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Perspectives on Global Development 2014

Boosting Productivity to Meet the Middle-Income Challenge

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Developing economies continue to grow faster than more advanced countries. Non-OECD countries’ share in world GDP surpassed that of OECD countries in 2010. Since its first edition in 2010, the annual Perspectives on Global Development has investigated the trends in “shifting wealth”, the increasing economic weight of developing countries in the world economy. “Shifting wealth” has received a boost through the rise of China, which has also led to positive spillover effects on developing economies that supply China’s demand for resource-based products and intermediates. However, even at their higher rates of growth since 2000, the per capita incomes in developing countries – including many middle-income countries – will not reach the levels of developed countries by 2050. Boosting productivity growth in middle-income countries could stem this trend and is the focus of this report. At the same time, this growth needs to be inclusive so a real convergence in living standards can take place.

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Regional policies to enhance competitiveness

OECD Development Centre

This chapter first discusses regional disparities in economic development across some BRIICS countries and other emerging economies, before exploring the drivers of regional competitive advantages and the policy options and strategies for activating them. Economic development tends to be accompanied by uneven growth between regions, as early drivers of growth may be geographically concentrated and connections within a country may be underdeveloped. Widespread convergence in regional income is not seen in many emerging economies, but there is some evidence that convergence in productivity is underway. Regional disparities are widely considered to lock developing countries in relative income stagnation. In addition to nation-wide policies, regional policies to support overall national objectives of stronger, more equitable and greener economic growth are needed.

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