BREAD-IGC Virtual PhD Course on Firms and Development, January/February 2023

Lectures on management and business training, upgrading, misallocation, capital and labour frictions, contracts, markets and competition, and industrial policy.

The Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), in collaboration with the International Growth Centre (IGC), is offering a virtual PhD non-credit course beginning on January 12th 2023. This month-long course, spanning eight lectures by world-class academics and researchers, will cover a variety of topics related to firms and development. To register for this course, please fill out this form

Firms, large and small, provide employment and income for the majority of households in the world. Thus, firm-related policies can potentially play a central role in eliminating extreme poverty, generating growth and raising standards of living in developing countries. This course will present the latest evidence and theory on why aggregate productivity is low in developing countries and what policymakers might be able to do about it. Over the 8 lectures we will discuss the role of poor business skills and management, the lack of modern technologies, the misallocation of resources across firms including labour and capital, poor institutional environments that make contracting difficult, limited market access, and both externalities and coordination failures. 

The course is designed for Ph.D. students as well as active researchers in economics and related fields worldwide. While anyone may register and participate in the course, please be aware that the course will be taught at a high level of technical rigour. Completed or concurrent Ph.D.-level coursework in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics will be necessary to fully benefit from the course content. Course materials (syllabus, lecture presentations, and recorded lectures) will be available after the end of each module on the IGC website. 

Those who apply and register for the course by 11th January 2023 are expected to attend regularly and can actively participate in the Zoom class. Late registrations will be considered on the basis of space available. If you have any questions, please check our FAQ page or contact us at

The course will run from 12th January-3rd February 2023, with two lectures a week, on Thursday and Friday. Lecture time will typically be 10–11:30 am US Eastern Time / 3–4.30 pm GMT (with one exception, the Friday 20 Jan lecture, as indicated below).

Lecture schedule

Thursday, 12 January: Course Overview by David Atkin (MIT) and Dave Donaldson (MIT)

Friday, 13 January: Management and Business Training by Jing Cai (U of Maryland)

Thursday, 19 January: Firm Upgrading by Eric Verhoogen (Columbia)

Friday, 20 January: Misallocation by Peter Klenow (Stanford) (Note this lecture runs at the exceptional time of 11.30am–1pm ET/4.30pm–6pm GMT)

Thursday, 26 January: Capital and Labour Frictions by David McKenzie (World Bank) and Chris Woodruff (Oxford)

Friday, 27 January: Contracts by Rocco Macchiavello (London School of Economics)

Thursday, 2 February: Markets and Competition by Lauren Bergquist (Yale)

Friday, 3 February: Industrial Policy by Reka Juhasz (U of British Columbia)