In the country history guides it is indicated that at the end of the twentieth century. in the modern world  there were 237 countries. Of these, 192 were UN members in 2002. Countries are extremely diverse in area, population, national and ethnic composition, in the level and characteristics of economic development, in their place and role in the international division of labor.

The most important and at the same time very difficult task is the systematization of the countries of the world. A huge amount of material has been accumulated about the peculiarities of the formation and development of countries, about the laws of formation of their internal economic structure, about the place and role of countries in the world economy, in the international division of labor, etc. However, there is still no  universally recognized typology of countries, which is due, firstly, to the fact that countries that are the result of the activities of societies are much more changeable than, for example, objects of living nature and even more so of inanimate nature; secondly, this variability makes it difficult to find fully comparable objective criteria.

Overcoming these negative aspects lies on the ways of a civilized approach to the typology of the countries of the world, the study of the historical roots of the formation of countries, the study of the patterns of formation and development of the world economy. Based on this, let’s start with the basic concepts.

The type of country is an objectively formed relatively stable set of conditions and features of development inherent in it, characterizing its role and place in the world community at this stage of world history.

It is possible to characterize the type of country  with the help of a set of indicators that, in some significant, sometimes decisive typological features, on the one hand, unite this country with a number of similar countries, and on the other hand, distinguish it from all other types of countries.

The allocation of country types by international organizations (UN, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc.) is carried out on the basis of interstate comparisons of historical features of the formation and development of countries and their macrostatic data.

According to the UN methodology, the most important indicators of the level of socio-economic development of any country are: gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP), as well as these indicators calculated per capita. The dynamics of GDP and GNP over a number of years gives an idea of the rate of economic growth.

Of particular note is such an important indicator as the sectoral structure of the economy and the employment of the economically active population (EAP) in the sectors of the national economy. The ratio of the “primary”, “secondary”, “tertiary” and “quaternary” sectors of the economy and employment in them EAN is analyzed, the role of each sector in the country’s economy is determined.

The most adequate reflection of a country’s real degree of development is to compare it with other countries in terms of newly created manufactured products (value added by processing or net worth). Experts use the indicator “industrialization coefficient”: the ratio of the country’s share in the relatively pure output of the capitalist world to its share in the population. It shows how many percent of the world’s industrial output is accounted for by one percent of the world’s population living in a given country. This time-changing indicator well reflects the unevenness of development, the change in the country’s place in the world capitalist system.

To identify the types of countries, it is very important to determine the characteristics and level of development of capitalism in agriculture. In this case, a combination of two indicators is chosen for this – labor productivity in agriculture and the degree of land use, or land productivity.

To assign countries to one of the large groups and specific types, a large place is occupied by the characteristics of their place in the system of international economic relations. These are data on capital exports for highly developed countries and on foreign investment for developing countries. Important is the country’s share in the world’s exports compared to its share in the world’s GDP – an indicator of the export of the economy.

The qualitative composition of exports can be judged by the share of industrial products and, in particular, the means of production in exports. It is even more important to give a balance of trade in the means of production.

In order to more comprehensively and clearly characterize the economic efficiency of countries’ exports, it is possible to calculate the export efficiency coefficient according to the formula


where  Kee is the export efficiency ratio;

Hdpe – export of the country per capita;

Hndm – weighted average exports of the world per capita;

HVP – the share of the country’s exports in its GDP;

Hvpm is the share of the world’s exports in its GDP.

The ratio actually shows revenue per capita from each exported percentage of GDP compared to the world average of 100. The greater a country’s per capita exports and the smaller the share of GDP exported, the higher the economic efficiency of a country’s exports.

Social indicators are of no small importance for assigning countries to a certain type and for characterizing types. The state of literacy and education of the population gives an idea of the level of preparedness of the labor force and highly qualified personnel. These indicators are especially needed for developing countries, where the differentiation in this area is significant. For post-industrial countries, data on the development of research and development (R&D), etc. are of great importance.

As already noted in the first chapter, the countries of the modern world, in accordance with their place in the world economy and the international division of labor, can be divided into 3 groups:

economically highly developed (post-industrial) countries;

economically underdeveloped countries or developing countries;

countries with centrally planned and transition economies.