Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Economics and Finance

Committee Chair(s)

Aspen Gorry


Dwight Israelsen


Man-Keun Kim


So many of the world's most impoverished nations are found in warm climate regions that some economists have referred to "tropical" as synonymous with "underdeveloped". In this paper I study the difference in GDP per capita throughout the world based on latitude, and show that there is a significant, positive correlation between distance from the equator and GDP per capita. I find that consumption is different in wealthier countries and that these differences are correlated with latitude. I use these differences in consumption as a new approach to evaluating the problem of what causes temperate climate nations to be rich and warm climate nations to be poor. I hypothesize that cold weather creates demand for greater fuel consumption, better built homes, warmer clothing, and automobiles for transportation, and that production of these goods increases total output.

Included in

Economics Commons