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Economic development

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Economic development is the growth of the standard of living of a country's people from a low-income (poor) country to a high-income (rich) economy.[1][2] When the local quality of life is improved, there is more economic development.[3]

When social scientists study economic development, they look at a lot of things. They want to know about the waves of economic development used by historians. They also want to know how development in happening today. They want to know why people invest (spend money hoping they will make money) more money in some countries than in others. They also want to know why people are better at making things to sell in some countries than in others.[4]

Measuring Economic Development

World map showing the Human Development Index (based on 2007 data, published on October 5, 2009)

     0.950 and Over      0.900–0.949      0.850–0.899      0.800–0.849      0.750–0.799

     0.700–0.749      0.650–0.699      0.600–0.649      0.550–0.599      0.500–0.549

     0.450–0.499      0.400–0.449      0.350–0.399      under 0.350      not available

Same map for people with color blindness.

One way to measure economic development is human development. Human development is very important, and includes the health of the people and their education. This usually goes together with economic growth. As people in a country become healthier and get better education, they also usually get richer, because healthy, educated workers are more productive (better at making things), and richer workers can afford health and education.[5] The Human Development Index looks at how long people live, how well people read, how many people go to school, and how much money people make.

Economists also look at the rate of growth, which is how fast a country gets richer.

World map showing GDP real growth rates for 2008.

Related pages


  1. Alan Deardorff, "Economic development," Deardorff's Glossary of International Economics online (click to E).
  2. Hla Myint and Anne O. Krueger (2009) "Economic development," Encyclopædia Britannica.
  3. Blair, John and Michael Carroll. Local Economic Development: Analysis, Practices, and Globalization. Sage Publications, 2009
  4. Lewis F. Abbott, Theories Of Industrial Modernization & Enterprise Development: A Review, ISR/Google Books, revised 2nd edition 2003, pages 1–2. ISBN 978-0-906321-26-3.[1]
  5. Hanushek, Eric A., and Ludger Woessmann. 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development." Journal of Economic Literature, 46, no. 3 (September): 607-668.

Other websites

it:Sviluppo economico