World Economic and Social Survey 2006

Diverging Growth and Development

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The World Economic and Social Survey provides objective analysis of pressing long-term social and economic development issues, and discusses the positive and negative impact of corresponding policies. The analyses are supported by analytical research and data included in the annex. According to the 2006 edition of the Survey, in the industrialized world, the income level over the last five decades has grown steadily while it has failed to do so in many developing countries, thereby causing a rise in already high world inequality.



Has trade integration caused greater divergence?

It is often claimed that integration into the global economy through increased flows of goods, services, capital, technology and labour—admittedly the least mobile production factor in the group—enhances opportunities for growth and development, thus providing a powerful push towards closing the income gap between developed and developing economies. Convergence narratives that make the connection with integration usually refer to the experience of post-war Japan, to the Western European periphery since the late 1950s and to the more recent experience of the East Asian newly industrialized economies. In all these cases, a strong investment-trade nexus certainly helped to power rates of economic growth above those of the leading industrialized economies.


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