Why GDP Matters For Schoolkids : Planet Money Jamaica and Barbados have taken different economic paths. Alex Blumberg visits schools in both countries to see what that means.

Why GDP Matters For Schoolkids

Jamaica, Barbados GDP

Why GDP Matters For Schoolkids

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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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