Human Development

Coordinator: prof. dr. M.P. Pradhan

Lecturers: prof. dr. M.P. Pradhan


  • Menno Pradhan
    Menno Pradhan
Menno Pradhan



Fields: applied micro, development, education

Menno Pradhan (PhD Tilburg University) is professor in Project and Program Evaluation for International Development at the VU and UvA Economics departments since 2007. Prior to this he worked at the World Bank office in Indonesia (7 years) and Washington (2 years), at the VU (7 years) and Cornell University (1 year). He is also a co-academic director of the Amsterdam Institute for International Development and a fellow at the Tinbergen Institute.

Research Interests:

His research interests are in the areas of basic education, early childhood development, community empowerment and health. All of his work is empirical, usually based on household surveys, or surveys that were specifically designed for the purpose of an impact evaluation.

Classes taught:

BSc: International Trade and Development Economics
MSc: Micro Economics for Development

Selected recent publications:

de Ree, J., Alessie, R. & Pradhan, M. 2013, “The Price and Utility Dependence of Equivalence Scales: Evidence from Indonesia”, Journal of Public Economics, vol. 97, pp. 272-281.

Kruse, I., Pradhan, M. & Sparrow, R. 2012, “Marginal Benefit Incidence of Public Health Spending: Evidence from Indonesian Sub-national Data”, Journal of health economics, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 147-157.

Pradhan, M. & Ravallion, M. 2000, “Measuring poverty using qualitative perceptions of consumption adequacy”, Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 82, no. 3, pp. 462-471.

Pradhan, M., Saadah, F. & Sparrow, R. 2007, “Did the Health Card Program Ensure Access to Medical Care for the Poor during Indonesia’s Economic Crisis?”, World Bank Economic Review, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 125-150.

Pradhan, M., Suryadarma, D., Beatty, A., Wong, M., Gaduh, A., Alisjahbana, A. & Artha, R.P. 2014, “Improving Educational Quality through Enhancing Community Participation: Results from a Randomized Field Experiment in Indonesia”, American Economic Journal-Applied Economics, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 105-126.

Course objective

An active study of the advanced literature of the human development aspects of development economics, the branch of economics that focusses on the specific economic problems of less developed nations. A thorough exercise in independently formulating and studying relevant research issues and analysing in a constructive and critical manner the problems of development economics in the human development context.

Course content

In the lectures, we study human development in developing countries using recent articles on this topic. We start off with two lectures on education, looking at how education systems are financed and organised, outcomes are measured, and where the challenges for future development lie. This also provides an entry point for discussing impact evaluation methods in more depth, and how they have been applied in the context of designing education policies for developing countries. We discuss both supply and demand side policies. We then move on to the study of social capital, and use as an entry point the participatory development type projects, which heavily rely on local social capital for implementation. The next week is on early childhood development, which has in recent years received more attention. We investigate the hypothesis that intervening before children enter primary education is maybe the most cost effective way to improve human development outcomes. This discussion provides an entry point to discuss modelling issues that arise when analysing human development during formative years. The last two lectures focus on health. We study inequality in health and access
to health services, health systems and financing, and impact of innovative delivery models. PS. I may replace the lecture on social
capital with a lecture on the role of the private sector this year.

The tutorials are used for student led discussions, where groups of students prepare a presentation and discussion on a particular research question related to the topic discussed during the lectures.Active participation in the tutorials is mandatory.

Course reading

Articles provided during the course.

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