10th Grade Modernization Inquiry
Does Development Mean Progress?
Entire Inquiry Can Be Downloaded Here

Staging the Compelling Question
  • The compelling question could be staged by having the students read the United Nations description of the Human Development Index (HDI). Students should then discuss what they think “development” and “progress” mean.   Students will then examine and discuss the HDI of the United States.  Students could also read the NPR blog post “If you shouldn’t call it the Third World, what should you call it?”, and discuss the costs and benefits of labeling countries as “developing,” and consider whether or not they view these labels as problematic.
  • Source A: United Nations Development Programme, explanation of the human developmental index, “Human Developmental Index (HDI),” 2015 Courtesy of United Nations Development Programme, Used with Permission.
  • Source B: United Nations Development Programme, article examining the HDI of the United States over time, “Explanatory Note on the 2014 Human Development Report Composite Indices: USA” (excerpt), 2014  
Supporting Question 1- What are the impacts of development in Kenya?
  • Source A: United Nations Development Programme, article examining the HDI of Kenya over time, “Explanatory Note on the 2014 Human Development Report Composite Indices: Kenya” (excerpt), 2014
  • Source B: Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Josephine Kibe, article describing the importance of Kenya to the East African Community, “Africa’s Powerhouse” (excerpts), Brookings Institute, 2014 Courtesy of The Brookings Institution. Used with Permission.

Supporting Question 2- What are the impacts of development in Botswana?
  • Source A: United Nations Development Programme, article examining the HDI of Botswana over time, “Explanatory Note on the 2014 Human Development Report Composite Indices, Botswana” (excerpt), 2014
  • Source B: Michael Lewin, article examining the growing economy of Botswana, “Botswana’s Success: Good Governance, Good Policies, and Good Luck” (excerpt), Information Centre for the Extractives Sector, 2011
  • Michael Lewin. 2011. “Botswana’s Success: Good Governance, Good Policies, and Good Luck.” © World Bank. Creative Commons Attribution license.


  • For discussions of Botswana’s success, see Maipose (n.d.), Acemoglu and Johnson (2003) and Leith (2005).
  • Leith (2005) notes that when measured accurately, taking into account social health, and educational services provided by the government to the poor, this measure falls to about 0.53. No measure of inequality is without serious analytical problems; the Gini coefficient is probably the best available and most widely used index. The coefficient ranges from 0 (perfect equality) to 1 (perfect inequality). The higher the index, the more unequal the society. An index above 0.5 is thought to denote an unequal distribution (Leith 2005).
  • See, for example, Auty (2004) and Sachs and Warner (1995). For a contrary view, see Stevens (2003) and Brunnschweiler and Bulte (2008). See also Lederman and Maloney (2007).
  • The analysis is based on the idea that some colonial regimes were mostly “extractive” —that is, the regime existed to reap the maximum out of the colony’s economy. Other regimes, usually ones in which there were more colonial settlers, were less extractive. They often establish institutions that put more constraints on the extractive and arbitrary powers of government. These constraining institutions often carried over into independence.
  • All of the high-performing developing countries mentioned have established strong democratic institutions. The question therefore arise whether the causality runs the other way, from growth to democracy. It can also be argue that democracy is necessary to sustain a high-income economy (see Barro 1997).
  • Isham and Kaufmann (1999) estimate this proportion (10 percent of GDP) to be the likely ceiling for public investment to remain productive. Beyond this they find public sector investment is likely to be detrimental to growth.
  • Lange and Wright (2002) point out that the only single “nonproductive” item of comparable weight in the budget was defense expenditure, which average about 11 percent of total expenditure. While this is high relative to most countries Botswana arguable had good reason to do this.
  • World Bank cited Lange and Wright, 2002, 32.
  • World Bank 2009. Botswana, however, lags other upper middle income countries in these categories.
  •  Botswana has not been able to escape the effects of the current global crisis: GDP declined 4 percent in 2009, and for the first time in many years, Botswana had fiscal and balance of payments deficits. However, the economy appears to have weathered the worst, with the Bank of Botswana projecting real growth of more than 3 percent for 2010 and 2011.
  • Mining’s share fell in 2009 because of the slump in world trade, not because of the declining importance of the sector.
  • Between 2005 and 2008, before the effects of the global slump set in, exports grew by about 40 percent. The share of diamonds fell from about 75 percent in 2005 to about 65 percent in 2008. Total mining remained more or less constant, however, at about 85 percent of total exports. The share of diamonds fell because of rising copper and nickel exports (Botswana Central Statistical Office 2009).
  • Other areas of interest are services, including financial services; downstream diamond processing and trading; and tourism, which represented about 10 percent of GDP in 2008 and is a potential growth sector for export earnings.
  • FDI rose again in 2008. It is too early to tell whether this is a trend.
  • Botswana had the best ranking in Africa in Transparency International’s corruption perception index in 2011 and ranked 33rd worldwide. (See On the World Bank’s 2010 Ease of Doing Business index, Botswana ranked 3rd regionally but only 52nd worldwide, indicating some room for improvement (see ).
  • Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson, and J. A. Robinson. 2003. “An African Success: Botswana.” In In Search of Prosperity: Analytical Narratives On Economic Growth, ed. D. Rodrik. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson, and J. A. Robinson. 1999. “On the Political Economy of Institutions and Development.” American Economic Review 91 (4): 938-63.
  • Alexeev, Michael, and Robert Conrad. 2009. “The Elusive Curse of Oil.” Review of Economics and Statistics 91 (3): 586-98.
  • Auty, R. (ed.) 2001. “Resource Abundance and Economic Development.” Wider Studies in Development Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
  • Bank of Botswana. 2008. Annual Report. Garbarone. 2010. Botswana Financial Statistics. Gabarone.
  • Barro, R. 1997. Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Basdevant, O. 2008. “Are Diamonds Forever? Using the Permanent Income Hypothesis to Analyze Botswana’s Reliance on Diamond Revenue.” IMF Working Paper, International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC.
  • Botswana, Central Statistical Office. 2009. External Monthly Trade Digest January. Gaborone. http:/
  • Brunnschweiler, C.N. and E.H. Bulte. 2008. “The Resource Curse Revisited and Revised: A Tale of Paradoxes and Red Herrings.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 55: 248-64.
  • Collier, P., and A. Hoeffler. 2004. “Greed and Grievance in Civil War.” Oxford Economic Papers 56, Oxford University, Oxford, UK.
  • ___.2005. “Democracy and Resource Rents.” Oxford University, Oxford UK.
  • Corden, W.M., and P.J. Neary. 1982. “Booming Sector and Deindustrialization in a Small Open Economy.” Economic Journal 92: 825-48.
  • Hausmann, R., and R. Rigobon. 2003. “An Alternative Interpretation of the ‘Resource Curse’: Theory and Policy Implications.” NBER Working Paper 9424, National Bureau of Economic Research Cambridge, MA.
  • Isham, J. and D. Kaufmann. 1999. “The Forgotten Rationale of Policy Reform: The Productivity of Investment Projects.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116 (1).
  • Lange, G., and M. Wright. 2002. “Sustainable Development in Mineral Economies: The Example of Botswana.” Ceepa Discussion Paper Series, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Lederman, D., and W.F. Maloney, eds. 2007. Natural Resources: Neither Curse nor Destiny. Washington, DC: World Bank.
  • Leith, J.C. 2005. Why Botswana Prospered. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Maipose, G. n.d. Policy and Institutional Dynamics in Sustained Growth in Botswana. University of Botswana, Gaborone.
  • OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). N.d. Africa Economic Outlook.
  • Sachs, Jeffrey D., and Andrew M. Warner. 1995. “Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth.” NBER Working Paper W5392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.
  • Stevens, P. 2003. “Resource Impact: Curse or Blessing? A Literature Survey.” Journal of Energy Literature 11 (1): 3-42.
  • World Bank. 2009. Country Partnership Strategy for the Republic of Botswana. Washington, DC
Supporting Question 3- What are the impacts of development in Algeria?
  • Source A: United Nations Development Programme, article examining the HDI of Algeria over time, “Explanatory Note on the 2014 Human Development Report Composite Indices: Algeria” (excerpt), 2014
  • Source B: Staff, article describing the demographics of Algeria, “Algeria’s Large Youth Population Has Few Opportunities” Voice Of America, 2011 Teachers and students can access this article online by clicking on this link:
Supporting Question 4- Does development impact different African countries in different ways?
  • Students use all of the featured sources from the inquiries in collaboration with the research presentations to develop a claim supported by evidence that answers the supporting question. Teachers could have students present their research in a variety of formats, including posters or digital formats. Teachers could also have students complete an organizer for each country based on the presentations.