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In my economics syllabus, one of the student competences is to "Show the cumulative nature of growth and measure average and annual rates of growth". What I don't understand is how a country's GDP growth can be subject to cumulative or compounding effects?

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The basic idea is simple. If you grow 1% each year for five years you end up with a GDP that is (1.01)^5 of what you started: the 1% growth of each year accumulates over time.

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