Tracking the Middle-Income Trap: What is It, Who is in It, and Why? (Part 1)

Date: March 2012
Type: Papers and Briefs
Series: Economics Working Papers
ISSN: 1655-5252 (print)
Author: Felipe, Jesus


Jesus Felipe provides a working definition of the middle-income trap. In 2010 and out of 124 countries with available data, there were 52 middle-income countries, of which 35 were in this trap. Of the 35, 13 were in Latin America, 11 in the Middle East and North Africa, six in Sub-Saharan Africa, three in Asia, and two in Europe. The three Asian countries trapped were the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia, although the last two may escape it soon. Indonesia and Pakistan are at the risk of falling into it in the coming years. The People’s Republic China and India are not in the trap.


  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Defining Income Groups
  • What is the Middle-Income Trap?
  • Who is in the Middle-income Trap Today?
  • Conclusions
  • Appendixes
  • References