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Purpose: Understanding economic, social, political and other causes of economic

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Purpose: Understanding economic, social, political and other causes of economic growth.  Use real-world data and understanding the scientific method applied in economics: “positive economics”
Task:  Test a hypothesis of a cause and effect relationship: What are some of the different causes or conditions that create economic growth, or increasing GDP per capita over time?  Criteria for success:  Follow directions, answer questions, and submit graphs to demonstrate understanding of causes of economic growth.
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Directions: Go the the website http://www.gapminder.org/world  (Links to an external site.)
The initial graph displayed shows GDP per capita as a function of life expectancy (in years) for about 200 countries (just like the one we saw in the video “200 Countries in 200 Years”).  This shows a clear positive relationship between the 2 variables: as GDP per person goes up, life expectancy goes up.
[note: if you are unable to display Gapminder and its’ functions, try opening it in another browser.] 1. (a)  Starting with one of your 5 causes of economic growth (from the Homework assignment: “Causes of Economic Growth”), let’s see if your hypothesis was right.  Does your chosen factor cause or explain growth?  Using Gapminder, keeping GDP per capita (income per person) constant on the horizontal axis, select an appropriate measure of your chosen cause of growth and create a graph.  (Do so by clicking the arrow next to “life expectancy”, which displays a much larger list of variables.  You should choose indicators other than life expectancy for your analysis.  There are plenty to choose from.)  If you don’t see a way of measuring your chosen cause of growth, pick another one that is measured.  Now that you have done this, you should have a new graph displayed that shows the relationship between this variable and income per capita.  This enables you to test your hypothesis using real world data.  Your goal is to find indicators that are related to GDP.
Take a screenshot of the graph of all countries and include in your report (or copy and save it in a file).  [You can embed the image into your posting using the little mountain in the box icon above your posting, the same as you did when you embedded your photo in the introductory discussion.] (b) Describe: What is the relationship between the two variables, positive or negative? (ie: as GDP/capita goes up, life expectancy goes up, a positive relationship.) [Note: If you cannot detect a discernable relationship, choose another indicator until you do.] (c) Explain: What are possible explanations for this relationship? (ie: as people live longer, they can be more productive over their working lives, meaning more production and higher GDP/person.)  Please explain your own chosen cause of growth in your own words in 1-2 paragraphs.
2. Repeat step 1.a, 1.b, and 1.c. using another social or economic indicator of your choosing.
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Here’s an example of what part (a) and (b) should look like.  This graph shows a clear positive relationship between the % of internet users and GDP/person (i.e.  more internet use means more income per person).  I’m sure you could offer explanations of why this is (part (c)). [note: to make this more readable, I copy/pasted this into PAINT on my PC, trimmed the edges, and added the black “trend line” to show the positive relationship.  Cool, huh?!] internet users and GDP.png
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[Tip: if you are not clear, watch the videos in Canvas/modules/lectures.  Start with the short one (“How to use Gapminder”, and if you are still not sure, try the longer one.] [Hint: Try to use recent data, but if you choose a year where not much data is reported, try going back a few years to see if you can find more.  We are looking at relationships between variables, and not necessarily the most recent data.]

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