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Jamaica, Barbados GDP ()

Why GDP Matters For Schoolkids

by Jacob Goldstein
Mar 2, 2010

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Jacob Goldstein

On today's Planet Money:

That graph up there may look boring, but it's a big deal. It shows how the economies of Jamaica and Barbados — two countries with very similar histories — have grown far apart in the last several decades.

That difference in GDP shows up in all sorts of ways, Planet Money's Alex Blumberg found on a recent trip to both countries. Today, we get the first installment: What schools look like in each country. A principal in Jamaica keeps her school running with help from neighborhood volunteers, a donation from a Jamaican pop star and some funding from a U.S. aid program. A principal at a similar school in Barbados says government funding does a pretty good job of meeting the school's needs.

Alex will have more on the story of Jamaica and Barbados in future podcasts. If you can't wait that long, check out this paper by Peter Blair Henry, who was born in Jamaica and who now heads NYU's business school.

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