The Middle-Income Trap (MIT): a provincial comparison between Shaanxi and Jiangsu

Bala Ramasamy, Liyang Ruan, Jiarui Zhang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


This case is essentially about economic growth and development in general, and about China in particular. It makes the topic of growth more interesting by discussing the triggering factors of the MIT through comparing the differences between a trapped and an escaped province, i.e., Shaanxi and Jiangsu, respectively. To alleviate the regional development gap, Shaanxi and Jiangsu became paired poverty alleviation partners in 1996 under the guidance of the Chinese central government. However, 20 years have passed and a huge gap still exists between the two provinces in many fields. Jiangsu's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has surpassed the MIT range, while Shaanxi's has not, and the province is very likely to be trapped with the continuing slowdown of its economic growth. The key difference between the two provinces is not resources, but development policies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberCB0053-PDF-ENG
Number of pages16
JournalHarvard Business Review
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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