United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Research Papers

UNCTAD Research Papers provide authoritative data and analysis on trade, investment, finance and technology, offering solutions to the major challenges facing developing countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable nations. Beyond tailored analysis and policy recommendations, our research has also generated global standards that govern responsible sovereign lending and borrowing, investment, entrepreneurship, competition and consumer protection and trade rules towards achievement of the 2030 Agenda.


Development Status as a Measure of Development

UNCTAD Research Paper No. 46

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.


Keywords: Economic development, cluster analysis, logistic regression, classification
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