The Wealth and Poverty of Nations

I asked ChatGPT 4.0 (2023) to write this year’s literature survey essay. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean less work for you. Rather, your task is different than I have set in previous years: you will be critically evaluating Chat GPT’s essay in your own 2,000-word essay.
I set the multimodal large language model to write an essay with the title displayed in the box below.
“Institutions explain the wealth and poverty of nations.”
In addition to freely available content drawn from the entirety of the internet, I fed Chat GPT some material it did not have access to: relevant academic journal articles that are hidden behind paywalls, taken from the ECO3020 reading list. This added to the resources it could draw upon, and made the essay more bespoke and appropriate for ECO3020.
The essay, which you can download here, is surprisingly good for something written by an AI; I judge it to be at least a 2.2. One criticism I would have is it is drawing on a rather limited set of reading. Saying that, it is very well written; the structure is logical, and the use of English is significantly better than that of most students.
So, your task: to critically evaluate Chad G. P. Tee’s essay. Your 2,000-word essay should be a direct response to Chad’s essay. It is important to ensure you understand the thesis posed, identify the basic issues the thesis raises, and confront them head-on. To do this it is necessary to produce a clearly structured analysis and support your argument with evidence taken from readings in the fields of economic history and historical economics.
It is important that the basic structure of your essay is genuinely analytical. By this I mean you must engage with your reading rather than just repeat it! You are required to support your points with sufficient evidence to make them convincing and to organize your points in a way which allows your argument to develop persuasively. You should ask yourself whether you are using evidence to support a point you wish to make, or just gratuitously using evidence for its own sake. You should avoid long narrative or descriptive sections. And you should not be conducting your own data analysis, nor constructing any data visualizations. This is an exercise in reading and understanding, not in quantitative analysis.
It is important to develop an awareness of different approaches and arguments, and to ensure that your analysis demonstrates this awareness. You are a student of economics, and you should not forget, or set aside, all of your economics from other modules. You will be able to employ the skills you have as an economist to create a structure for your analysis and as a means of organizing and focusing the evidence. But it is important to note that you are, in the end, writing an economic history essay; this should not be an essay in the history of economic thought, development economics, or another field!
It is essential that you read widely and critically. Follow up on Chad’s reading, but read beyond it also. There will be points of disagreement and you will need to come to a critically aware judgement of these disagreements, where relevant. Your essay should reflect a range of books and journal articles, and should not rely on copying out or paraphrasing these sources; this is plagiarism. Please refer to the university regulation on academic offences.
You should start your reading with material from the syllabus, but you will rapidly find additional reading necessary by following references to other academic writings. These should be listed in a bibliography at the end of the essay, which does not count towards your word count. All referenced sources should be written in English, and easily available online or through the QUB library. Direct quotations, which ideally should be avoided, must always be referenced with a specific page number. You should provide sufficient in-text references to allow the reader to identify the sources from which you are drawing your material.
Please upload your final essay using the upload tool below. You are only permitted to upload your file once, and you will not yourself receive a Turnitin report. Graders cannot view student names, so please do not put your name on your essay!
Good luck!

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