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Ken

Most of the countries that are excluded have economies based very much on natural resources, specifically oil, meaning no need to interact with the rest of the world for the rest of the economy. Additionally in the oil-rich nations much of the real work is done by guest workers. The impression is that they are low paid Pakistani labourers, but they are also often IT, engineers and oil workers.

The need for additional predictors raises an important difficulty. There are less than a 100 countries with good data on most economic variables. I think in the graphs there are 40-50. The only way to fit models is to choose a small number of predictors. Choice of predictors can obtain almost every result desired.

It is a similar result with comparison of US states. With only 50 states trying to build models of how, for example, the death penalty affects crime rates is just not going to work well. Doesn't stop social scientists and economists doing things like this.

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