Sustainable International Business


This course is intended to provide future managers, expecting to work in or with developing countries, with an understanding of the current economic reality and future prospects of these nations.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Daniel Abel Monteiro Palhares Traça


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Session 1 - Global Development: An Historical Overview

Must read before class:

Aid, Debt Relief and Trade: An Agenda for Fighting World Poverty HBS, 2007

Class readings:

Think Again, Again Ch.1 in Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, Duflo and Banerjee, MIT Press, 2011

Why are Countries Poor ? Ch.1 in Institutions and Development, Mary M. Shirley, Edward Elgar, 2010

Aid and Growth Steven Radelet, Michael Clemens and Rikhil Bhavnani, Finance & Development, September 2005

Session 2 - Multinationals and the power of Foreign Investment

Must read before class:

Intel’s Site Selection Decision in Latin America Thunderbird Case Series, 1999

Enticing Investors Calvin McDonald, Volker Treichel, and Hans Weisfeld, Finance & Development, December 2006

Class readings:

The Truth about Foreign Direct Investment in Emerging Markets D. Farrell, J. Remes and H. Schulz, McKinsey, 2004

Playing to Win in Emerging Markets BCG, September 13th 2013

Exploring the Links Between International Business and Poverty Reduction: A Case Study of Unilever in Indonesia J. Clay, Oxfam Publishing, 2005

A Capital Story Thomas Dorsey, Finance & Development, June 2008

Additional readings:

The Impact of Inward FDI on Host Countries: Why Such Different Answers ? R. Lipsey and F. Sjöholm in Does FDI promote Development ?, Peterson Institute for International Economics, May 2005

Making the Most of Corporate Social Responsibility McKinsey, December 2009

Session 3 - Policy for Top-Down Development

Must read before class:

Cancún, Mexico: Water System Privatization Kennedy School of Government, 2000

Class readings:

Rethinking Growth Finance & Development, March 2006

Meeting the Infrastructure Challenge with Public-Private Partnerships BCG, February 2013

Sustained, High Growth in the Postwar Period” The Growth Report (Part 1), The Growth Commission, 2008

Additional readings:

Leasing the Rain William Finnegan, The New Yorker, April 8th 2002

The Insider: What I learned at the world economic crisis Joseph Stiglitz, The New Republic, April 17th 2000

Session 4 - Institutions and Governance

Must read before class:

Chad’s Billion-Barrel Oilfield: From Rags to Riches ? INSEAD, 1999

Rwanda's President Thinks He's Indispensable Bloomberg, 2017

Class readings:

Governance Unbundled Finance & Development, Shikha Jha and Juzhong Zhuang, June 2014

Fighting Corruption Won’t End Poverty” Ricardo Hausmann, Project Syndicate, July 24th 2015

What Happened ? Finance & Development, June 2006

Reverse the curse: Maximizing the potential of resource-driven economies. Executive Summary McKinsey, December 2013

Additional readings:

An African Success Story: Botswana Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, James A. Robinson, 2001

Toward a well-governed Africa McKinsey, June 2010

Managing Oil Wealth B. Eifert, A. Gelb and N. Borje Tallroth, Finance & Development, March 2003

Session 5 - Poverty, Child Labor and Education

Must read before class:

IKEA´s Global Sourcing Challenge; Indian Rugs and Child Labor HBS, 2006

Pratham – Every Child in School and Learning Well HBS, 2010

Class readings:

Child Labor Is Still Prevalent Around the World. Here's How to Eliminate It by Charles Kenny, Business Week, October 20th 2014

Making the Grade Finance & Development, March 2012

The Education Myth Ricardo Hausmann, Project Syndicate, May 31st 2015

Every Which Way We Can Dean Karlan, Finance & Development, December 2012

Learning Laboratory J. Gregory Dees, Finance & Development, December 2012

Additional readings:

Child Labour. A textbook for university students” International Labour Office, Geneva, 2014

Read India: helping primary school students in India acquire basic reading and math skills Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, 2012

The Power of Social Business. Lessons from Corporate Engagements with Grameen” BCG, 2013

Conditional Cash Transfers: Reducing Present and Future Poverty. Overview The World Bank, 2009

Session 6 - From Entrepreneurship to Private - Sector Jobs

Must read before class:

Gentera: Beyond Microcredit Harvard Business School, 2014

KZ Noir Ltd. (Rwanda) Emerging Market Private Equity Association, May 2013

Class readings:

Africa’s New Generation of Innovators C. Christensen et al., Harvard Business Review, 2017

Microfinance: Small loan, big snag Amy Kazmin, FT, December 1st 2010

The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid. Executive Summary International Finance Corporation (WB) and World Resources Institute, 2007

Big Ideas: Small is still beautiful by Alan Patricof and Julie Sunderland, The Milken Institute Review. Second Quarter, 2005

Private Equity Pioneer International Financing Review Special Report, September 2011

Innovative development financing McKinsey, August 2013

Helping Africans to jump-start their industries McKinsey, June 2010

Creating partnerships for sustainability McKinsey, July 2014

Additional readings:

Emerging Markets, Emerging Models A. Karamchandani, M. Kubzansky and P. Frandano, Monitor Group, 2009

Promoting Small and Medium Enterprises for Sustainable Development World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 2007

Convergence Economy: Rethinking International Development in a Converging World” Gib Bulloch, Peter Lacy and Chris Jurgens, Accenture, 2011

Walk, don't run Justin Lin, The Economist, Jul 9th 2009


Suggested books:

The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, Angus Deaton, Princeton University Press, 2013

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Crown Business, 2013

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee and Esther Duflo, PublicAffairs, 2011

Post-crisis Growth in the Developing World: A Special Report of the Commission on Growth and Development on the Implications of the 2008 Financial Crisis, Commission on Growth and Development, 2008

One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth, Dani Rodrik, Princeton University Press, 2008

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, Paul Collier, Oxford University Press, 2008

Economic Growth in the 1990s: Learning from a Decade of Reform (Lessons from Experience), World Bank, 2005

In Search of Prosperity: Analytic Narratives on Economic Growth, Dani Rodrik, Princeton University Press, 2003

The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics, William Easterly, The MIT Press, 2002

Teaching method

Classes will use case discussions and constant interaction with students. Attendance is mandatory. Active and thoughtful participation is encouraged. Students are absolutely required to read the “must read before class” bibliography and are advised to do the remaining class readings before each class to be able to participate.

Evaluation method

To pass the course, a student must obtain a minimum of 8 points (out of 20) in each of the three main components and a weighted average higher than 9.5 points.

Two Individual Flash Essays (35%): At the end of sessions 2, 3, 4 and 5 a topic related to the class and currently on the news will be distributed. Students must deliver one essay of their choice among FEs 1 and 2 and another one among FEs 3 and 4 – hence students must submit a total of two flash essays (FE). The essay is due one week after distribution and is limited to 2 single-spaced pages, normal margins, Calibri or Times New Roman font types, size 12 pp. Students should research the topic, including sources on the web, and prepare an essay, simulating the role of an advisor to a high-level personality. All sources should be listed. The reports will be judged by their originality and innovation, organization, clarity of writing and depth of the analysis and recommendations.

One Individual Final Exam (35%): A short final exam, lasting for one hour and a half, covers all topics in the course. It assumes that all Class Readings have been done and class handouts have been thoroughly scrutinized. Additional readings suggested in the reading list below, will not be covered in the final exam.

One Group Case-Study (30%): In groups of 3 to 5, students can prepare a case-study on any topic broadly related to the course. The group, topic and a short outline must be communicated to the course grader by the end of session 3. The final report is due before the last session and is limited to 5 single-spaced pages, normal margins, Calibri or Times New Roman font types, size 12 pp. It will be judged by their originality and innovation, the use of tools developed in the course and other resources and, above all, the quality of the analysis and recommendations.

Subject matter

The course will address several developmental challenges faced by poor nations, focusing on the role of the private sector and business managers, and stressing the implications for corporate performance. It will not cover in detail the internal operational challenges of corporations in these markets.