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Wisdom of the crowds: culture, economy and technology policy

Hello HASTAC.

I'm currently ruminating on a interesting notion for my Masters thesis: I want to investigate the effect cultural policies have on economic growth and scientific/technology output, preferably in developing context. I know that seems way too broad, and that's why I want to crowdsource interesting approaches on how to identify one interesting aspect in this area.

Here's my gut feeling, my null hypothesis so to speak - I think we do indeed have a lot of indicators that measure development, but most of them focus on economic numbers like GDP or some aspect of technology transfer. In a gross recontextualisation, this strikes me as the equivalent of driving truckloads of money and iPhones to an empty swamp, dumping the contents there and superficially boasting that the area in question now has money coming in and technology it didn't have before - it's developing. Perhaps in support of the technology push-pull model, I suspect that as long as the only incentives for a developing region are to "catch up" with the world, economically or technologically, there is growth but this growth may be stunted, or the underlying policies are too likely blind copies of others' actions. Perhaps the way to stimulate inherent interest, innovation and growth (which involves less of copying technology or economic processes to compete with others on their saturated playing field and more of modifying and assimilating tech and processes to suit localised capabilities and needs). To be very specific, I'm interested in the synergistic effects of cultural development/policy on economic growth and scientific output. My degree is an MSc, and I am advised not to make my work too sociological/anthropological though I have no qualms myself.

Of course, I haven't yet started work on my thesis, and this picture is the best of my understanding. If you are aware of glaring errors, please tell me.

But that still leaves this interesting area to research. Possible approaches I had in mind:
- Statistical analysis of longitudinal studies mapping trends in lifestyles to economic/scientific/cultural policies of that region for that period of time
- Comparing Finnish education (getting rave reviews) to Singaporean education (as I happen to be Singaporean)
- I'm beginning to pick up some data science (coding), I have done statistical modelling and system dynamics/agent-based modelling, and some case that would allow to study using these methods would be interesting indeed
- looking at the effects of international students in the local university population on the local economy, mindset etc

I'd love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, interesting cases that you are aware of - anything really. Let me know guys!

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