Chapter 3 Topics for Final Project

For the final assignment, you have two major options. Either, you can choose between conducting a research project or developing an impact business plan. For the first type of assignment, you can either work on a written paper, or record a podcast or a video. The idea is to develop the skills you believe are closer to your interests and abilities. This will also help you become more innovative and hone your management and leadership skills.

If you choose to work on a research project, you must choose one of the prompts shown below to develop your topic1. Different teams can choose the same topic, but your case study needs to be unique.

  • Does a colonial past shape the development path of a country? Use two case studies to develop your answer

  • Is development a neo-colonial concept? Is it inherently racist? Compare and contrast different approaches to assess your answer.

  • Choose a low-income country and detail the long-term influences of colonialism

  • Pick a side and develop your argument using a case study: Governance reforms are (not) necessary and (nor) feasible to promote economic development in Africa.

  • Critically review how the concept of ‘institutions’ has been used in the development literature. How is it linked to development?

  • Is good governance necessary for development? Use two case studies to develop your answer.

  • Under what conditions does trade liberalization promote growth? Do a comparative analysis in which you contrast the case of two countries.

  • Review the concept of the Washington Consensus. Contrast how it was applied in different countries (choose one Latin American and one African country) and the outcomes of the approach. Can we draw a causal claim about the effects of these policies on development?

  • Does reliance on commodity exports lead to more volatile development? Review and contrast the experiences of two developing countries dependent on the export of different primary commodities.

  • Is trade good for development? Choose a dimension and verify if, under this context, trade can boost development. You can do an in-depth country analysis or a cross-country comparison.

  • How does climate change and environmental degradation compromise development?

  • How does climate change and environmental degradation compromise the livelihoods and wellbeing of vulnerable sectors of the population?

  • Do a research project that explores under what circumstances natural resources are a curse. Compare that with a case where natural resources have boosted prosperity in a country.

  • How are gender and development intertwined? Explore one aspect explored in class using a gender perspective.

  • How do cities shape development? Do an in-depth analysis of urban clusters in Africa and find out more about the challenges that could prevent cities to become a tool for development.

  • Can migration be used as a tool to promote economic development?

  • How does access to financial markets could promote development in African countries? Find out how different financial innovations have been introduced and whether they have successfully promoted entrepreneurship and productivity. Use a case-study setting.

  • Can the private sector be a motor for development? Choose a country and examine the structure of its private sector (informal economy, tax structure).

  • How is COVID going to impact the development of low-income countries? Pick two African countries. Compare and contrast how COVID has impacted them, what measures have been taken to respond, and what policies are being implemented to limit the economic effects.

  • You can also find three persons to interview regarding one of the topics seen in class. Preferably, choose: one scholar (or expert on the topic), two members of the community that allow you to obtain different perspectives on the issue. This option only works for the podcast or video. Make sure that the participants know that the information is for a class activity and you to save it or use it beyond the class. They need to agree to have their voices/image recorded.