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Economics 3479

Economic Growth

Fall 2013

Prof. Francis W. Ahking


Instructor information:

Office:  Oak Hall, Room 332,    Office hours:  TuTh, 11:00 - 12:00 noon, and by appointment

Office telephone:  6-3026,    e-mail:  francis.ahking@uconn.edu

Course information:  Econ 3479, Economic Growth

Pre-requisite:  Econ 2202, Intermediate Macoroeconomics

Course meeting time and place:  TuTh, 9:30-10:45 am, Oak 105

Required text:  Economic Growth, 3rd ed., by David N. Weil

This book is available from the UConn Co-op.  You can also buy a new/used copy from Amazon.com at a discount, or rent one.  There is also a paperback international edition of this text from Amazon.com.  I have not seen the international edition, but expect it to be identical to the U.S. edition.   You can buy an e-copy from Coursesmart.com.  Another source is Barnes and Noble, which also has a textbook rental service.  There are many other websites on the internet that sell used/new textbooks or rent them.  You are encouraged to check them out on you own.

The publisher’s website for the textbook contains a wealth of useful information including multiple choice questions, flashcards, and exercises using graphs for each chapter.








    Welcome to economic growth.  In this course, we study economic growth at the macroeconomic level.  We will also look at development issues, but the main focus will be on economic growth.  Economic growth is the study of the process of growth and development by combining several areas of economics, such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, labor and population economics.  We now know that economic factors alone cannot fully explain the growth process.  Other important factors include location (including climate and natural resources) and institutional factors such as the rule of law.  Please start by taking a careful look at this syllabus.  Hopefully, it contains answers to most or all the questions that you may have about this class.  If not, make sure you ask.  Again, welcome!


Quizzes, Examination and Grade


Participation and online discussions: To encourage discussions and taking an active role in class, participation will count for 10% of your final grade.  We will have two online discussions.  We will also have exercises, both in class (graded) and not graded.  I'll ask students to provide solutions in class.  You can also raise questions in class for discussion.

You can find more information about online discussion by going to this class's HuskyCT's website and looking under Information for Discussion.


Quizzes: There will be six quizzes given on Thursdays over the semester, approximately one every two weeks. Only your five best quizzes will count toward your final grade.  Quizzes will consist of multiple choice questions, definitions, and/or short-answer questions.


Examinations: There will also be one midterm and one final examination.  The midterm and the final examinations will also consist of multiple choice questions, definitions, short-answer questions, but will also include short essay questions.


Quiz dates:

Note:  All quizzes are given on Thursdays:


1st quiz:  9/5                     2nd quiz:  9/19                  3rd quiz:  10/3

4th quiz:  10/24                 5th quiz:  11/7                   6th quiz:  11/21


Examination dates:

Mid-semester examination:  Thursday, October 10

Final examination (preliminary)  Friday, December 13, 8:00 - 10:00 am

The following additional information concerning final examinations is provided by the Office of Student Services and Advocacy (OSSA):

"Finals week for fall 2013 takes place from Monday, December 9th, through Sunday, December 15th. Students are required to be available for their exam and/or complete any assessment during the time stated in the Registrar's Office schedule. If you have a conflict with this time you must visit the Office of Student Services and Advocacy to discuss the possibility of rescheduling this final.

OSSA REQUIRES advance notice from students who have prior knowledge of a conflict (i.e., bunched finals, religious obligation, legal/medical appointments…) Students must come to OSSA to seek permission to reschedule their final NO LATER THAN Friday, November 29th. 

Please note that vacations, previously purchased tickets or reservations, graduations, social events, misreading the assessment schedule and over-sleeping are not viable reasons for rescheduling a final. If you think that your situation warrants permission to reschedule, please contact the Office of Student Services and Advocacy (2nd floor Wilbur Cross) to meet with a staff member."


Discussion and Participation:


Midterm (Th, 10/10):

Final (F, 12/13, 8:00-10:00 am):






Your letter grade is determined according to the following.  You numerical average may be adjusted before the letter grade is determined.

A A- B+ B B-    
92% + 88% - 91% 83% - 87% 78% - 82% 73% - 77%    
C+ C C- D+ D D- F
68% - 72% 63% - 67% 58% - 62% 54% -57% 50% - 53% 46% - 49% < 45%


After each assessment, e.g. after each quiz has been graded, the result will be posted to the grade book together with summary statistics such as the highest score, the lowest score, the average, etc.  A running total will also be automatically calculated.  This provides you with a constant up-to-date picture of your progress in class.


Other Class Policies


Missed quizzes

and examination:

If you miss one quiz, you will not be given a makeup since only your best five out of six quizzes will count. If you miss more than one, you will need to give me a verifiable reason and makeup will be at my discretion.   If you know you are not going to be here for a quiz or an examination, let me know ahead of time.  Very often, I can make arrangement for you to take the examination or quiz before the scheduled time.  If you miss the final examination, you will need to get permission from the OSSA, also see the information included above.


Electronic devices: The classroom is a learning community.  As such respect for each other must always be maintained.  Certain behaviors are considered disrespectful while others are considered disruptive.  We will adopt the following community rule of behavior concerning electronic devices:

Cell phone/Smartphone and/or pager, MP3 players:

Please turn them off for the duration of the class.

Laptop computer, ipad, or other similar devices:

Laptop computers and other similar devices should only be used strictly for the purpose of note-taking during the class.  Net-surfing, instant-messaging, e-mailing, etc., are not permitted for the duration of the class.  I will trust everyone to follow this rule.  However, in the event that someone is caught violating this trust, that person will only be allowed to return to class without the laptop computer or similar devices.

If you are still enrolled in this class after the drop/add period, you are agreeing to the class's policy on electronic devices.

Attendance:  You are expected to attend all classes at their scheduled time and be responsible for all assigned materials.  Students who have to miss class or assignments because of official university activities, e.g., student-athlete, must inform me in writing prior to the event so that special arrangement could be made.


Students with disabilities: Students who may need special accommodations should contact me as early as possible in the semester.  Students should also have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) to verify their eligibility for special accommodations.  Please visit CSD for more information.


Cheating and plagiarism: You are, of course, encouraged to discuss your assignments with other students. However, any work that you turn in for grade must represent your own independent work.  Anyone who violates this policy will be dealt with according to the Student Code of the University, which may be found on the website of the Division of Student Affairs.  Pay special attention to Appendix A:  Academic Integrity in Undergraduate Education and Research. If you have any questions, check with me.  This is the only reminder that you will receive.


Course objectives, outline, and schedule

    After the two introductory chapters (chapters 1 – 2) and the last concluding chapter (chapter 17), the course is divided into three core areas; Factor Accumulation (chapters 3 – 6); Productivity (chapters 7 – 11); and Fundamentals (chapters 12 – 16). We will cover all the mentioned chapters, but not all will be covered in the same depth.  There are many "boxed" articles throughout the textbook.  They are relatively short and are designed to supplement the lecture materials.  I mostly do not cover the "boxed" articles.  You are, however, responsible for all the "boxed" articles whether or not they are discussed in class.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

     1.  Describe how differences in factors of production, and population growth rate contribute to differences in GDP per capita
     2.  Explain how technology and efficiency can cause differences in the pace of economic growth
     3.  Explain the role of the governement and culture play in economic growth
     4.  Discuss and explain how exogenous factors such as location, climate, and natural resources can impact economic growth




I.  Introduction to Growth Economics


8/27, 8/29:

Chapters 1 and 2


II.  Factor Accumulation


9/3, 9/5:

Chapter 3, 1st quiz


9/10, 9/12: 

Chapters 3, 4


Class note on Solow's Model


9/17, 9/19

Chapter 5, 2nd quiz


9/24, 9/26: 

Chapters 6


10/1, 10/3:

Chapter 6, 7, 3rd quiz


Note to chapter 6


Note to chapter 7

III.  Productivity



Chapter 8



 Mid-semester examination (chapters 1 - 7)


10/15 -  10/17:

Chapters 8, 9


10/22, 10/24

Chapters 10, 11 4th quiz


10/29, 10/31: 

Chapter 11, 12


IV.  Fundamentals


11/5, 11/7: 

Chapter 13 5th quiz


11/12, 11/14:

Chapters 14, 15 (pp. 450 - end of chapter)


11/19, 11/21:

Chapter 16, 6th quiz

11/25 - 11/29: 

Happy Thanksgiving!


V.  Conclusion


12/3, 12/5:

Chapters 16, 17



 Tentative final examination date: Friday, December 13



Last revised in August, 2013