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The Private Sector & International Development (Columbia Business School)

Forming part of the Executive MBA programme, this course focuses on the non-market factors that influence private sector behaviour in the developing world. While these are relevant for the behaviour of firms anywhere, they loom particularly large in poor countries. Topics covered in this course include rule of law (contract enforcement, intellectual property rights, investor protection), corruption and corporate social responsibility.

This course provides a framework for studying the role of the private sector in international development, with an emphasis on issues that are of particular importance for future managers in the developing world. The course description states that the content is guided by the research and analysis on the topic that has flourished in recent years, driven in no small part by the emphasis on private sector development within the World Bank.

The class outline and some sample readings for the course is as follows:


Week 1             Welcome, Introduction to Institutions, Market Failures, and Firms

Week 2             Contracts

Week 3             Property rights and investor protection

Week 4             Intellectual property rights and development

Week 5             Corruption introduction

Week 6             Corruption (cont’d)

Week 7             Politics and the private sector; trade, politics, and development

Week 8             Finance, large and small

Week 9             Corporate Social Responsibility 


Reading for Corruption Sessions:

§  W. Easterly, “Corruption and Growth” in The Elusive Quest for Growth (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001) Ch. 12

§  The Economist (UK), “India’s Corruption Blues”, 24 March 2001

§  The Economist (UK), “The Road to Hell is Unpaved”, 19 December, 2002

§  Forbes (UK), “Reforming Tony Soprano’s Morals”,  22 May 2006


Optional Readings:

§  R. Fisman and E. Miguel, Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations, 2008

§  J. Svensson, “Eight Questions about Corruption”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19 (5):19-42 (2005)

§  A. Shleifer and R.W. Vishny, “Corruption,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108(3): 599 - 617, 1993

§  B.A. Olken & P. Barron, “The Simple Economics of Extortion: Evidence from Trucking in Aceh,” Journal of Political Economy 11(3), 2009

§  B. Olken, "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia", Journal of Political Economy 115 (2): 200-249, 2007

§  R. Fisman, "Measuring Tariff Evasion and Smuggling", NBER Reporter no. 3, 2009.


Link to course:


Link to syllabus (2010):


13 Jul 2011

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