The Poland/Malaysia model: A get-upper-middle-class-quick scheme

Noah Smith in Noahpinion:

The generally acknowledged development champion of the modern world is South Korea. Joe Studwell, the author of How Asia Works, uses Korea as his paradigmatic success story, as does the economist Ha-Joon Chang (who grew up there). Chang and Studwell’s ideas have forced mainstream economists to take another look at industrial policy — in particular, at the idea that poor countries should promote manufactured exports in order to raise their productivity levels. Korea, which has fully made the transition from poverty to developed-country status over the last half century, has used this strategy to great effect. In general, in this series of posts, I’ve tried to look at developing countries through the lens of the Chang/Studwell model, which means I’ve been implicitly comparing them to South Korea all along.

But anyway, South Korea is not the only big development success story that we’ve seen in recent decades. Two others that are almost as impressive are Poland and Malaysia, which are now on the cusp of developed-country status.

More here.