Business and Economics in Developing Countries (BEDC)

Many of today’s poorest countries do not collect adequate revenues to build the human capital, infrastructure, and institutions needed for stronger growth and faster poverty reduction. Even with substantial foreign grants and loans, government spending by developing countries is lower than by advanced economies. Comparisons between today’s developing countries and today’s advanced economies can provide aspiration but less so in terms of recommendations about policies and institutions. Of greater value for developing countries are comparisons with advanced economies when they were less prosperous and would have been considered low-income or lower middle-income.

Recent decades have seen rapid growth of the world economy. This growth has been driven in part by the even faster rise in international trade. The growth in trade is in turn the result of both technological developments and concerted efforts to reduce trade barriers. Some developing countries have opened their own economies to take full advantage of the opportunities for economic development through trade, but many have not. Remaining trade barriers in industrial countries are concentrated in the agricultural products and labor-intensive manufactures in which developing countries have a comparative advantage. Further trade liberalization in these areas particularly, by both industrial and developing countries, would help the poorest escape from extreme poverty while also benefiting the industrial countries themselves.