Development Economics

The new Doctoral Program in the area of Development Economics aims at training leading professionals and researchers, empowering them to pursue researches in different paths related to the economic development. A central feature of the new Program is its seeking to offer a comprehensive approach to the economic development, considered as a long term phenomenon in which institutions play a crucial role both on the grounds of the possibilities afforded and of the restrictions imposed on the economic growth.  The Program encourages an economic and historical outlook of quintessential themes of the economic development such as growth, technological changes, patterns of public and private funding, income distribution, inequality (individual, social and regional), public policies and natural resources and environment.

So as to empower students to pursue researches from this distinguished viewpoint, the Program provides them with an authoritative foundation in economic theory, quantitative methods and economic history and history of economic ideas. The course subjects rely on a wide range of methodological and theoretical approaches, reflecting the comprehensive nature of the studies on the economic development.

Student Profile

The Doctoral Program in Development Economics of FEA-USP seeks to attract students with interest in economic development and a distinguished awareness which combines formal economic theory, historical analysis and quantitative methods. Some students who match this profile are those whose themes of research concern economic development under a historical perspective and/or draw on appropriate quantitative methods. Others are students with interest in themes of economic history and history of economic ideas who appreciate the contribution that the economic theory and/or quantitative methods might afford to their research.

The Doctoral Program in Development Economics may also be of interest to students coming from correlated areas (such as social sciences, law, history and statistics) who wish to develop researches which avail themselves of economic theory and history. The Coordination Graduate Studies may recommend successful applicants who come from other areas and need to supplement their education - after seeking the opinion of their advisors-    to attend basic economic subjects. 


The subjects in the Doctoral Program in Development Economics of FEA-USP are structured around two basic axes: one related to the theory of the economic development and to quantitative methods and the other related to economic history and history of the economic ideas. The compulsory subjects of each axis are briefly described below:

A) Axis of the theory of economic development and quantitative methods:

Theories of Economic Development: in this subject the main contributions of the pioneers of development (such as Schumpeter, Lewis, Prebisch, Nurkse, Myrdal, Rosenstein-Rodan and Hirschman) are presented. The recent literature which deals with the economic development as a microeconomic problem, embracing themes related to the many forms of market failure is also discussed.  
Macroeconomics of the Economic Development: this course focuses on the theories of economic growth, from Solow to models of endogenous growth (neoclassical and non-neoclassical), with a section in the end devoted to empirical studies. In addition, the models which formalize ideas of the classical authors of the economic development presented in the subject above are also studied.
Econometrics: so as to acquire the basic tools which will enable them to follow the academic production and pursue empirical researches in the field of economic development, students should attend one of the subjects pertaining to the econometrics sequence in the graduate courses, regularly offered by the Department of Economics.    

B) Axis of economic history and history of economic thought:

Brazilian Economy: the course analyses the evolution of Brazilian economic history from the middle of the XIX century up to the beginning of the XXI century, taking into account international historical experiences and the different interpretations about the Brazilian economic development.
History of Economic Ideas: this subject unrolls a picture of the recent evolution of the economic science in the XX century, particularly the period after the 1930s, emphasizing the analytical awareness of economic theories and debates around them. Special attention is drawn on the historical and institutional contexts of the economic science which help us understand the sources and further developments of modern literature concerning the economic development.
Besides these five compulsory disciplines, students should attend at least two elective disciplines, being able to choose them both among those regularly offered by the Graduate Program in Economics at FEA-USP and those held in other units from USP, 

 which might concern the area of research of the student. 

The sequence of subjects along the course, bearing in mind that the classes of the Doctoral Program in Development Economics always start in the second term of each year, is the following:

1stTheories of Economic Development Brazilian EconomyHistory of Economic Ideas 
2ndMacroeconomics of Economic Development  Econometrics (in this term or the next, according to student´s option) Elective 1
3rdEconometrics (in this term or the former, according to student´s option)Elective 2 


A feature of the Doctoral Program in Development Economics at FEA-USP is the possibility afforded to students to take advantage of the potential synergies with the Area of Economic Theory, being able to choose from a wide range of subjects which complement their development and might contribute in the writing of their doctoral theses. 

Academic publications authored by the students may also be worth credits (four credits per puvlication), provided that they are developed along the course. The academic merit of the publication shall be judged by the program´s coordination committee. The student may also request that the teaching traineeship held within the Teaching Improvement Program (PAE/TIP) be worth credits.

The chart below displays the required credits and the deadlines for qualifying examination and thesis submission:  

 Credits in DisciplinesThesis/Dissertation
Doctoral degree68120
Doctoral degree without Master´s degree 92120
 Doctoral degree without Master´s degree  Thesis/Dissertation submission
Doctoral degree

11 months

48 months
Doctoral degree without Master´s degree  28 months60 months

Obs.: each discipline corresponds to eight credits

Dedication and Academic Activities

The Doctoral Program in Development Economics requires from students not only commitment and dedication to the disciplines , but also an active participation in research groups and in the several academic events promoted by the Department of Economics — seminars, conferences and mini-courses. The academic activities taken as a whole, encompassing development along disciplines and complementary activities demand from students serious engagement and involvement in the Program.  

A central aspect which is assessed in the selective process is the capacity and willingness of students to devote themselves primarily to the academic activities of the Doctoral Program. In this regard, students with scholarship or full leave of absence from work are in a more favorable condition to meet the rigorous requirements of study and dedication of the Program.

Besides that, aiming at enhancing their development and broaden their academic horizons, entry students are strongly encouraged to submit a Project to obtain a “ sandwich scholarship” abroad ( from six months to one year), taking advantage of the wide range of international contacts afforded by the faculty members of the Department of Economics.