How can we measure development?
It is difficult to define the term ‘development’ as it means different things to different people.
An ‘indicator’ is a way of measuring the level of development. The most common ‘indicator’ of development is wealth. The wealth of a country is measured in terms
of it’s gross national product or GNP. The GNP of a country is the total value of goods produced and services provided in a given year. A more useful measurement is GNP per capita. This is a country’s GNP divided by the number of people living
there. In order to make comparisons between different countries easier GNP is given in US dollars (US$.) Based on this measurement of GNP the countries of the world can be divided into two economic groups:
1. More economically developed countries (MEDCs)
2. Less economically developed countries (LEDCs)
Development can be measured in terms of economic development (how rich a place is) or social development (the quality of life for people living there.) Here are some examples of different ‘indicators’ of development.
TASK 1 Match the correct headings with the correct definitions and copy them into your book. Copy economic indicators in blue and social indicators in red.
birth rate per 1000 The percentage of the adult population of a country who
can read and write
death rate per 1000 The average number of people for every doctor in the
agriculture population The number of deaths in a country per 1000 of the
energy consumption The amount of energy used on average per person
life expectancy The number of years the average person is expected to
live from birth
adult literacy The percentage of a country’s population employed in
population per doctor The number of births in a country per 1000 of the
TASK 2 – Making Predictions
1. Choose 10 countries from pgs 98 – 103 of the atlas which you think show a
range of different levels of development (you must include China, Brazil and Ghana.)
2. How developed do you think these countries are? Rank them from 1-10 with 1= the most developed.
3. Explain why you choose rank number 1 as the most developed and rank number 10 as the least developed
4. Now write your 10 countries onto your A3 ranking sheet in the left hand column
TASK 2 _ Choosing the best indicators of development
1. Choose 6 indicators of development from pgs 98-103 of the atlas. 3 of the indicators must be economic and 3 must be social indicators of development. Fill these indicators in as the column headings on your A3 ranking sheet. NB You must use GNP per capita as your first economic indicator and life expectancy as your first social indicator. 2. Now explain why you have chosen each of these indicators and what they tell you about the level of development in a country.
3. Copy the data for each indicator for each of you chosen countries into the left hand side of each column on the A3 sheet.
TASK 4a Hypothesis Testing
A hypothesis is a guess or prediction about what you expect to find out
STEP 1 – State your hypothesis
Hypothesis There is a positive correlation between GNP per capita and life expectancy
There are three different types of correlation
1 Positive correlation 2 Negative correlation 3 Random
As one indicator As one indicator decreases There is no link between
increases so does the the other decreases the two indicators
STEP 2 – Draw a scattergraph to test your hypothesis and plot all your
Scattergraph showing the correlation between GNP pc and Life Expectancy
STEP 3 – Accept or reject your hypothesis
What type of correlation did you get? Will you accept or reject the hypothesis.
Are there any countries which do not fit into the general pattern. These are called anomalies. If you have any anomalies on your graph try to find out why they do not fit the general pattern.
TASK 4 b
Now try testing two of your own hypotheses using the indicators and countries you wrote down in your table and following steps 1-3. You do not have to just use GNP
Use the internet to find other indicators of development. Now you can test as many hypotheses as you want! Try www.nationmaster.com
Some suggested indicators to try
; Number of Olympic medal
; Number of radios per 1000 people
; Percentage of global music production
Make sure you review your hypotheses and reflect on your findings
TASK 6 – Development Ranking Exercise
1. On you A3 ranking sheet rank your 10 countries from 1 – 10 with 1 being
the most developed with the highest GNP. Any country with the same figures must be given an ‘average rank.’
2. Now do the same for the other columns (remember the highest number does not always mean the most developed!)
3. Now add up each countries total rank and give them an overall rank of 1 - 10
4. Describe your findings
TASK 7 – Evaluation
Write a couple of paragraphs answering the following questions
; Were your predictions about how developed each country would be in
task 1 correct ?
; Were there any countries which surprised you?
; Do you think you choose the best indicators of development? Are
there any indicators you would choose if you did this exercise again?
; Do you think your results might be different if you did a separate
ranking exercise for economic and social indicators? In what way?
Can we measure development? Explain your answer.