Journal Issue

World economy in transition: Indicators of growth

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Published Date:
March 1984
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The accompanying charts represent a selection of a wide array of economic and social data assembled by the Bank’s Economic Analysis and Projections Department and recently published in the two-volume World Tables (3rd Edition). The charts allow meaningful comparisons of the trends in selected indicators among developing countries belonging to different income groups for the past 2 or 3 decades. Indicators for one regional grouping—sub-Saharan Africa—are also included to provide background data to the articles on this area that appear on pp 5-17 of the journal.

(Average real growth rates)


Average annual growth rates for 1950-60 are calculated in constant prices for the initial and terminal years only; those for the latter periods are computed by fitting trend lines to the logarithmic values of the data at constant prices for each year of the time period shown. The composition of each income group remains the same for the entire period in the sense that no allowance is made for countries moving out of a particular income group into another as a result of changes in GNP per capita.

Developing economies (excluding high-income oil exporters) are divided into: low-income economies, with 1981 GNP per capita of $405 and below; middle-income economies, with 1981 GNP per capita of above $405. High-income oil exporters: Bahrain, Brunei, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Industrial market economies: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. East European nonmarket economies: Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Caution should be exercised when comparing growth rates for the nonmarket economies (or centrally planned economies) with those for the market economies. While most countries follow the broad principles of the U.N. System of National Accounts (SNA), the nonmarket economies follow the Net Material Product system which differs from GNP in that it excludes so-called nonmaterial services. This difference between the concepts used for national accounts of market and nonmarket economies limits the comparability of the data presented for these two groups of countries.

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