Critical Thinking Questions


Over the past 50 years, many countries have experienced an annual growth rate in real GDP per capita greater than that of the United States. Some examples are China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Does that mean the United States is regressing, relative to other countries? Does that mean these countries will eventually overtake the United States in terms of rate of growth of real GDP per capita? Explain.


Labor Productivity and Economic Growth outlined the logic of how increased productivity is associated with increased wages. Detail a situation where this is not the case and explain why it is not.


Change in labor productivity is one of the most watched international statistics of growth. Visit the St. Louis Federal Reserve website and find the data section ( Find international comparisons of labor productivity, listed under the FRED Economic database (Growth Rate of Total Labor Productivity) and compare two countries in the recent past. State what you think the reasons for differences in labor productivity could be.


Refer back to the Work It Out section called "Comparing the Economies of Two Countries" and examine the data for the two countries you chose. How are they similar? How are they different?


Education seems to be important for human capital deepening. As people become better educated and more knowledgeable, are there limits to how much additional benefit more education can provide? Why or why not?


Describe some of the political and social tradeoffs that might occur when a less-developed country adopts a strategy to promote labor force participation and economic growth via investment in girls’ education.


Why is investing in girls’ education beneficial for growth?


How is the concept of technology, as defined with the aggregate production function, different from our everyday use of the word?


What sorts of policies can governments implement to encourage convergence?


As technological change makes us more sedentary and food costs increase, health problems are likely. What factors do you think may limit health problems?