Global firms and markets

A.A. 2019/2020
Crediti massimi
Ore totali
Obiettivi formativi
The course aims at providing the students with a clear understanding of the following issues:
· Key features of firms in developing countries
· Role of institutions, markets, infrastructure and finance in determining the performance of firms in developing countries
· How behavioral factors and social norms interact with economic determinants of firm outcomes
. Methods for the evaluation of the impact of policy interventions
Risultati apprendimento attesi
Expected learning outcomes (nuovo testo da inserire in W4)

Beside learning about the key institutional, market, infrastructural and social constraints faced by firms in developing countries, students will acquire a set of skills that will be useful for their future, both within and outside academia. The focus of the course on methodological aspects will help students acquire the ability to critically evaluate claims of causality and assess the impact of policy interventions. Moreover, the assignment for the course consists in writing a referee report for a recent working paper in the field of development economics. This exercise will improve students' ability to read critically an academic article, will give them the opportunity to practice their writing skills, and will inform their future thesis work by encouraging to think in depth about a topic of their choosing within the course curriculum.
Programma e organizzazione didattica

Edizione unica

Primo trimestre
Course Content:
Topic 1 - Intro, Development Accounting and Growth Models: We review key results of the development accounting literature and classic structural transformation models. We examine mechanisms of structural transformation and focus on structural transformation at the firm level.
Topic 2 - Institutions: We discuss the role of institutions in determining investment and productivity. In particular, we will focus on property rights and contract enforcement; corruption and distortions; taxation and entry regulations. When looking at entry barriers and taxes, we will discuss the roots of informality.
Topic 3 - Entrepreneurship and Development: We discuss the basic features of firms in developing countries. We review the evidence on return to capital, ask how market imperfections may limit enterprise growth, and review the micro-level evidence on constraints for firm growth in developing countries.
Topic 4 - Credit Markets in Developing Countries: Financial markets play a crucial role in economic development by allowing those who have talent or skills but limited money to undertake investments. We review theories on how financial market frictions may affect choices and productivity of individuals and firms. We look at evidence on the importance of financial market frictions in developing countries.
Topic 5 - Microfinance: How does the standard microfinance model work, and how did microfinance make lending to the poor a viable and sustainable policy? What is the impact of microfinance on business development and poverty alleviation? How can we improve the access to financial services and increase savings among poor households? What is the role of complementary skills, social networks, cultural and psychological factors?
Topic 6 - Insurance: Risk plays a crucial role in the lives of the poor. We'll review evidence on the determinants of and constraints to insurance take up and the impact of insurance on firms.
Topic 7 - Infrastructure: Access to infrastructure, such as transport, energy and more recently internet, is an important determinant of firm productivity. Studies of developing country settings allow to evaluate and quantify the impact of infrastructure on firms.
Topic 8 - Productivity: What are the drivers of forms productivity in developing countries? What is the role of management? We review the recent literature on management practices and productivity. We then discuss the role of complementarity inputs, institutional quality and relational contracts in determining firms' productivity.
Topic 9 - Intra-household norms and behavioral issues: Given that much of production in developing countries occurs within the household, it is important to understand how intra-household decisions are made in order to explain firm productivity. Similarly, behavioral issues are particularly binding for the poor, and are another key determinant of entrepreneurs' behavior.
Topic 10 - Empirical methods: The impact evaluation problem and its solutions. Informal overview of empirical methods and their application to development economics papers on firms. This is a cross-cutting topic, which will be primarily covered during the classes.

A detailed syllabus, with all the required readings, is available on the course Ariel website.
Metodi didattici
Frontal lectures and classes.
Materiale di riferimento
Textbooks and Reading:
There is no required textbook for the course. The main study material are slides and academic papers. Three useful books are:
· Ray, D. Development Economics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.
· Banerjee, A. V. and E. Duflo. Poor Economics. New York: Public Affairs, 2011.
· Mullainathan, S. and E. Shafir. Scarcity. Henry Holt and Company, 2013.
Selected chapters of these books will be assigned as recommended reading for the relevant week's topic.
In addition, articles from academic journals will be assigned as required or recommended reading and reviewed in the lectures and classes.

A detailed syllabus, with all the required readings, is available on the course Ariel website.
Modalità di verifica dell’apprendimento e criteri di valutazione
Written exam. The exam will include a part with multiple-choice questions and a part with open questions and/or exercises. Students will have the opportunity to write a group report of an academic paper, which will replace one of the open questions/exercises of the exam: that is, students who choose to submit a report will only have to answer one of the open questions, at their choosing, in the exam. This opportunity will be valid only in the first 3 exam sessions.
Lezioni: 40 ore
Si richiede agli studenti di fissare un appuntamento inviando una mail al docente.
Stanza 12, DEMM
Ricevimento: mercoledì ore 9.15-12.15
DEMM stanza 26