Structural transformation and economic development : can development traps be avoided?

A.M. Lavopa

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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This thesis addresses a classic issue in economic thinking: why some countries remain poor while others manage to reach the living standards of advanced economies, reducing their gaps in terms of technology, income and social welfare. In addressing this question the thesis postulates that success (or failure) in economic development is closely related to the ability of developing countries to transform their economic structure and move towards the production of goods with higher technological levels and larger demand in world markets. An in-deep empirical analysis of the last 60 years over a sample of 100 countries demonstrates that the most successful economies (e.g., China, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand) have been those that managed to achieve simultaneously the two transformations. The less successful ones, instead, have been unable to perform these transformations and ended up in low or middle income traps (e.g., Brazil, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia), in which only a fraction of the society can reap the benefits of the international flows of technological knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Szirmai, A., Supervisor, External person
  • Verspagen, Bart, Supervisor
Award date12 Mar 2015
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789461594167
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Economic Development
  • Technological Catch-Up
  • Structural Change

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