What Makes for a Very High GDP?

Understanding Gross Domestic Product – Part 13

To finish our discussion of gross domestic product, I’d like you to consider the following question. Let us say that, hypothetically, you were called upon to design your very own country. What characteristics would you choose for that country to maximize the chances of it having a very high GDP per capita?

Harley Hahn

Below is the list of characteristics that are associated with economic regions that have a very high GDP per capita.

Figure 8: Characteristics of countries with a very high GDP per capita

What Makes for a Very High GDP Per Capita?

• Small to medium-sized land mass

• Small to medium-sized population

• Democracy

• Free press

• Stable government

• Post-industrial economy (more dependence on services than on manufacturing and agriculture)

• Business-friendly government

• Long-range government planning

• Significant investment in infrastructure

• Highly literate and educated population

• High-speed network connectivity

• Stable work force

• Diversified economy

Harley Hahn has a degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Waterloo in Canada, a graduate degree in Computer Science from UC San Diego, and has studied medicine at the University of Toronto Medical School. Hahn is a writer, philosopher, humorist, and computer expert. In all, he has written 30 books that have sold more than 2 million copies, and his work is archived by the Special Collections Department of the UC Santa Barbara library. Hahn has written widely about money and economics, and is also an accomplished abstract artist and a skilled musician. See more at

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