This research shows that the lack of a clear definition on what it is to be a ‘developed country’ creates differences among the main international institutions. This paper looks at the World Trade Organization and its country classification criteria and focuses on the developed countries recent policies that aim at withdrawing the developing countries’ preferential treatment. This enables me to analyse processes by which the absence of a threshold is used as tool to manipulate the developing countries’ initiatives and undermine their competitiveness. I conclude that the lack of a rigorous conceptualization of development evidences the inability of international organizations to deal with the multitude of aspects involved in the developmental process. It is pertinent that these institutions open the debate and coordinate efforts in order to generate common taxonomy and methodology to classify countries, so to avoid the complete deterioration of development policies.

Additional Metadata
Keywords International political economy, trade, global governance, WTO, classification, graduation, developing countries, development, SDT, GSP
Thesis Advisor Bergeijk, Peter van
Persistent URL
Series International Political Economy and Development (IPED)
Secco de Oliveira, Hythakar. (2011, December 15). Develop me not, graduate me. A study on the WTO’s classification and graduation policy and how it negatively affects the developing countries. International Political Economy and Development (IPED). Retrieved from