Working Paper
The world’s two new middles

Growth, precarity, structural change, and the limitations of the special case

This paper discusses the emergence of two new middles since the Cold War, namely middle-income countries and people living above absolute poverty but below a security-from poverty-line. The paper sets out what has happened. It is argued that although there has been substantial economic growth, only a relatively small group of the new middle-income countries have achieved structural transformation, and a large proportion of the ‘middle’ people sit precariously  just above the new global poverty line. The patterns of growth, precarity, and structural change underlying the emergence of the world’s two middles are discussed.