The “Middle-Income Trap” and Careers

In the 60s, Simon Kuznets said that there are four kinds of countries in the world: developed, undeveloped, Japan, and Argentina. This was always funny (for an economics joke) but has gotten less true over time. Today, you’d have a longer and clunkier list: there’s America, other developed countries, some countries stuck in a deep poverty trap (too poor to build institutions necessary for the investment they’d need to get rich), some stuck in a natural resource trap (what can you do in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Nigeria, or Chile that matches the profits from resource extraction? Moreover, what can…