Political Systems and Economic Development By: Hassan Memari Research Question and Variables • “What is the effect of a country’s political system on its economic development?” • The dependent variable is the economic development of a country. • The independent variable is the political system of a country. Selection Case Studies • The political systems that I will compare are: democracy, communism, and (absolute) monarchy. • It would be incorrect/biased to include just the most economically stable or well-off nations in each political system. We must address each political system by including a nation from each part of the “spectrum of economic development”. • Therefore, for each political system, I will include: – one “poorly economically developed” nation – one “moderately economically developed” nation – one “highly economically developed” country. First Question/Potential Problem • How can we determine a nation’s level of economic development? • “Economic development” refers to increases in the standard of living of a nation's population associated with sustained growth from a simple, low-income economy to a modern, high-income economy • Therefore since standard of living is one of the things that factors into a country’s level of human development , I will use the HDI (Human Development Index) to compare the economic development of countries. • Some may argue that one should use a nation’s GDP PPP per capita to measure this. Well, I do not think this will be a problem since the standard of living used in the HDI is measured by the natural logarithm of a nation’s GDP PPP per capita. Therefore the GDP is already accounted for in some way. Selection Case Studies • Based on the most recent data for countries in the HDI, the countries I will use (which are listed from most economically developed to least) are: • Democracy: – United States (.956) – Costa Rica (.854) – India (.612) • Communism: – Cuba (.863) – China (.772) – Laos (.619) • Monarchy: – Qatar (.91) – Saudi Arabia (.843) – Swaziland(.572) Process • The HDI combines three dimensions: – Life expectancy at birth, as an index of population health and longevity – Knowledge and education, as measured by the adult literacy rate (with two-thirds weighting) and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio (with one-third weighting). – Standard of living, as measured by the natural logarithm of gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity. Process • To see whether the political system of a nation affects its economic development, I will examine the affects (positive or negative) of the actions that a country took regarding the three HDI criteria that were “in line” or adhered to their proclaimed political systems • If I observe that they had a positive affect and therefore caused a nation’s government to continue with those policies, then I think I will safely be able to say that the political system of a nation affects its economic development. • However, if I observe that these actions had a negative effect and then caused the government of a nation to enact policies that don’t adhere with its political system, then, not only will I not be able to make this statement, but I will also be compelled to answer my second question/dilemma. Second Question/ Potential Problem • “How does one determine whether the political system of a country affects that country’s economic development or if the economic development affects the political system of a country?” • This is exactly why I included countries from different areas of the “economic development spectrum”. • In the end, I will not only compare if and how each political system ( and its policies) affects economic development, but I will also compare how each type of economically developed country within a certain political system acted in regards to the three HDI criteria. • I will examine whether the less economically developed a nation is, the more or less its policies toward the three criteria adhere to its political system • In other words, I will be examining whether its level of economic development affects its political system/policies. My thoughts • In their piece “Political Regimes and Economic Growth”, Mr. Adam Przeworski and Mr. Fernando Limongi argue that each political system has its own unique take on economic developments, both positive and negative. • I believe that in the end I will find that the effect of a political system on economic development and vice versa has a circular flow effect, in which the political system and economic development both effect one another, but that the way they are affected differ according to each political system. Thank you! WE ARE GLOBAL GEORGETOWN!
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