This study analyses to which extent the classification of countries as developing corresponds with their actual development level. Development status classification schemes (DSCSs) differ across international organizations, yielding heterogeneous outcomes. In the literature, different concepts of a developing country focus on different indicators of development levels. All analysed indicators have a highly significant effect on the countries' probability to be classified as developing, and discerning developing countries from others leads to a reduction of heterogeneity with all DSCSs for most indicators. Schemes which nominate countries for classes correspond mainly with concepts focusing on difficult starting points or an early stage in systemic transition. Schemes which classify countries based on specified criteria typically reflect a welfare-based concept. The hypothesis of a weakening correspondence over the last four decades cannot be confirmed for all indicators.

Sustainable Development Goals:
Related Subject(s): Economic and Social Development

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  • Published online: 22 Jun 2020
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