Developing and Transitional Economies Topic Index

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Current Account

Many developing countries have specialized in exporting commodities such as coffee, lumber, and beef, the value of which has declined relative to manufactured consumer good imports. Thus many developing countries have found themselves having a current account deficit, which must be offset by foreign loans and other injections into the capital account in order to achieve a balance of payments. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was created as a part of the Bretton Woods agreement to provide loans to countries having short-term balance of payments difficulties.

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Labor Productivity

In recent years the process of globalization of trade and investment has been accompanied by a decline in trade barriers and a rise in capitalism and democracy. Under these conditions, wages will be set globally based on the marginal revenue product of labor. Thus a key to economic development is to increase labor productivity. One path to higher labor productivity is improved education and technical training, removal of discriminatory and exploitative practices that prevent women and others from participating fully in the labor market.

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Real GDP

Most developing countries were colonies exploited by a major European power, are relatively less industrialized, and have considerably lower real per-capita GDP than the U.S., Canada, Japan, and various European countries. Transitional economies also have relatively low real per-capita GDP, and are those formerly centrally planned countries that are adopting a more capitalist economic system. In order for developing and transitional economies to experience Western-style material standards of living they must foster very rapid rates of economic growth.

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Real Per-Capita Disposable Income

Developing and transitional economies have low levels of real per-capita income compared to the U.S., Japan, and Western European countries.

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