Tracking the Middle-Income Trap: What is It, Who is in It, and Why? (Part 2)

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


This paper provides empirical evidence that supports the hypothesis that some countries get stuck in the middle-income trap as a result of not being able to increase the diversification and sophistication of their export packages. A comparison of the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines shows that the Republic of Korea diversified into more and more sophisticated products than the other two countries.


  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • What Characterizes the Countries in the Middle-income Trap? The Role of Structural Transformation
  • Comparing Countries in the Trap with Those Not in It
  • Not All Products Have the Same Consequences for Growth: The Product Trap
  • The Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines: Three Different Stories
  • Conclusions
  • Appendixes
  • Selected References