Which Countries Have Graduated from Each Income Group, and When?

March 23, 2016

Updated April 21, 2016, to catch instances of countries that have slipped backwards and not re-graduated.

There are some questions that a majority of the researchers in a field will ask themselves at least once. In our field, one such question is which countries have graduated from each income group, and when. This is an important question because the world has been quietly transforming since the 1980s (see the chart below). It’s the sort of thing that you’d expect to be able to google. But it turns out that in this case, it is surprisingly hard to do that.

And so it was that I found myself hunting for an exhaustive, reliable table of graduation dates from low-income status for all applicable countries. After 10 or 15 minutes of frustrated googling and searching papers for a table, I eventually found the World Bank’s Excel file of historical data for operational lending groups. I then wrote some fairly easy Stata code to find graduation dates from each income group (except ‘high’, of course). I probably spent about an hour total to generate the table below.

Graduation dates from each income group for every applicable country

I’m posting this graph, this table and the Stata code used to generate them in the hope that lots of other researchers can save themselves a little bit of time by using or adapting my work. This is a part of the power of open, transparent research: by sharing our work, we can all become massively more productive.

You can download the Stata code used to download the World Bank’s data and create the data in this table and graph here (updated April 21, 2016).


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