How does labor market competitiveness frame the impact of greater labor productivity and lower inequality on poverty? Specifically, does greater competitiveness increase the impact of higher labor productivity and lower inequality on poverty reduction? In a simple model, we show that there is complementarity between competitiveness and productivity – the greater is one, the larger is the impact of the other. This suggests that improving labor market competitiveness is worthwhile not only for its own sake, but because it improves the transmission mechanism from productivity increases to poverty reduction. We also derive precise conditions under which there is a similar complementarity between equality and competitiveness in poverty reduction.