Thursday, September 14, 2017

MDGs and SDGs

Here are links to information about the UN's Milineum Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals.

Read about MDG progress:

HDI and other development indices

Below are the links we used in class pertaining to the Human Development Index (HDI), the Inequality-Adjusted HDI, the Gender Inequality Index (GII) and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

HDI map

HDI calculator

Gapminder plot:  HDI and per capita GDP (PPP)




Technical notes on these indices (good graphic)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Big Mac Index

The Big Mac Index (created by The Economist magazine in the 1980s) allows us to compare local prices for a single good which is sold all over the world. We should recognize that this measure is mostly for fun. The price of a single good (a burger) is not a great proxy of general purchasing power of non-tradable goods. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

GDP as a measure of wellbeing

Here is an article at CBS news regarding a topic we're covering in class: GDP as a measure of well being. The article summarizes the thoughts of 3 economists who participated in the World Economic Forum in early 2016.  We should also keep in mind the positive aspects of GDP: it is easily and universally measured and understood, and is strongly correlated with many aspects of human well being.

More on the topic here at Harvard Business Review.

Longer article here at the Solutions Journal, which includes analysis and historical context. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Global Health Check

On the topic of world health, check out this interactive tool created by Beyond Words Studio for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Mosaic

Enter your year of birth (or any year in the past) and see the progress that has been made in terms of health outcomes and health inputs.


Here is a cool story about microloans at

It looks like the benefits of microloans have been overstated through the years, but the news is not all bad.