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Policy Debate | Learning to grow beyond the middle-income trap - Singapore as an export model?

Editor's notes

This policy debate section presents an initial discussion paper written either by a scholar or a policy-maker, followed by critical reactions from academics, reflective practitioners and other stakeholders in a constructive spirit. This debate can be pursued on the Journal’s blog where you are invited to share your reflections under your name.

In the initial paper ‘Learning to Grow’, the authors argue that a key challenge for middle-income countries is to avoid ‘the middle-income trap’. In this situation, economic growth has come to a halt and a country is unable to transition to the next level in part due to inadequacies in high-level human capital. Taking the example of Singapore as a country that has avoided the middle-income trap, the authors call for ‘a much closer alignment of policies for human capital and economic development’ and a ‘human capital focussed development strategy’. In his answer, Professor Gopinathan, from the National University of Singapore, analyses some key conditions that were crucial for Singapore’s success and questions whether the model could be exported to other contexts.

Readers who are intetested are invited to contribute to this policy debate on our blog < >.

Download the whole debate (pdf)