Date of Award

5-1-2010

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geography and Environmental Resources

First Advisor

Oyana, Tonny

Abstract

The World Bank estimated that 1.4 billion people in the world were living in poverty in 2008. In the last several decades, many countries have succeeded in not only reducing the number and percent of people living in poverty, but also increasing overall economic strength. Yet, while some countries have succeeded, many others have not. This unequal growth has led to newer development theories that include the importance of geography and the physical environment. A leading researchers in this field, Jeffrey Sachs, argues that geography and physical ecology, along with some economic indicators are responsible for this difference in success. This research tests the theory that was suggested by Sachs. Spatial statistics techniques were used to analyze these theories with new methods and shed new light on the variables. Results showed that certain variables (coastal population, proximity to a major market) were not as significant in development, when regional differences were accounted for. However, other variables, particularly malaria and consumption, were very significant. In addition, testing variables regionally provided much better results than previously-used global models. Lastly, the results were used to analyze outliers. The outliers helped to discuss other important variables and pave the way for future research.

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