Course-Unit Outline Form
POLITICAL ECONOMY OF HEALTH, DEVELOPMENT AND WELFARE
with reference to the Post-Communist Transition
Situating the transition from Communism within the broader context of globalisation and economic
growth and development this course examines the diverging patterns of socio-economic performance
across the transition countries. We present an analytical model of economic growth and build on it in
three substantive and focused ways. First, we revisit the economic growth-economic development
relationship in the context of human wellbeing and in particular, ask to what extent improved
economic performance generates a higher quality of living. This takes us into the realm of global
health and we plot the health consequences of the post-communist transition in the global context.
Second, we probe the question of relative economic wellbeing, asking whether and why it matters,
how we measure it and what determines it. Finally, we combine these strands through arguing that the
key determinants of health, development and welfare lie in the prevailing political structures and
institutions. This necessarily takes us to the most contemporary political economy literature,
endeavouring to tie together economic performance with human wellbeing. While grounded in
mainstream economic literature the course takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the
nature of economic development. Key to this is the attempt to identify the causes, correlations and
cures of the most important socio-economic and health obstacles confronting economic advancement
across the globe, but with particular reference to the countries of post-communist transition.
political economy; economic development; economic growth; human wellbeing; health; mortality;
vulnerability; poverty; inequality; democracy; political reform; institutions; migration; rights.
There is no single core text for this course, though the book by Brian Snowdon introduces some of
the most influential voices in economic development in an engaging way. It is expected that a
range of classic and contemporary sources will be consulted, among which are those listed below.
For each section of the course there will be extensive reading lists provided, as well as access from
the course website to a number of famous lectures on economic development.
Snowdon, Brian (2007) Globalisation, Development and Transition: Conversations with Eminent
Economists. Edward Elgar.
Meier, Gerald. M and Stiglitz, Joseph. E (2001) Frontiers of Development Economics: The Future in
Sen, Amartya. (1999) Development as Freedom. Oxford
Sachs, Jeffrey (2005) The end of poverty: How we can make it happen in our lifetime. Penguin
Landes, David (2002) The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Abacus.
Layard, Richard (2005) Happiness: Lessons from a New Science. Penguin
Anand, Peter & Sen, Amartya (2004) Public Health, Ethics and Equity. OUP.
Stillwaggon, Eileen (2005) AIDS and the ecology of poverty. OUP.
Kapstein, Ethan and Milanovic, Branko (2003) Income and Influence: Social Policy in Emerging
Market Economies (pb)
Milanovic, Branko. (2005) Worlds Apart: Measuring International and Global Inequality. Princeton
Stern, Nicholas., Dethier, Jean-Jaques. and Rogers, Halsey (2005) Growth and Empowerment: Making
Development Happen (The Munich Lectures)
Todaro, MP. and Smith, SC. (2003) Economic Development. (8th Edition).
Firebaugh, Glenn. (2003) The New Geography of Global Income Inequality. Harvard
Course-Unit Outline Form
Title: Political Economy of Health, Development and Welfare (with reference to
the Post-Communist Transition
Course code: SEESGS38
Course-unit value: 20 credits – 8 ECTS
Open to: Students on: Political Economy of Russia and Eastern Europe, Politics,
Security and Integration, Comparative Business Economics, IMESS, MRes
East European Studies and relevant UCL Masters programmes
Course leader: Dr. Christopher J Gerry
1. To understand concepts and measurements of economic development and how they relate in particular to
health, welfare and inequality.
2. To understand political economy linkages, in particular between economic and political processes, in the
context of globalisation.
3. To recognise important conceptual dimensions of economic welfare ranging from health and
demographics to poverty, migration, human capital and inequality.
4. To draw policy conclusions based on an understanding of the interrelationship between traditional
economic theory and country specific institutions in the global economy.
5. To root contemporary analysis within the discourse of modern economic theory and classical political
Objectives: By the end of the course, students will have developed:
1. Knowledge of policies and their appropriateness for combating characteristics of underdevelopment in
the post-Communist world.
2. Skills of working critically with academic literature and quantitative information.
3. Capacity to place the process of economic transition in the context of globalisation
4. Skills to present their work in a well organised and engaging way through use of essay, oral presentation,
online presentation and workshops
5. Competence in independent research on selected topics
6. Knowledge of economic and social development in a comparative perspective.
Teaching & Learning Methods: Number of Hours:
Lectures/Seminars 20 hours
Private Study 180 hours
The course is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars supplemented with an online provision.
Coursework and Assessment:
Coursework, 50%; Exam, 50%.
The course is assessed through 50% exam and 50% coursework. The exam will be a two-hour unseen exam
during the summer term in which students will be asked to write 2 essays from a choice of 5. The
coursework will take the form of one 2,500 word assignment, based on a group presentation.