Development Economics, EC 410
Christian Ahlin, Professor
The writing assignment for this class involves choosing a developing country and analyzing its recent
growth experience from the standpoint of the growth models studied in class.
Step 1. Choose a developing country (or one that would have been considered less developed in 1960).
To reserve your country, email the TA Hyeongjun at [email protected] including your name and PID. At
most two students can choose any given country, and countries are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Deadline for choosing is October 13. You will want to choose a country that has data available for it – see step
2. The TA is also available to help you choose a country.
Step 2. Find the recent growth data and other economic indicators for your country. You can do this by
searching for “World Development Indicators” (which I found at http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/worlddevelopment-
indicators), then click on “Databank”. There you can select your country, the variables you are
interested in [GDP per capita (PPP, constant $), GDP per capita growth, Gross capital formation (% of GDP),
School enrollment (primary or secondary, gross), etc.], and the years you are interested in (choose as many as
possible). You can click on “Chart” to view the data, which can then be saved as a picture or pdf; or click on
“Download” to save to Excel and create your own analysis and chart.
Step 3. Write a short paper, no more than 1000 words (excluding words in graph and graph caption),
describing the development trajectory of your country in terms of its economic growth over the last several
decades ( or the years for which data are available), and discussing how well the data seem to fit the growth
theory learned in class. Specifically, does the relationship between investment rates in physical and human
capital and growth rates fit the theories’ predictions? Here’s what the paper should include:
a. Name, PID, date.
b. A clear and informative graph (or several) of the relevant data. The most relevant data are listed
above in Step 2. The graph should be included within the paper, not in an extra file.
c. An explanation of how investment rates in physical and human capital are related to economic
growth and development in general, according to the growth theory learned in class.
d. A discussion of how well the growth theory learned in class fits the specific country being analyzed.
e. For extra consideration: Is there another variable, from outside the theory learned in class, that better
explains the growth in your country? If so, show it on a graph, and discuss why this variable may a
significant causal factor behind growth in this case. [This other variable cannot be the population
growth rate, which is featured in all the theory learned in class.]
The first draft is due by email to [email protected] 1:00pm November 5, in Microsoft Word format (or a
similar format that can be easily imported into Word). This counts 30% of the grade for the assignment. Drafts
will be graded and returned, and a final draft is due by email to [email protected] 11:59pm December 3. The
final draft counts 70% of the grade for the assignment. The format, requirements, and grading scale are the
same for both drafts – the first draft is not a “rough draft”. The second draft will not receive a lower grade than
the first draft, even if no second draft is turned in; that is, the grade can only improve after the first draft.
Students are responsible for understanding and complying with university plagiarism guidelines. Students
must complete this assignment individually, with their own wording. Failure to do so is likely to be reported to
the administration and to substantially lower the student’s grade for the class (not just the assignment).
Direct questions about how to access and graph the data to the TA by email or in office hours. If asking
questions by email, please allow 48 hours for a response.
20 – Grammar, spelling, overall clarity
25 – Graph labelled, clear, containing required elements
25 – Discussion of growth theory in general
30 – Application of growth theory to the country chosen
20 – (Extra Credit) Presentation of other factor behind growth
Points will be deducted for missing deadlines, words over limit, and incorrect format of submission.
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