Escaping the middle-income technology trap: A comparative analysis of industrial policies in China, Brazil and South Africa

Antonio Andreoni, Fiona Tregenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Instead of catching up with advanced economies, most middle-income countries have remained stuck in a middle-income trap. We identify and analyse the triple challenges of ‘breaking into’ the global economy, ‘linking up’ into global value chains while ‘linking back’ to the local production system, and ‘keeping pace’ with technological change and innovation. We focus specifically on what we term the ‘middle-income technology trap’: specific structural and institutional configurations that are not conducive to increasing domestic value addition and to sustained industrial and technological upgrading. We explore this through case studies of China, Brazil and South Africa and the analysis of the evolution of their industrial policies and specific institutions, specifically InnoFund model in China, the Embrapa system in Brazil, and the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme in South Africa. Industrial policy implications for middle-income countries in particular, and for developing countries more widely, are finally discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-340
Number of pages17
JournalStructural Change and Economic Dynamics
Volume54
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Industrial development
  • Industrial policy
  • Middle-income technology trap
  • Structural transformation
  • Technology upgrading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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