The Developed/Developing Country Division in the Global Economy: Losing Traction in the COVID-19 Era?

Clara Brandi, Clara Weinhardt*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This essay revisits the developed/developing country division in the global economy in the light of the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. A trend that precedes the pandemic has been a seeming detachment of the binary distinction between “developed” versus “developing” countries and what has been described as growing economic diversity in the so-called “developing world.” While emerging markets such as Brazil, India, or China have been able to catch up economically with the “developed” world, many African, Middle Eastern, or South Asian countries are increasingly marginalized in the global economy. At the same time, there is an increasing recognition that poverty is rising within the so-called “developed” world. Against this context, we investigate whether the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic reinforce this trend and further blur the developed/developing country divide in the global economy. We find a nuanced picture that contains elements of both continuity and change: while the short-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic cut across the developed/developing country distinction, its long-term economic repercussions largely reiterate the divide—with the exception of China among the emerging markets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number24318
JournalGlobal Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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