Improving Countries’ Standards of Living

Key Concepts and Summary

The fundamentals of growth are the same in every country: improvements in human capital, physical capital, and technology interacting in a market-oriented economy. Countries that are high-income tend to focus on developing and using new technology. Countries that are middle-income focus on increasing human capital and becoming more connected to technology and global markets. They have charted unconventional paths by relying more on state-led support rather than relying solely on markets. Low-income, economically-challenged countries have many health and human development needs, but they are also challenged by the lack of investment and foreign aid to develop infrastructure like roads. There are some bright spots when it comes to financial development and mobile communications, which suggest that low-income countries can become technology leaders in their own right, but it is too early to claim victory. These countries must do more to connect to the rest of the global economy and find the technologies that work best for them.