List 2 data sources researchers use to estimate historical standards of living and explain what they can infer from these sources. List three indicators of economic development other than National Income measures (NI, GDP, or GNP, level, growth rate, or per capita) that are of interest to economists and explain what can be inferred from each of these indicators.
i. Life expectancy at birth. Unambiguous measure of welfare ii. 4. heights and skeletal remains (Professor Steckel’s research) iii. Individual height is determined by “genetic potential” basically how tall were your mom and dad. In large numbers, we know that heights of humans does not vary by race or ethnicity. In large numbers differences are due to environmental factors like diet, nutritious, stress and work effort during growing years, diseases
Explain in detail 3 weaknesses of per capita GNP (or GDP) as a measure of economic well-being. Although this measure has the flaws you just listed (and others) it is the most oft-referenced statistic when considering standard of living differences across countries. Why?
i. 1. Does not capture all economically important activities
1. Black market / informal market – much larger in less developed countries
2. Agriculture production for own consumption
3. House work ii. 2. Dollar value of a good does not always equal “social” value (e.g., no accounting for pollution costs)
1. Problem of externalities. Debate over the standards of living during the industrial revolution. Wages rose, prices dropped, but other aspects of life deteriorated iii. 4. Does not account for differences in “cost of living” across time and space
1. Even if GDP per capita were a good measure of average income, comparisons across space and time would be hindered by the fact that the “cost of living” – that is, the cost of a certain bundle of goods or a certain lifestyle – is not the same in