Journal Article

Are developing countries catching up?

Vladimir Popov and K S Jomo

in Cambridge Journal of Economics

Volume 42, issue 1, pages 33-46
Published in print January 2018 | ISSN: 0309-166X
Published online June 2017 | e-ISSN: 1464-3545 | DOI:
Are developing countries catching up?

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  • Economic History
  • Economic Development
  • Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity


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This paper reviews catch-up growth in various parts of the world, especially in the twentieth century, with a particular focus on what this implies for the Global South. In 1950, US per capita national income, adjusted for purchasing power, was nearly five times the world average. Since then, Western Europe and Japan have closed their per capita income gaps with the USA. East Asia, South Asia and some other developing countries have also started to close their gaps with the West in recent decades. Thus, after well over a century of growing international economic disparities or divergence, the world has witnessed an era of uneven catching up with the North in parts of the South since the mid-twentieth century.

Keywords: Convergence; Divergence; Catching up; International disparities; Economic growth; Uneven development

Journal Article.  5823 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History ; Economic Development ; Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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