Development Economics, EC 410Christian Ahlin, Professor
Writing Assignment
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 Hwanoong Lee at leehwano@msu.edu 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 February 17. One point is deducted for each day a student is late in selecting a valid
country. You will want to choose a country that has significant data available for it – see step 2. The TA
Hyeongjun Bang 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 – which must include GDP per capita (constant $, ideally PPP also), GDP per capita growth, Gross
capital formation (% of GDP), and School enrollment (primary or secondary, gross) – 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 graphs, captions, and
bibliography), 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 growth rates and investment rates in
physical and human capital fit the theories’ predictions? Here’s what the paper should include:
a. Full name, date.
b. One clear and informative graph, or several such graphs, of the relevant data. The required data are
listed above in Step 2. The graph should be included within the paper, not in an extra file. The
graph(s) must be easy to read: not containing too many variables, and using appropriate scales.
c. An explanation of how investment rates in physical and human capital are related to economic
growth 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 helps
explain the growth in your country? If so, display 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 ahlinc@msu.edu by 11:59pm March 21, 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 ahlinc@msu.edu by 11:59pm April 21.
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 themselves, using their own wording. Failure to do so is likely to be reported to
the MSU administration and to substantially lower the student’s grade for the class (not just the assignment).
Please 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.
See next page for the grading rubric.
Grading Rubric
20 – Grammar, spelling, overall clarity
25 – Graph(s) displaying the four key variables are labelled, clear, and containing required elements
25 – General discussion of growth theory learned in class – specifically, how investment rates in physical and
human capital are related to economic growth
30 – Application of growth theory from class to the country chosen – how well does the country’s relationship
between growth rates and investment rates in physical and human capital fit the theories’ predictions?
20 – (Extra Credit) Presentation of other factor behind growth – clear graph and discussion of why this variable
may be a significant causal factor behind growth in this case
SUBTOTAL:
– 1 per day late for country choice
– 3 No Name
– 3 No Date
– 5 per day late for paper turn-in
___ deduction for words over limit or incorrect submission format
TOTAL:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *