For years, policy-makers have used the United Nations’ country classification, based on per capita gross national income, as the measurement of their country’s development. The aspiration to move up the scale assumes that: 1) economic growth is the international standard measurement of development; and 2) the more one produces, the better one’s quality of life will be. The history of political movements and economic policies has witnessed both successful and failed attempts to move up the scale. The countries that have accelerated their economic growth have been celebrated worldwide and the general perception is that the people in these countries now enjoy a more resourceful life. This attitude towards economic growth has created a presumption that pro-growth policies observed in more developed countries and actively promoted by international institutions could be applicable in other developing countries. Can this classification ever be misleading?Per capita GDP ignores distributional effects. Conventional economists ignore distributional effects, assuming trickle down, which often doesn't happen, at least sufficiently to make a difference to many people and some made worse off.
Developing EconomicsThe Case Against the Universal Liberalisation Model for Economic Growth
Jenny Tue Anh Nguyen, a PhD student in Economics at the University of Greenwich