The Deep Determinants at More Subtle Stages of Development – The Example of the Middle-Income Trap Phenomenon

56 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2017

See all articles by Linda Glawe

Linda Glawe

FernUniversität in Hagen

Helmut Wagner

University of Hagen (Fernuniversitaet Hagen)

Date Written: December 10, 2017


The so-called ‘deep determinants’ of economic growth and development (namely, geography, institutions, and integration) have been found to be decisive for the break out of stagnation and for explaining cross-country income differences by many empirical studies. However, so far, very little has been done to examine to which extent they are also crucial at more subtle stages of economic development. Our paper aims to close this gap by focusing on the phenomenon of the middle-income trap (MIT) which has reached increasing attention in the last 15 years. In particular, we test whether the results of the empirical studies conducted by Acemoglu et al. (2001), Rodrik et al. (2004), and Easterly and Levine (2016) also remain valid when analyzing the MIT. We are the first to analyze the relationship between the deep determinants and the MIT, especially regarding the causal effect of institutional quality on the probability of experiencing a growth slowdown at the middle-income range. Our analysis reveals that while, in general, the deep determinants also seem to play an important role for the middle-income transition (and the question of whether a country falls into an MIT), some differences compared to the results of the standard literature become apparent.

Keywords: deep determinants of growth, economic development, economic growth, middle-income trap, geography, institutions, openness

JEL Classification: O10, O11, O43, O57

Suggested Citation

Glawe, Linda and Wagner, Helmut, The Deep Determinants at More Subtle Stages of Development – The Example of the Middle-Income Trap Phenomenon (December 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Linda Glawe (Contact Author)

FernUniversität in Hagen ( email )

Universitätsstr. 11 (TGZ)
Chair of Macroeconomics
58084 Hagen

Helmut Wagner

University of Hagen (Fernuniversitaet Hagen) ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 41
Feithstrathe 140
D-58084 Hagen
011-49-2331-987-2640 (Phone)
011-49-2331-987-391 (Fax)

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