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World Economic Survey 1987

Current Trends and Policies in the World Economy

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The modest expansion that characterizes the world economy during most of the first half of the 1980s persisted in 1986. Inflation has decelerated considerably and industrial countries are entering their fifth year of expansion, though at a slow pace. The world economy appears to be set in a slow growth path, which is likely to delay the great adjustments required at the national and international levels. The continuation in 1986 and early 1987 of the trade imbalances of the larger industrial economies has added to the strains on the world financial and trade systems.

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The fast-growing developing countries of the 1980s

The rates of economic growth of the developing countries have diverged widely in recent years. Some countries have achieved high rates of growth while others have stagnated or have suffered an actual decline in income. The divergence of growth rates is, of course, not a new phenomenon. What has given the question added importance is the sharp deceleration of growth of the developing countries as a whole during the 1980s and the international environment in which it took place. At a time when a large number of these economies have been stagnating or declining, quite a few showed an impressive growth record. The present chapter examines the growth experience of 13 developing countries and territories and one planned economy with some major developing country characteristics (China) which had high rates of growth of GDP during the period 1981-1985, and seeks to identify factors that might have contributed to their relative success.

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