Problem set 1

Due by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, January 29, 2020


You must submit all assignments either as a Word or PDF document. Answer all questions carefully and neatly. Use section headings to distinguish what question you are answering. Be neat. If the question involves a graph, copy/paste the graph into your document and make sure the graph has a title.


Here’s the video from class where I walked through Google Sheets.

Task 1: Office-selling and long-run growth in Colonial Peru

  1. Let’s finish up our in-class assignment. Using this data on governorship prices and contemporary development in Peru, plot the relationship between wartime sales prices (x-axis) and one current development outcome (y-axis)Things like the average level of education people have attained, or the share of households with indoor toilets capture how developed or “undeveloped” a town is.

    . What does the relationship look like? Do districts that fetched higher prices in colonial times tend to be better off or worse off today?
  2. What does this all suggest about the effect that selling governorships had on the quality of governance?
Variable dictionary
original labels
provincia colonial province name
district contemporary district name
meanpriceh avg log office price per capita during peace
meanprice avg log office price per capita during war
toilethouse share district households with indoor toilets
schoolyears highest educational level attained (0-21 years)
lhhequiv log of equivalent household consumption minus transfers in normal prices


Task 2: Acrostic poem

Choose a country in Latin America that you are curious about. For each letter in your first name, find a noun that starts with the same letter as your name. Use whatever source you want (the readings, Wikipedia, etc.). Write one sentence for each letter in your first name explaining the significance of that noun. Be specific. Example:

Task 3: Economic trajectory in your country

Download this dataGDP per capita over time in Latin America (source: The World Bank)

, and open it in Google Sheets or Excel.

  1. Find out how Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is measured, and give me a short description in laymen’s terms.
  2. For the country you picked above, plot GDP per capita (y-axis) over years (x-axis). We call this a time-series. Make sure to only plot your own country!
  3. Identify the biggest change from one year to the next; maybe a sudden increase, or a big drop. Use Google to find out what probably happened around that time and tell me about it in 2-3 sentences.If there are no interesting increases/decreases in your data, tell me about a period of relative prosperity or decline in your country.