Skip to main content

EC435XW: Institutions and Economic Development: Home

Head of Research and Instruction Services

LTC Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger's picture
LTC Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger




This course will explore the determinants of institutions: how they evolve, and how they affect economic development. Topics include: differences between common law and civil law systems; the significance of a country’s colonial origin; the effects of religious beliefs; and the importance of trust in political institutions. Other topics include: the transplantation of formal institutions vs. indigenous institutions; the effects of international aid on economic and institutional development; and the origins of corruption and why it is more prevalent in some cultures than in others. Note: Writing Intensive and Civilizations & Cultures Course. 2018 - 2019 VMI Catalog.

Your Research Proposal and Final Paper:

  1. The process of writing the paper should proceed as follows:
    (1) Term paper proposal (no longer than 250 words without references) –10 points:
    (a) Choose a topic (see list below); provide a tentative paper title
    (b) Explicitly state your research question and briefly discuss the context (e.g. background information about the country/issue, recent events, importance)
    (c)  Provide AT LEAST three references from professional journals to related literature
    (d) Due Date: October 2 (on Canvas); Late submission of the paper proposal will result in a 2 point deduction from the assignment grade.
    (2) Draft-in-progress (minimum 4 pages, 1 1⁄2 spaced, 12-point font, excluding references) - worth 40 points (out of 150 for the assignment and 500 points total for the course):
    (a) Build upon the approved paper proposal
    (b) Most of your analysis should be completed at this stage (please see part (3) below for detailed information about the structure of the paper
    (e) Due Date: November 1 (on Canvas); Late submission of the draft-in-progress will result in a 5 point deduction from the assignment grade.
    (3) Term paper (approximately 10 pages, 1 1⁄2 spaced, 12-point font, excluding references) – worth 100 points (out of 150 for the assignment and 500 points total for the course)
    I. Title page:  State the title of your paper, your name, a 100-word abstract, and three to five keywords
    II. Introduction: Identify and motivate the research question. Your primary goal should be to convince the reader that you are exploring an interesting and relevant question. Explain how your paper fits in the existing literature: professional articles and books, working papers, and newspaper articles (e.g. the Economist, Financial Times etc.). [approximately 2 pages]
    III. Analysis: This is the main part of your paper. Provide and discuss the answer to the research question you set out to explore. For the purposes of this course, you do not have to use a formal mathematical or statistical model. However, you are highly encouraged to use data and descriptive data analysis (tables, graphs). [approximately 7 pages]
    IV. Conclusion: Briefly summarize the key points of your paper, discuss any caveats of your approach and suggest policy solutions or possible venues for further research. [approximately 1 page]
    V. References: Alphabetically list all references you explicitly refer to in your paper. As long as you are consistent, you may follow any professional journal format.
    Due Date: December 7, late submission of the final paper will result in a 10-point deduction from the assignment grade.
    Topics for Research Paper:
    (1)                The Roots and Consequences of Corruption in [country]
    (2)                Poverty on American Indian Reservations
    (3)                Natural Resources and Growth: the Case of [country/region]
    (4)                Democracy and Economic Development
    (5)                The Role of International Aid in the development of [region or country]
    (6)                Patents and Development
    Use peer-reviewed articles, reports by the organizations like the World Bank, Census, IMF, European Union, Central Banks, etc.