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NBS8652: Political Economy of Sustainable Development

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Soeren Henn
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 999 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module is designed to provide students with an introduction to political economy and development economics with a focus on sustainability issues. Students will be introduced to basic principles of political economy theory, and the major approaches in causal inference to microeconomics research will be discussed. The module will then apply theoretical and empirical approaches from political economy to various topics in sustainable development.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will cover the list of topics below, though not necessarily in this order:

1. Political Economy Theory

  • Individual Choice
  • Group Choice
  • Collective Action
  • Externalities
  • Institutions

2. Causal Inference Methods

  • Experiments
  • Instrumental Variables
  • Differences-in-Differences
  • Regression Discontinuity

3. Topics in Sustainable Development

  • Agriculture and Food Security
  • Population Pressure
  • Water
  • Forests
  • Droughts and Famines
  • State Capacity and Environmental Protection
  • Climate Adaptation

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
CategoryActivityNumberLengthStudent HoursComment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Lecture 14 2:00 28:00 PiP lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities Small group teaching 6 1:00 6:00 PiP sessions
Guided Independent Study Directed research and reading 1 50:00 50:00 n/a
Guided Independent Study Independent Study 1 50:00 50:00 n/a
Guided Independent Study Assessment preparation and completion 1 66:00 66:00 n/a
Total 200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
  • Lectures introduce material by providing an in-depth survey of contemporary theory as well as practical issues in the field.
  • Small group teaching is used to take students through sets of problems attempted in self-study.Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
ComponentSemesterWhen SetPercentageComment
Essay 1 1 A 100 Written Report (3,000 words): political economy analysis
Formative Assessments
ComponentSemesterWhen SetComment
Prob solv exercises 1 1 M Exercises sets, followed by group feedback
Prob solv exercises 2 2 M Seminar questions provided
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
  • The formative assessments, including Problem Solving Exercises 1 and 2, are designed to foster active engagement and critical thinking. The first set involves exercises followed by group feedback, promoting collaborative learning and immediate improvement opportunities. The second set, Seminar Questions, aims to refine problem-solving skills through discussions. These formative assessments serve as preparatory steps for the summative assessment, the 3000-word written report.
  • The summative assessment aligns with the learning outcomes of the module by allowing students to apply theoretical concepts to real-world problems. This length provides ample space for students to conduct a thorough political economy analysis, demonstrate understanding of theoretical concepts and causal inference approaches, as well as critically evaluate recent research, fostering a comprehensive exploration of sustainable development issues within a political context.