It’s Democracy, Stupid: Reappraising the Middle-Income Trap
The causes and reasons for countries’ economic growth and development have long been a challenging subject for research and debate. It is observed that while many countries experience high growth when they are low-income countries, once they become middle-income countries rapid growth is often followed by economic stagnation, with the potential for increasing social unrest as a result. A key puzzle is therefore why many middle-income countries fail to sustain suf-ficient economic growth to become high-income countries. A relatively recent concept in this debate is that of the Middle Income Trap (MIT), which argues that countries encounter a series of obstacles when trying to adapt their econo-mies and comparative advantages to become more specialized market econo-mies. In other words, the very same factors that fueled growth in the early stag-es act as a hindrance at the middle-income level, slowing down and eventually causing a stagnation of the growth process, if the correct policies are not im-plemented. This study seeks to reappraise the MIT concept by going beyond a mainstream analysis, which focuses mainly on economic aspects of growth/stagnation. Accordingly, while prudent economic management and pol-icies are vital to avoid the MIT, factors relating to governance, institutions, in-clusive growth, and education, among others, can underlie and play a determin-ing role in explaining failure or success in sustaining economic growth. There-fore, non-economic dimensions are fundamental for any reform or structural change, and, as is argued in this paper, democratic governance can serve as a useful proxy for many of these factors.
A New Spring for Caspian Transit and Trade
Major recent shifts, starting with the Taliban victory in Afghanistan and Russia’s war in Ukraine have led to a resurgence of the Trans-Caspian transportation corridor. This corridor, envisioned in the […]
South Korea’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, Atmanirbhar Bharat, and the IPEF: Convergence and Commonality
For some time now, the existing multilateral networks such as those of the United Nations (UN) system have been largely ineffective in providing good global governance and helping create resilience, […]
Washington Declaration: Beyond Korea, What it Means for India?
In April 2023, South Korea and the United States released the Washington Declaration to reiterate and upgrade their treaty alliance. In outlining a joint nuclear deterrence strategy, the Declaration reaffirmed […]
Revitalizing INSTC: Analyzing Geopolitical Realignments and the China Factor
In recent years, the rise of Asia as the geoeconomic and geostrategic fulcrum has not only realigned global geopolitics but also reasserted the need for regional connectivity. For example, the […]
1325 NAPs Beyond East and West: Institutionalizing the WPS Agenda in Sweden and South Korea
Jiso Yoon & Love-Lis Liljeström compare Sweden’s and South Korea’s primary achievements and flaws in formulating and implementing their national action plans on the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
Politics in East Asia Today: Between Democracy, Debates, and Discourse
Introduction: On September 9-10, 2021, the Stockholm China Center at the Institute for Security & Development Policy (ISDP) organized the seminar “Politics in East Asia Today.” Thirteen scholars from different […]