Income per-capita across-countries: Stories of catching-up, stagnation, and laggardness

Juan Ricardo Perilla Jimenez


A sample of 131 countries is classified into those at the frontier (24 OECD countries), and those that over the 1950-2019 period managed to catching-up, remained stagnant, or kept lagging further behind. Timedistance to the frontier suggests that successful catching-up has been already completed by some countries. But it would take no less than 27 years and as much as 194 years in the most optimistic scenario for other countries. The comparative analysis reveals patterns of (unconditional) convergence, secular stagnation and divergence characterized by differences in the approach to local innovation and technology diffusion from abroad, jointly with the ability to take advantage of economies of scale.

Key words: Economic development and growth, technology change

JEL Classification: 011, 047, 057

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