May ZawFollow

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Manfred Keil

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© 2021 May P Zaw


One of the fundamental questions of our times, not only in the field of economics, but other social sciences as well, is why some countries are wealthier than others and what causes variations in their relative income status over time. This thesis searches for the key determinants that contribute to the Wealth of Nations or per capita income. As a byproduct, I investigate growth factors and look at convergence or catch-up of poorer nations. A neoclassical growth model is used as a theoretical framework to study cross-country convergence of 92 countries from 1970 to 2019. Special attention is paid to countries in the Mekong region. The empirical findings support the notion that GDP growth is dependent on higher levels of human capital, lower population growth, higher investment-output ratios, lower government spending, and political rights. Political rights have a weak effect on growth.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.