Photograph of Professor Tendler (left side of picture, speaking) leading a classroom discussion. (Image by MIT OpenCourseWare.)
This course treats public-sector policies, programs, and projects that attempt to reduce poverty and unemployment in developing countries through directly income-generating activities and employment. Topics covered are (1) employment and local economic development, particularly as related to the informal sector, small and medium enterprises, and workers; (2) the political economy of local economic-development initiatives; (3) lessons from policy and implementation experiences; (4) worker conditions, standards, and rights; and (5) associations among small (and often medium) firms, and among workers. The course links these approaches to the broader literature on poverty reduction, economic development, politics, and the reform of government. It discusses the types of initiatives, tasks, and environments that are most conducive to equitable outcomes, and emphasizes throughout the understandings gained about why certain initiatives work and others do not.