantitative methods to analyse agricultural policies based on available data sets for LDCs. Students are required to prepare a short report on the results of their analyses and to summarize the analyses for outsiders in so-called 'policy briefs' that summarise the main outcomes of the exercises, for an audience of interested outsiders. Computer assignments are prepared in groups of two students. There are three assignments in total; each assignment takes two full afternoons.


Based on:
- reports with answers to three assignments (15%) & two policy briefs based on first two assignments (15%);
- written exam with open questions (70%).
A minimum mark of 5.5 is required for part A. and for part B.


Selected recent articles and book chapters.