Posts tagged development

Zimbabwe – Developmental Economics

Today, we have discussed about Zimbabwe’s economic situation and what were the barriers to Zimbabwe’s economic growth. There was many opinions about why Zimbabwe was still in suffering from economic difficulty.

One of the many barriers to Zimbabwe’s economic growth was its very high inflation of about 100,000 percent for its currency. It would require you millions of Zimbabwean dollars to just buy a pack of toilet paper. Also, it would require you to carry briefcase or even carts to buy rice and necessities for everyday life. One of the jokes that was mentioned in the class was that if a person rode a bus, the bus fee would increase even during when the person is riding the bus. This is how serious the Zimbabwe’s inflation is. So, inflation is one of the major reason why Zimbabweans are suffering from economic downturn.

I was surprised at how high the literacy rate in Zimbabwe was. In fact, it is about 90% for the whole population. It is quite surprising the fact they have very high literacy rate despite the economic situation. Generally, countries have low literacy rate if they have a bad economic situation.

Despite the high human capital, Zimbabwe’s economy is no better than those of other nations in Africa. Another major reason discussed in the seminar was that the corrupt leadership in Zimbabwe was hindering economic progress in Zimbabwe. Nugabe is a founding leader of Zimbabwe. He was one of the beloved leaders for liberating the Zimbabwean people from the white minorities. However, as years passed by, Nugabe got obsessed in maintaining political power. This has cost the economic situation in Zimbabwe, which has great potential to strive because of its high human capital and enriched resources. Also, he has oppressed the media, which has resulted in the vacancy of criticism against the regime.

In conclusion, Zimbabwe’s major barriers to economic growth were hyperinflation and political oppression. If Zimbabwe got rid of these barriers, it is highly likely that Zimbabwe will strive with its high human resources and its natural resources.


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Data Response – Measuring National Income

1. Explain whether you agree or disagree with each of the following:

(a) You have just read in the news that GDP in your country increased by 4% this year over last year. You therefore conclude that the quantity of output produced increased by 4%.

  • I agree with the statement under the condition that there weren’t any inflation or deflation. If the inflation/deflation rate was 0% that year, the quantity of output has increased by exact 4%. However, if there were inflation/deflation, then the ‘actual’ quantity of output will be different.

(b) In the early 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many eastern European and former Soviet Union countries experienced negative net investment for a period of time. This means there was a drop in their stock of capital goods.

  • I disagree with this statement. Negative net investment does not mean that there was a drop in stock of capital goods. Instead, it means that the rate of increase in stock of capital good has dropped.

(c) If a government wants a measure of its population’s income per capita it should use GDP per capita; if it wants a measure of the quantity of output produced per capita it should use GNP per capita.

  • I disagree with this statement. GDP per capita cannot be used to measure the population’s income per capita. They are different index. GDP per capita means the average amount of stuff one can produce and this does not necessarily mean the person’s income. Income per capita could be lower than GDP per capita. For example, you do not earn $10 dollars by selling $10 CD album. Instead, you earn money (income) from the margin. If you spent $5 to make that CD album, then your margin is $5. So the income per capita does not necessarily the same as GDP per capita.
  • If one wants to measure the quantity of output produced per capita then they should use GDP per capita, not GNP per capita.

(d) GDP per capita is a better indicator of a country’s welfare than total GDP, because it calculates the amount of output produced per person in the population.

  • I agree with this statement. Even if a country has $10 trillion as their GDP, like India, lots of people are under abject poverty. India’s GNP, instead, is way lower than its GDP. GNP is a better way of calculating a country’s welfare.

(e) The average American is 12.5 times richer than the average Russian, since US GDP per capita is 12.5 times greater than Russian GDP per capita, based on the dollar–rouble exchange rate. (The rouble is Russia’s national currency.)

  • I agree with this statement. GDP per capita could be used to compare wealth of individuals in two separate countries. However, there is one flaw to GDP per capita. It is the unpredictable exchange rate. If rouble gets weak against a dollar, then GDP per capita of Russia could go lower. In converse, if it gets strong, its GDP per capita will increase. So if two countries had a similar (10-20% difference) of GDP per capita, then it will be hard to compare the individual’s wealth in those countries.

2. Compare and contrast the problems involved in measuring economic growth and measuring economic development. (10 marks)

  • We should be clear in the definitions of two separate economic terms. Economic growth indicates the growth in GDP of a nation, normally, and economic development includes improvement in standard of living. Economic growth can tell you how an economy has grew in a country, however, the economic growth doesn’t necessarily lead to improvement of economic development. To say there was an economic development, there has to be several factors considered: life-expectancy rate, literacy rate, GDP per capita, and more.

3. Explain three possible limitations of using GDP as a measure to compare welfare between countries. (10 Marks)

  • First, nominal GDP’s do not calculate inflation/deflation rate. So, it is limited in comparing welfare between countries.
  • Second, exchange rate could alter the GDP of countries, therefore, it is limited in comparing welfare between two countries.
  • Third, GDP does not include other activities such as illegal drug dealing or NGO activities. This could have large portion of a country’s GDP. For example, the illegal drug dealing has 20% of US GDP.

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Analysis on OECD Country Korea

Data source: World Bank, World Development Indicators

1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
$3.69b $3.02b $8.90b $21.5b $63.8b $96.6b $264b $517b $533b $845b

I have researched about Korea, one of OECD countries, on its GDP. The graph above is the ‘norminal’ GDP, which doesn’t take account for the inflation/deflation.

As you see, Korea had significant economic growth since 1975. Backed up by government’s economic reforms, Korea experienced an exponential economic growth. The chart above shows the norminal GDP since 1960 to 2005.

Korea has experienced near-bankruptcy in 1997 due to lack of foreign currencies. As you can see in the graph, the GDP plunged down from $517b to $345b. It was because they had virtually no foreign currencies (especially USD). Korean government could not pay off debts that accumulated during trades with foreign countries. They only had $2.0 billion, which was too short to pay the debt of $19.5 billion. It did have money to pay of its debt by Korean currency Won, but the lenders would not accept the weak, invaluable Korean currency at the time.

Nevertheless, the government had succeeded in paying off all the debt at 2001, and the economy recovered. This could be seen from the graph that the GDP had recovered to the previous GDP of 1995.

In 2007, Korea’s GDP hit $1.05 trillion due to increased exports. It was the year that Korea exported so much that it dramatically lifted up its GDP by significant degree. However, as 2008 global economic recession started, the GDP plunged to $929 billion due to decreased exports.

So, this was the short analysis of Korean GDP from 1960’s to 2008. Before 1960’s, the GDP of Korea was not recorded because the country’s economy was devastated by wars. So it GDP before 1960’s does not mean anything significant.

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
$13,300 $16,100 $19,400 $19,400 $17,800 $19,200 $22,600 $24,500 $25,000 $25,800

The GDP per capita of Korea has been increasing since 2000. It has almost been doubled compared to 2000 and 2009. This means that Korean people’s wealth have been double in 10 year time. In my opinion, this is rather astonishing. With increased GDP per capita, many companies would be shifting their markets to Korean domestic market because of doubled wealth of each person. The developed domestic market will solve many of Korean companies’ dilemma of too much dependency on foreign markets especially US market, which is the biggest market of the world.

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
10% 9% 5.8% 6.2% 3.1% 4.6% 4% 4.8% 5% 2.2%

GDP real growth rate for Korea has been declining. As you see in the graph, its showing the declining trend for Korea’s real growth rate. This low real growth rate is the concern for Korea right now, however, many experts consider this a temporary consequence of global recession.


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Intro to Macroeconomics

Today in the class, we have learned simple diagrams about the economic transactions between firms and households. As you see in the diagram, the households provide factors of production (FoP) to the firms. Firms gives wages or rent for the factors of production provided by the households. The firm then provides the service or good by using these factors of production to the households. The households in reture gives payment to the firms for the service or the good.

We have learned about several economic terms such as GDP. GDP means Gross Domestic Product and it is the Total Value of all Spending in an Economy. It is the Total Value of all final Goods and Services in an Economy regardless of who owns the productive assets.

Unlike GDP, GNP encounters for the total income earned by a nation’s factors of production regardless of where the assets are located. For example, lets say that there is one British businessperson doing business in Japan. His buisness is part of Japan’s GDP, but it is not part of Japan’s GNP. It is the part of UK’s GNP.

GDP per capita is GDP divided by population of that country. It is often used to show how much wealth each person has. However, there is one flaw with this index. If there is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, like in United States, this value means less compared to when there is less disparity between rich and poor. According to Ms. Q in the class, only 1% of United State’s population owns 49% of financial wealth. So, GDP per capita is not always accurate.

GDP per capita is often used to evaluate one country’s standard of living, however, as it was stated, it is not always accurate. For example, there could be several trillionares and billions of poor in a country. As an alternative, many scholars use HDI to evalute standar of living of countries. It encounters for life expectancy, literacy rate, education, public health system, and etc. It looks at the different point of view compared to GDP per capita. According to the lecture today, Cuba has less thant 5000$ per capita, however, it has almost 100% literacy rate, which shows that it has high standard of living.

Extra Info: GDP can vary according to the country’s currency exchange rate to USD. As GDP is in US dollar, other foreign countries have to convert their currency to USD. For example, if the exchange rate goes down (value: Foreign currency<USD) the total GDP of the nation decreases. On contrary, if the exchange rate goes up, the total GDP of the nation increases dramatically. So this is one drawback to GDP.

There is an economic index called PPP that covers up the problem of GDP. “Purchasing power parity exchange rate is the exchange rate based on the purchasing power parity (PPP) of a currency relative to a selected standard (usually the United States dollar)” ( So it gets rid of the exchange rate drawback of GDP and gives more reliable data. However, there is one problem with this also. It is very difficult to measure the differences in quality of goods.

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G7 nations pledge debt relief for quake-hit Haiti

Earthquake crisis in Haiti could be a chance to recover economy

BBC News: Click Here

According to BBC News, the world’s leading industrialised nations have pledged to write off the debts that Haiti owes them, following a devastating earthquake last month.

“Some $1.2bn (£800m) of Haiti’s debts to countries and international lending bodies has already been cancelled.”

This earthquake crisis could be said to be a catastrophic setback for many Haitians. However, in my opinion, this could be a chance to recover their impotent economy. Many countries are trying to financially support Haiti by financial aids and cancellation of debts.

Haiti had about $1.9bn of debt was an impediment to economic development and growth. But, already, $1.2bn of its debt had been cancelled. I am very hopeful that Haiti’s economy will recover right after its reconstruction with many countries willing to support Haiti.

As a conclusion, this quake crisis could be a setback for many Haitians, but, it could be a chance for them to recover their economy.

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Human Development Index

Human Development Index is an alternative statistical data to GDP for indicating human development in each country.

It looks at 3 big categories: 1) long, healthy life, 2) knowledge, and 3) a decent standard of living. Specifically, they look at life expectancy, literacy rate, education, and GDP per capita.

I have researched China about its HDI. It ranked 94th country, and its HDI was 0.762 (out of 1). From this data, I have realized that even though China has the GDP of ranking top 3 in the world and economic growth rate of 9% every year, they were irrelevant. GDP and economic growth were not quite related to human development of countries.

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