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The Asian Developmental State: Ideas and Debates



The rapid economic transformations of Japan and, later, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other second-tier East Asian newly industrializing countries have since the 1970s daunted observers around the world. The “developmental state” is one of the most influential ideas that have been put forth to make sense of the drama. Johnson (1982, 1995), in presenting a pioneering study of Japan, identified the developmental state as one that gives priority to economic growth, productivity, and technological competitiveness. It is led by a small, elite bureaucracy recruited from the best managerial talents, which provides leadership through the formulation of industrial policies. Furthermore, a pilot agency within the bureaucracy exists to coordinate the policy formulation and implementation. Such industrial policies do not displace the market, but gear to market rationality in the long term. Finally, it is facilitated by a political system that gives sufficient room for the bureaucracy to take initiatives (see Öniş 1991).
Pre-copyedited copy: Chapter 1 in The Asian Developmental State: reexaminations and new
departures, edited by Yin-wah Chu, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
Chapter 1
The Asian Developmental State: ideas and debates
Yin-wah Chu
The rapid economic transformations of Japan and, later, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong,
Singapore, and other second-tier East Asian newly industrializing countries have since the
1970s daunted observers around the world. The “developmental state” is one of the most
influential ideas that have been put forth to make sense of the drama. Johnson (1982, 1995),
in presenting a pioneering study of Japan, identified the development state as one that gives
priority to economic growth, productivity, and technological competitiveness. It is led by a
small, elite bureaucracy recruited from the best managerial talents, which provides leadership
through the formulation of industrial policies. Furthermore, a pilot agency within the
bureaucracy exists to coordinate the policy formulation and implementation. Such industrial
policies do not displace the market, but gear to market rationality in the long-term. Finally, it
is facilitated by a political system that gives sufficient room for the bureaucracy to take
initiatives (see Öniş 1991).
The idea has been elaborated, re-conceptualized and, not surprisingly, criticized over
the years. Even though the 1997-1998 Asian financial crises have dwelt a heavy blow to the
approach, it has reemerged after a brief interlude and continued to shed light on the
experiences of an increasing number of countries, both within the developing world and
beyond (Levi-Faur 1998; Kurtz 2001; Cummings and Nørgaard 2004; Block 2008; Evans
2010; Evans and Heller 2015). The present volume aspires to partake in this continuing
Apart from this introduction, the book contains eleven chapters divided into three
sections. The first section includes two chapters that examine the theoretical concept and the
case of the United States. Bob Jessop adopts the strategic-relational approach to provide a
robust critique and re-interpretation of the developmental state literature. He examines the
developmental state as a sub-category of the “Listian Workfare National State” (LWNS) and,
analyzing the crisis of Atlantic Fordism and other internal challenges to the LWNS,
investigates the turn to the accumulation strategies of “knowledge-based economy” and
“finance-dominated accumulation,” and explores the room for continued developmental state
intervention in each case. Adopting an “insider view,” Fred Block and Marian Negoita
elaborate on Peter Evans’ notion of embedded autonomy. They identify practices that allow
the state officials to acquire organizational” and “cognitive” autonomy, specify the reasons
why embeddedness contributes to the prevention of network failures, and so explain the state
officials’ ability to “engage effectively with technologists and firms” (p. __). The second
section contains four chapters that examine the cases of South Korea and Taiwan. Michelle F.
Hsieh re-visits the historical emergence of Taiwan’s export-led industrialization by analyzing
contributions made by para-public institutions such as the Metal Industries Research and
Development Center to the myriads of small and medium enterprises and, at the same time,
examines the contribution of this “decentralized coordination” to the technology upgrading of
the 1990s. In these ways, she provides some very instructive information on embedded
autonomy as practiced in Taiwan. In turn, Jenn-hwan Wang and Yin-wah Chu analyze
changes in the global context and domestic politics and the impacts they exert on the
metamorphosis of Taiwan’s and South Korea’s developmental state. Wang, in particular,
examines Taiwan’s biopharmaceutical industry and identifies four policy directions that the
state has pursued to fulfill its new role as a “platform builder.Professing a rather distinct
view of what constitutes a developmental state, Iain Pirie argues that because South Korea no
longer pursued economic growth at all cost, became receptive to foreign direct investments,
and lost control over credit allocation it ceased to be developmental since the mid-1990s.
Finally, the third section contains five chapters that explore the applicability of the
concept to China and India. Just as Erik Baark evaluates the relevance of the approach to
China by providing a historical overview of the country’s science and technological
development, Alvin Y. So benchmarks the country’s similarities to and differences from the
Asian developmental states. Through examining China’s effort to address the challenge of
technological upgrading, he suggests the need to re-consider the importance attributed by the
developmental state literature to a meritocratic state bureaucracy, long-term industrial
policies, and the failure of the literature to differentiate between variants of developmental
state. In turn, reviewing China’s shifting policy directions since 1978, Rebecca S. K. Li
suggests the need to consider the state’s changing degrees of developmental-ness, and
attributes the latter to the strength of the state relative to economic elite, the ability of the
political process to produce a dominant ruling coalition or faction, and the capacity of the
state administrative apparatus to work implement the development policies and work with the
economic elite.
Analyzing the case of India, Rahul Mukherji suggests the idea of embedded autonomy
or a focus on bureaucratic-technocratic rationality does not take one very far in understanding
policy change in the country. Nonetheless, the Indian state in his estimation does play a
strategic role, not only in matters of economic transformation but also welfare provision. He
proposes to examine the ideational change within the state bureaucracy and, given the
co-existence of a weak state and strong society within a democratic framework, emergence of
political support from the executive that can help to withstand resistance from the vested
interests. Finally, Anil Kumar Vaddiraju rejects the idea that the India state has been
developmental. In reviewing the widening income gap, urban-biased growth, rural poverty
and regional disparity, he contends that the Indian state has since the 1990s assumed a
neoliberal stance and contributed to hardships experienced by the lower social strata.
To chart the contribution of these chapters, the following will review the main ideas
and debates that emerge from the developmental state literature, with the positions and
contributions of the present volume inserted where appropriate.
The Developmental State: Odyssey of a Concept1
For many students of Asian development, Johnson’s (1982) research on Japan is a pioneering
work that has laid the foundation for the analysis of the developmental state. At the same time,
the state-centered approach, which gains ascendance in the study of social revolutions and
welfare states, has also provided theoretical inspirations (Skocpol 1979; Quadagno 1987; Lim
1985; Gold 1986; Chu 1989; Evans 1995). Just as political economists and policy analysts
have explored the issue from their disciplinary angles (Amsden 1989; Wade 1990), the
discussion has also been enriched by attempts to apply the concept beyond Northeast Asia (Oi
1995; Chibber 2003; Cummings and Nørgaard 2004; Kohli 2004; Ó Riain 2004; Howell
2005). Despite their divergent theorization, the debates center on the defining characteristics
of the developmental state, which include the dimensions of policies pursued, relevance of
ideational foundation, the institutions of a rational bureaucracy and a pilot agency, and the
domestic and international social-political contexts. Related to these are debates on whether
the developmental state is compatible with democracy, its continuing relevance as the
national economy matures, or even the onset of globalization.
Authors have in part identified the developmental state with the policies it pursued. The
strategic use of fiscal incentives and trade policies to help create modern industries and
upgrade the industrial mix (Johnson 1982; Wade 1990; Low 2001), manipulation of the price
system to enhance competitiveness (Amsden 1989), suppression of labor and the civil society
(Deyo 1987), provision of collective consumption as a means to reduce labor cost and
enhance productivity (Castells 1992), and the sponsorship of research and development
(R&D) (Evans 1995; Amsden and Chu 2003) have all been examined. Although special
attention has been given to the control of investment finance and the latter’s importance as
leverage for the developmental state to realize its goals, most scholars have recognized the
divergent and changing policy mixes adopted by different countries at different times
depending on their specific political-economic constellations (Johnson 1987; Woo 1991; E.
Kim 1997; Woo-Cumings 1999).
Regardless of the specific policies and the ministries steering them, scholars view
these interventions national-level strategies. They also find among the policies a tendency to
promote the private sector rather than the public one.2 Referring to the case of Japan,
Johnson (1995, 46-48, 67) characterizes it as a “catalytic state” that alters incentives, reduces
risk, offers entrepreneurial visions, and manages conflicts, all with a view to working with
the zaibatsu and workers, and helping them to capture larger market share, ever higher value
added products, rather than short-term profitability. The policies that facilitate public-private
coordination, moreover, are devised in ways that do not displace market forces. In other
words, just as support was given to strategic sectors so as to encourage their long-term
growth, the businesses were exposed to intensive (international) competition and subjected to
stringent market discipline. This forward-looking yet ultimately market-rational quality of the
policies has been characterized variously as “market conforming” (Johnson 1999, 38-9),
“market-leading” (Wade 1990), or “getting the price wrong” (Amsden 1989).
Contributing authors to this volume have in general recognized the multiplicity of
economic policies pursued and their changes over time. Hence, while Hsieh’s study of the
1970s Taiwan has examined the introduction of industrial standards and export inspection
schemes, Block and Negoita, Wang, and Baark have all analyzed the support to science and
technology research in their respective cases. Above all, Jessop suggests that the “successive
latecomers had to find their own path to development” and that catch-up competitiveness
strategies may vary “taking account of stages in the development of the world market,
different state capacities, and different leading edge technologies and accumulation regimes
(p.__). Furthermore, instead of focusing on industrial policies as most developmental state
theorists have done, he extends our horizon to examine the room for continued state
intervention in the strategies of knowledge-based economy and financialization.
Having said so, it is notable that Pirie in this volume has used rather restrictive types
of economic policies to define a developmental state. He highlights, in particular, a
production-oriented economic system, caution against foreign direct investment, and state
control of credit allocation as the determinants. By applying these three criteria, he contends
that the present day South Korea is no longer a developmental state. In a similar way, Baark
suggests that China has increasingly turned to some international organizations’ (e.g. OECD)
market-oriented approach for policy inspiration and thus cautioned the applicability of the
developmental state to China.
Ideational Foundation?
Apart from industrial policies, students of the developmental state also examine the
institutional structure, social-political constellations and, in some cases, the ideational
foundation. Johnson (1995, 67), for instance, quotes with approval Manuel Castells’
definition that: “A state is developmental when it establishes as its principle of legitimacy its
ability to promote and sustain development, understanding by development the combination
of steady high rates of economic growth and structural change in the production system, both
domestically and in its relationship to the international economy” (Castells 1992, 56).
Accounting for Japan’s (and South Korea’s) “priority,” Woo-Cumings (1999, 6-9) suggests
that economic development was chosen as a means to combat the acute (and genuine) threats
posed by Western imperialism on the countries’ national survival. Hence, instead of seeking
to “achieve consumer utility, private wealth, mutually beneficial exchange or any other
objective posited by economic determinists,” the Japanese “pursue economic activities
primarily in order to achieve independence from and leverage over potential adversaries”
(Johnson 1995, 105-106). Of course, the social background of the ruling elite also contributes
to the definition of the threats to national survival (Gold 1986; Cheng 1990; Castells 1992).
Johnson, for instance, refers to the priority as “economic nationalism” and considers it to
originate “as a reaction … to the structural contradictions of the society of orders. In
particular, it was a response of individuals in elite sectors of society, who were personally
affected by these contradictions and were placed by them in a state of status inconsistency”
(Liah Greenfeld, cited in Johnson 1995, 104). The inability of the lower-ranking members of
the ruling samurai class in Meiji Japan to meet their debts was cited as a case in point.
The commitment to develop is considered to work in two ways. First, Johnson (1995)
suggests that, together with wartime social mobilization, economic nationalism underlay the
goal culture of Japan and defined the worldview of policy-makers at the Ministry of
International Trade and Industry (MITI). The same could be said of the planners working in
South Korea’s Economic Planning Board (Woo 1991). Second, economic nationalism also
served to incite and mobilize the general public with “developmental determination.” In
Woo-Cumings’ view, this is the “binding agent” or “will to develop” as articulated by Albert
O. Hirschman (1958, 8). The reliance on economic nationalism to mobilize the workers has
also been documented (S. Kim 1997). It provides the source of legitimacy for these elite and
renders superfluous (at least for a time) the concern with whether a developmental state is
democratic or otherwise, a point that will be examined further later on.
Observers of some advanced economies have concurred with this emphasis on the
ideational foundation. Writing on France, Loriaux (1999) contends that, even though the
bureaucratic structure of the French state and the ways it mobilized bank credits to shape
economic decisions were remarkably similar to the cases of Japan and South Korea, the
French state was not “developmental.Not only had the country developed before such
strategic intervention was undertaken, the country lacked the “solidaristic vision” and the
“moral ambition” that were central to a developmental state.
Having said so, it remains to be emphasized that not all students of the developmental
state consider political commitment or the will to develop to be of definitive significance.
Most prominently, Evans (1995) argues that fostering economic transformation and
guaranteeing minimal levels of welfare have become nearly as important to the modern state
as making wars and preserving internal order. This is because political survival and internal
peace depends increasingly on economic resources and, at the same time, economic success
becomes a source of legitimacy. In his view, all modern states intervene into the economy in
one way or another. To Evans, then, the fact that most developing countries encounter
massive difficulties in amassing capital, mastering production technology, and generating
entrepreneurship does not make the task of economic development more pressing for these
countries. As well, the fact that many late, late developers are dominated by the developed
countries, multinational corporations, and their local accomplices has not made the
emergence of such a commitment to foster economic transformation problematic (cf. Cardoso
and Faletto 1979). These being the case, the emergence of such a political commitment to
develop among the late, late developers do not warrant particular theoretical consideration.
Evans thus refuses to define a developmental state by its commitment to foster development.
Evans’ viewpoint is shared by Chibber (2003), who claims in his comparison of India and
South Korea that, immediately after the Second World War, state elites in both countries were
no different in their levels of developmental commitment.
Few of the contributing authors to this edited volume have explored in-depth the
significance of the ideational foundation. Chu’s study of Taiwan and especially South Korea
suggests that “economic nationalism,” which historically provided the normative foundation
for state-business coordination in these two societies, has continued to give meanings to and
help sustain such coordination despite massive reduction in the levels of subsidy or other
leverages commanded by the state vis-à-vis the business elite. More significant is the work of
Linda Weiss, who took part in this book’s preparatory workshop, but chose eventually not to
contribute a chapter. She has emphasized the ideational dimension in her study of both the
developing and developed countries, yet gives very little currency to its significance as a
source of incitement (binding agent) for the business leaders and the general public or as a
basis of legitimacy for the state elite. Speaking about the Northeast Asian developing
countries, she suggests that a country’s history of international vulnerability determines the
policies pursued as well as the organizational arrangements and normative orientations of the
domestic institutions (Weiss and Hobson 1995). Applying the framework to the case of the
United States, she suggests that the latter should be considered a national security state (NSS)
rather than a developmental state even though the US government works closely with the
private sector to generate many cutting-edge technologies. Among other things, the driving
force behind the US “national security state” is military-political primacy rather than
economic growth or national autonomy as such, and this hegemonic concern has interacted
with the country’s political norm of “antistatism” to shift public-private coordination away
from the “military-industrial complex” to the multitude of high-tech firms that work with
state actors in “hybrid organizational forms” to facilitate USs present day technological
leadership (Weiss 2014). In other words, ideas emanating from international relations shape
the orientation of the state elite and “delimit” the range of possible institutional arrangements.
Block and Negoita in this volume differ markedly from Weiss’ position even though
they examine broadly the same phenomena. While not giving much weight to the ideational
foundation, they make reference to the stifling ideology of economic liberalism, point to
circumstantial factors that allow state actors housed in marginal government offices to attain
“organizational autonomy,” and so account for their ability to engage in developmental
Finally, coming from a distinct theoretical tradition, Jessop suggests that the
commitment to promote “catch-up competitiveness” in a capitalist world economy could be
traced as far back as the commercial city republics of the Italian Renaissance and the Tudor
Plan in England. While conceding with Johnson and Woo-Cumings that imperialist
domination and military defeat could generate “economic nationalism,” he contends that
other external and internal threats could also trigger economic and political logic of “national
security” that constitutes an important basis of the developmental state’s transformative
capacities. Above all, in considering the state as a constellation of relationships, he sees the
emergence of the “will to develop” tantamount to the construction of “comprehensive
concepts of control” that successfully “unify the ruling class and attract mass support by
combining mutually compatible blueprints for balancing the rival interests of different capital
fractions and for managing capital-labor relations” (p. __). Weiss’ notion of a “national
security state” should be understood likewise.
State Institutions and Social-political Constellations
Regardless of the importance attached to the ideational foundation, researchers have all
considered it imperative to analyze the dimension of state capacity. As Castells suggests
(1992, 64), “the fundamental element in the ability of developmental states to fulfill their
project was their political capacity to impose and internalize their logic on the civil societies
(my emphasis). In addressing this issue, most scholars have examined the state bureaucracy,
on one hand, and the latter’s “linkages to the society,” on the other hand.
Rational Bureaucracy and Pilot Agency
Among the four essential features identified by Johnson (1982, 314-20) for a developmental
state, two pertain to the state bureaucracy. The first concerns the “existence of a small,
inexpensive, but elite state bureaucracy staffed by the best managerial talent available in the
system … the duty of [which] is to identify and choose the industries to be developed.”
Writing in another context, he notes that the elite bureaucrats were recruited from the top
ranks of the best law schools in Japan and appointment was made on the basis of national
examinations. They possessed among other things the credential to make the necessary
policies and lead the private sector (Woo-Cumings 1999, 14). Employing Weber’s theory,
Evans (1995) made a more general argument concerning the importance of a rational
bureaucracy. A genuine bureaucracy, which organizes on the principle of rational-legal
authority, relies on formal rules to guide the practices of its functionaries, emphasizes merit in
recruitment and promotion, and nurtures a sense of esprit de corps. The bureaucracy’s being a
corporately coherent entity presents a situation “in which individuals see pursuing corporate
goals as the best way to maximize their individual self-interests” and is therefore in a position
to “support markets and capitalist accumulation” (Evans 1995, 30). This contrasts with a
predatory state, which relies on personal ties as the only source of cohesion, and uses the state
machinery to extract at the expense of the society. In other words, a rational bureaucracy is
not only capable of, but is also inclined to, facilitate economic development.
On top of the civil service, Johnson highlights the presence of a pilot organization like
the MITI as another feature of the developmental state. MITI combines “at least planning,
energy, domestic production, international trade, and a share of finance (particularly capital
supply and tax policy)” (Johnson 1982, 314-20, cited in Johnson 1999, 38-9). The
concentration of various government functions enhances coordination and renders it possible
for state actors to make and implement plans effectively. Criticizing Evans’ preoccupation
with formal bureaucratic rationality, Chibber (2003, 20) suggests that “economic agencies
within the state … can often be saddled with responsibilities that are in conflict with one
another.” They will necessarily come into conflict by merely adhering to the rules.
Inter-agency competition for resources has only made things worse. To attain what he calls
“strategic rationality,” inter-agency coordination attained through the creation of what he
calls “nodal agencies” is imperative. Indeed, since the work of Johnson, scholars of Asian
development have analyzed pilot agencies comparable to Japan’s MITI. They include South
Korea’s Economic Planning Board, Taiwan’s Council for Economic Planning and
Development, and Singapore’s Economic Development Board (Gold 1986; Amsden 1989;
Haggard 1990; Wade 1990; Castells 1992; Low 2001).
Bureaucratic Capacity, Social-political Constellation, and Embedded Autonomy
Scholars have put forth two major arguments to explain how the fore-mentioned state
institutions actually exert their impacts on the society. The first centers on the social-political
constellation that makes possible the elevation of the economic bureaucracy’s position,
whereas the second examines the formal and informal ties that facilitate state-business
Elaborating on the case of Japan, Johnson (1995, 132-3) explains how circumstantial
factors had facilitated the emergence of a “political system in which the bureaucracy was
given sufficient scope to take initiative and operate effectively.” The occupation reformers,
especially the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), destroyed rivals of the
economic bureaucracy and thus strengthened Japan’s “plan rationality,” rationalized the
zaibatsu and thus created a hospitable political environment for the bureaucracy’s activities,
and made economic recovery rather than democratization the main goal. Furthermore,
corruption that plagued strong-state systems was confined in the case of Japan to the ruling
party, which in Johnson’s (1995, 68) words, reigned rather than ruled (see also Katzenstein
The hint of class politics in Johnson’s study of Japan was made explicit in Amsden’s
(1985), Gold’s (1986), and Cheng’s (1990) analyses of Taiwan. Land reform, which signals
the first effort of developmental state intervention on Taiwan, was attributed to the absence of
social ties between the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the landed elite on the island-republic.
Only then could the KMT appropriate and redistribute land in ways it failed to achieve on the
mainland. Comparable arguments have been proposed for South Korea (Lim 1985; Cumings
1987). Making a more general argument on the political capacity to impose the state’s logic
on the civil society, Castells (1992, 65) suggests that it entails, on the side of the dominant
classes, efforts to destroy, disorganize, or make totally subordinate to the state and, on the
side of the working and other subordinate classes, measures to prevent mass movement
formation, repression, or in the long run, integration.3 The argument thus suggests a certain
affinity between the developmental state and authoritarian domination.4 Indeed, other
observers contend in addition that the struggles for national independence paved the way for
the emergence of authoritarian regimes that, in turn, put into place constitutional
arrangements that privileged the executive branch at the expense of the legislature (Gold
1986; Wade 1990). Some goes so far to argue that each policy transition was accompanied by
a reconsolidation of authoritarian domination in all the East Asian cases (Haggard 1990).
The above processes, namely, the elevation of the economic bureaucracy to a superior
position and the exercise of what might be called “despotic power,” have been given rather
different evaluations. For Johnson, they were essential processes, though it was also
important to engender a close working relationship through the alteration of incentives and
reduction of risks (Johnson 1995, 46). Similarly, Weiss and Hobson (1995, 164) suggest that
the ability to exercise despotic power was important only at the early stage and in granting
some kind of autonomy to the economic bureaucracy. However, this bureaucratic autonomy
or insulation has to be combined with embeddedness to generate “institutional capacity” or
the capacity to exercise “infrastructural power.In their words, infrastructural power is the
“state’s capacity to mobilize elite collaboration in pursuit of developmental goals” (Weiss and
Hobson 1995, 162). Collaboration may be achieved through various state-industry linkages,
such as state-sponsored industrial associations, export cartels, and policy consultation bodies.
However, insofar that elite collaboration does not entail an equal partnership but domination
or at least “leadership” on the part of the state, those state-industry linkages are also expected
toenable relevant state elites to engineer compliance of key business groups with larger
non-negotiable goals of the state” (Weiss and Hobson 1995, 170-178). This is what they call
However, Evans (1995) is the scholar who brings the idea of “embedded autonomy”
to prominence. In part relying on a reinterpretation of Johnson’s work, Evans (1995, 5)
argues robustly for the strategic importance of linkages between the bureaucratic elite and the
business sector. He coins the term “embedded autonomy” to characterize the state-society
relationship that allows the bureaucrats to intervene or selectively stimulate, complement and
reinforce entrepreneurship. Just as esprit de corps facilitates bureaucratic autonomy,
embeddedness in the form of the bureaucrats’ ties to societal actors and intimate connections
provide “institutionalized channels for the input of intelligence and continual negotiations of
goals and policies” (Evans 1995, 12). In Japan and South Korea, state actors worked closely
with the business enterprises, bureaucrats and managers of major private corporations
graduated from the same elite universities, and it was also commonplace for retired
bureaucrats to work for such corporations.
A few of the contributing authors have applied or explored the idea of embedded
autonomy. Wang, for instance, highlights how the Taiwan state has finally re-assembled the
various state agencies for promoting the biopharmaceutical industry, succeeded in connecting
some local firms to international ones, and so facilitated the formation of “multiplex
networks.” More pertinently, Hsieh generates important information on the ways
public-private coordination on matters of standard-setting has helped to build Taiwan’s
bicycle parts and machine tool industries and, furthermore, helped them to meet continuing
challenges of quality assurance and technology breakthroughs. In so doing, she goes beyond
most studies of Taiwan’s export-led industrialization, which focus either on the state and its
policy networks or private initiatives among the SMEs (Gold 1986; Wade 1990; Feenstra and
Hamilton 2006).
However, it was Block and Negoita who have given greater specificity and thus
deepen the discussion of Evan’s notion of embedded autonomy. Drawing upon the cases of
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Bureau of
Standards (NBS), they introduce the notions of “organizational autonomy” and “cognitive
autonomy” to explain, on one hand, how marginal government offices could operate under
the radar to launch development policies and, on the other hand, how specialty knowledge
would allow the officials to discipline the business enterprises they support. Furthermore,
they also explain why the embeddedness of state officials within such networks will bring
additional funds, technological expertise, market and network information, as well as policing
work that will help to prevent “network failures”.
Other contributing authors have shown a greater concern with the social-political
constellation. Focusing on the case of China, Li claims that the changing degrees of the
Chinese state’s developmental-ness depends, among other things, on the relative strength of
the state vis-à-vis the economic elite as well as the presence of a dominant ruling coalition or
faction. Similarly, Mukherji contends that policy change in India has been aided by what he
calls a bureaucratic-technocratic cum political synergy.” Above all, Jessop provides a most
robust challenge to the exclusive concern with state institutions, and helped to re-focus on the
broad historical processes and social-political relations that both constraint and facilitate state
developmental intervention. Adopting the strategic-relational approach, Jessop contends that
the state should not be examined from the vantage point of the state managers alone, but “the
broader coalition of forces, within and beyond the state (and its borders), that steer
development strategies and enable the state to project its power through these alliances” (p.
__). Instead of the state institutions, he analyzes four aspects of state involvement in securing
capitalist economic growth. In the case of the Listian Workfare National State, they include
the efforts to secure economic growth with export-led industrialization combining catch-up
supply-side interventions and neo-mercantilist demand management; deploy social policies
with distinct workfare characteristics; operate within the historically specific matrix of a
national economy, national state, and an imagined national community; and rely on a strong
national security state with its institutions as the chief means to guide and supplement market
forces in securing the conditions for economic growth and social cohesion.
China and India: fragmented state bureaucracy?
Over the years, the idea of the developmental state has been applied to many cases in Latin
America, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa, and indeed China and India, two countries
examined in the present volume (O’Donnell 1988; Gereffi 1989; Schneider 1999). Research
into these countries has often involved direct or indirect comparison with the Northeast Asian
cases, thus contributing to the critique or re-theorization of the concept. Studies of China and
India have generated many important insights, yet the following will concern with the issue
of what might be called a “fragmented” state bureaucracy.
Chibber’s (2003) comparison of India and South Korea, for instance, contributes to a
refinement of our understanding of bureaucratic capacity. Unlike Schneider (1999) who
argues that Brazil was plagued by an “appointive bureaucracy” inclined to make deals and
peddle ideas rather than promote coherent interest, Chibber (2003) finds within India a robust
bureaucratic tradition. Not only has the Indian state adhered stringently to formal rationality
and rule-following, the latter had often been used to facilitate inter-ministry competition for
power and resources. The absence of what he called a “nodal agency” made it impossible to
attain the strategic rationality that characterized South Korea and other Northeast Asian cases.
Together with the feature of public-private linkages in the country, India was plagued by
paralysis and lack of direction.5
If Chibber (2003) has highlighted the threat of inter-ministry competition, Sinha
(2003) draws our attention to regional differences in India’s economic performance,
investment flows, public-private mix of investments, and thus another potential source of
“fragmentation” of the Indian state. Instead of condemning the “wooden bureaucracy” of the
central state for India’s development failures, she suggests that given India’s continental scale,
it is necessary to disaggregate the concept of the “state,” adopt a “multilevel, interactive
model,” and take development outcome as the product of “central rules, provincial strategic
choices, and subnational institutional variation” (Sinha 2003, 460-1). More substantively, she
suggests that the willingness of the provincial state to negotiate with the central state for
investment funds and the availability at the regional level of institutions that facilitate
private-public interactions are the two determinants of industrial growth.
Studies of post-reform China have sometimes found the idea of developmental state
inspiring, though others have been more critical. Remarking on the fabulous success of China,
Lin (2007) contends that, on one hand, the Chinese state has triggered the emergence of the
market mechanism, implemented economic rules and regulations consistent with international
standards and, on the other hand, showcased Evan’s notion of embedded autonomy by
working with both labor and business to make sure that economic development would
proceed at a pace that maintains social and economic stability and justice. Just as important, a
fury of studies has examined China’s local states and coined such terms as “entrepreneurial
state,” “decentralized developmental state,” and “local corporatist state” to characterize them6
(Blecher 1991; Whiting 2001; Duckett 2006; Ong 2012). Oi (1995), for instance, contends
that the Maoist bureaucracy, which was extended to all levels of society, well-disciplined, yet
infected by what she calls “plan ideological,” had been encouraged by changing incentives
and transformed into “local corporatist states.” Local officials worked closely with the
township and village enterprises, facilitating the enterprises’ access to inputs and services,
relying on a corporatist strategy to pool resources and debts, using preferential allocation to
channel resources (e.g. fuel, raw materials, credit) into the most promising areas, and
manipulating regulations to secure the biggest advantage to the local firms.
However, alongside these studies are those that profess a more critical view on
China’s style of developmental state. Oi (1995, 1149), for one, has cautioned that, owing to a
lack of coordination among the localities, the proliferation of the local corporatist states
might in the long term challenge the central one. Elaborating on this theme, Howell (2005)
highlights not only the vast regional variations, but also the decline in the party-state’s
revolutionary legitimacy and its authority to lead workers and businessmen alike, tendency
among the officials to displace collective goals with personal/local interests, and the threat of
state-business linkages to degenerate into forms of clientelism.
Above all, drawing upon studies of Chinese political institutions and the idea of
“tiao-kuai”, Breznitz and Murphree (2011) point out that the Chinese bureaucracy is vast,
complex, and permeated by competing lines of authority that crosscut domains as well as
national, regional and local layers of the state bureaucracy. The same policy area, whether
environmental protection or technological development, could fall under the jurisdiction of
several ministries and tackled by governments at different levels without a clear line of
reportage. Although the competing lines of authority are supposed to be unified under the
leadership of the Communist Party, Breznitz and Murphree (2011) contend that that latter
only adds to the confusion and conflict. Instead of providing unified leadership capable of
crafting far-sighted industrial policy, the country’s development policies are said to be
characterized by structural uncertainty that allows for multiple interpretation (see also Breslin
1996). Together with fiscal decentralization and the importance of economic performance in
the evaluation of local officials, it generates intensive inter-local competition and, insofar as
technology development is concerned, encourages investments into research that promises
short-term gains. The aggregate outcome is that, although China thrives at second-generation
innovation and moves progressively up the value chain, it fails to develop the capacity for
novel product innovation and compete at the frontier of scientific research.
Contributing authors to this volume have striven to apply the idea of developmental
state to China and India, though they also deepen our understanding of the nature of state
fragmentation just examined. Importantly, So’s study of China has drawn upon Breznitz and
Murphree’s (2011) argument to show how the interests and concerns of the local governments
have deflected the objectives of the central state, so that even though some economic
transformations have been attained, the goal of attaining technological leadership has been
overshadowed. Though stop short of a theoretical explanation, Vaddiraju has shown for India
the existence of tremendous regional and inter-state variations in economic performance,
which not only deepened social conflicts but also generated quests for political fragmentation.
Finally, Lis study of China draws our attention not so much to spatial but longitudinal
fragmentation. As mentioned above, the Chinese state has over time varied in
developmental-ness depending on the success of the Communist Party in forging a ruling
coalition capable dominating over the business elite.
In addition, contributing authors to this volume also draw our attention to the socialist
legacy of China and, to some extent, India. Baark, for instance, suggests that a large part of
China’s technology development policy involves an effort to “dismantle the stifling influence
of the state in the detailed, day-to-day activities of research and development, and instead to
increase the role of markets and engage various actors in strategic initiatives through more
subtle policy instruments” (p. __).To the extent that this involves some kind of continued
public-private coordination at the same time that hitherto protected workers/enterprises are
exposed to harsh market discipline, it might entail complex coordinating and learning
processes that differ from the East Asian cases. In their divergent ways, then, scholars writing
on China and India within this volume have cautioned against an undiscriminating
application of the term developmental state to their cases.
Developmental State and Democratization
An earlier sub-section has examined the forces that have elevated the economic bureaucracy
to a superior position, thus allowing them to gain the autonomy to make and implement
industrial policies. In the process, we have touched upon the issue of whether authoritarian
rule is necessary for the national project and whether developmental intervention can be
compatible with a democratic government. This section will reexamine the issue in greater
For some observers, the authoritarian origin of the Northeast Asian developmental
state was only incidental and, therefore, of historical interest at most. Weiss and Hobson
(1995), for instance, consider the ability to exercise despotic power to be important only in
generating autonomy for the economic bureaucracy. Institutions that facilitate state-business
consultation and negotiation, such as business associations and trade cartels, are more
compatible with democratic than authoritarian regimes. Evans (1995) shares this viewpoint
and suggests in his recent studies that a democratic government can make transparent the
process of policy consultation and negotiation, thus enhancing the chance of an open, fair,
and effective allocation of public resources (Evans 2010; Evans and Heller 2015).
Apart from the earlier studies that assert a certain affinity between authoritarian rule
and developmental intervention (Katzenstein 1985; Gold 1986; Castells 1992), a few recent
analyses also contend for the threats posed by democracy to policy fragmentation (Herring
1999; Kohli 2004; Wong 2004). In addressing the broader issue of state-market relationship,
Kohli (2004) identifies three ideal types, namely, neopatrimonial state, cohesive capitalist
state, and fragmented-multiclass state. In his view, even if the so-called neopatrimonial state
might assume the façade of democracy, it is characterized by officeholders more inclined to
using public resources to enrich themselves and their aides than pursue national development
as such. In turn, a “cohesive capitalist state” is akin to the developmental state, which focuses
single-mindedly on the goal of industrial development and, given its centralized control of
state power, can work with the capitalists without paying heed to other interests and concerns.
Finally, a “fragmented-multiclass state” wields public authority that rests on a broad class
alliance, has to pursue policies with a view to gaining popular support, and therefore cannot
focus exclusively on economic development. Hence, in his view, there is indeed an elective
affinity between authoritarianism and a developmental state. India, in his view, is an
archetype of the “fragmented-multiclass state.”
Examining the cases of South Korea and Taiwan in the aftermath of their mid-1980s
democratic transition, Wong (2004) has proposed a comparable observation. In his view,
development projects are high-risk and, even if successful, take a long time to materialize. It
requires a stable policy environment to provide continuity to the projects and allow sustained
efforts to continue even in the face of adversity and failures in the short term. Democratic
government, with its regular change of regime, has difficulties generating this kind of policy
continuity and may lead to setbacks in developmental support.
Not many contributing authors to this volume have made explicit their positions on
this issue, though the chapters by Wang and Chu do provide some indications. In the first
place, they support the application of a dynamic perspective. Hence, if the threat to national
survival had been used initially to secure support to projects of national development, more
complex forms of public-private coordination emerged in both Taiwan and South Korea at a
later stage. In the second place, they both find, albeit in different ways, democratic transition
to change the state-business relationships. For Wang, democratization led to the devolution of
many state functions, resulting in the lost on the part of the Taiwan state of its “centralized
coordination capability in decision making” (p. __). It took fifteen years for the Taiwan
government to “re-assemble” various state agencies so as to promote the biotechnology sector.
As for Chu, she finds that, despite the democratic transition, much of the routine
public-private coordination has continued to be practiced by the economic bureaucracies and
research institutes. However, owing to the heightened concern with equality and transparency,
and importance of economic growth as a source of legitimacy, there emerges not only a
competitive pressure for the incoming regimes to propose new plans, which creates a massive
challenge to policy continuity, but also considerable obstacles to mobilize adequate resources
for each project. In turn, the severity of the fore-mentioned challenges depends on the ability
of the post-transition state to build consensus and the pre-existing industrial structure of each
society. Within Taiwan, the difficulties of building consensus and prevalence of
small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) have made it particularly hard to initiate projects
generative of “multidimensional conspiracy” (Hirschman 1977).
Block and Negoita have unwittingly made a comparable observation when they say
that, “Even after more than a half century of experience with these kinds of developmental
state initiatives … they are still so little known and so against the grain of prevailing
ideologies that even successful programs are vulnerable …” (p. __). This is similar to
Mukherji’s argument on India’s engagement with globalization and deregulation. In his view,
ideas against import-substitution have been consolidated among the bureaucratic elites in as
early as 1975; yet they had to await the balance of payment crisis in 1991, which hit the
capitalists badly, to initiate the policy reform.
In short, owing to the need for the ruling elites in democratic government to gain
popular support, policy-making and implementation have to address divergent concerns and
tend to be more politicized. Groups and individuals may also capture state resources to
advance short-term consumption-oriented benefits or other sectarian interests. Of course,
democracies differ in the extent to which economic institutions and initiatives are shielded
from political contention. However, if “organizational autonomy,” critical for the initiation of
developmental support, is hard to come by even in the mature democracy of the United States
where conflict resolution and consensus building are routine, it would perhaps be even more
challenging (and time-consuming) for the new democracies and their institutions of
developmental support to adapt to each other. As such, there seems to be reasons for caution
when asserting the compatibility between democratic government and developmental
Whither the Developmental State?
Early contributors to the literature have made passing comments on the future of the
developmental state. For Johnson (1999, 60), the challenge for rapid growth would become
much more complex in the climate of economic globalization and as the economy moves
beyond the stage of catching up. Nonetheless, he thinks there is room for continued
developmental intervention and that he has no doubt the developmental state would fare
better than the regulatory state in this context. Similarly, Weiss and Hobson (1995, 193-7) are
skeptical of the view that developmental states would decline with industrial maturity.
Referring to the Northeast Asian cases, they suggest that, even though there appeared to be
massive policy changes and weakening of particular policy tools, they were more apparent
than real. At most, these developmental states were only shifting their roles from
commanders-in-chief to that of senior partners. Furthermore, because the collaboration
between state and economic elites is constitutive of state power, the changing pattern
contributes to an enhancement of state power rather than its reduction.
Writing in the aftermath of the 1997 financial crisis and setback in the East Asian
economies, Ó Riain (2000, 2004) suggests the onset of a global knowledge economy, which
challenges the “bureaucratic developmental state,” yet is compatible with what he calls a
“developmental network state.According to him, the bureaucratic developmental state is
typified by South Korea. It chooses national champions, provides financial resources,
excludes foreign corporations, and helps build vertically integrated corporations. With the
emergence of the global knowledge economy, finance alone is inadequate for the generation
of knowledge and commensurate services. The bureaucratic state and vertically integrated
corporations tend to be rigid and cannot adapt rapidly. Given opportunities provided by the
global economy, the large corporations have fewer reasons to comply with state imperatives.
The developmental network state, by contrast, helps to develop skill and research competence
and facilitates networking among the corporations and research institutes, be they public or
private, located at the national or transnational levels. All these help the national economy
and its corporations to compete successfully in the new era.
Wong (2011) takes the argument a step further. He suggests that most studies of the
developmental state concentrate on the phase of technological catch up. Once the catch up
phase is over, the institution and political economy of developmental intervention run into
grave difficulties. He draws a distinction between risk and uncertainty, and contends that if
the catch up phase was characterized by risk, where decision-makers could use “known
existing information to estimate the likelihood of certain outcomes” and use state resources to
mitigate the risks, the state confronts pervasive technological, commercial, and temporal
uncertainties when promoting biotechnology and other cutting-edge frontiers of the
knowledge economy. Hence, despite having expended extraordinary amounts of energy and
money, the governments of South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore have little to show for their
efforts and enthusiasm in the biotech sector.
Among the contributing authors, Pirie has been most explicit in suggesting that
globalization and a country’s graduation from its catch up status will tremendously
circumscribe the viability of the developmental state. Examining the case of South Korea, he
suggests that the fore-mentioned processes have accounted for the decline in profit rate since
the mid-1980s when “profitable investment opportunities necessary to support an
investment-led growth regime” have been exhausted (p. __). In addition, major financial
institutions have become foreign-owned and the state loses its ability to allocate credit or
even make effective economic plans. As such, he considers it misleading to continue to
examine South Korea’s experience with the idea of developmental state.
Pirie, however, is rather unique among the contributing authors. Contending that the
distinction between seeking to “catch up” and competing at the “technological frontier”
collapses in an era of global competition, Block and Negoita suggest that a “developmental
network state” as examined by Ó Riain (2004) can still confer great support. Examining the
case of Taiwan, Wang also suggests that the national state can continue to play a crucial role
in a global knowledge economy, though it has to transform itself from a domineering leader
into a platform builder. The latter has four institutional characteristics, which include the
learning of the best practices from abroad, injection of massive resources, formation of
multiplex networks, and creation of commercial opportunities.
Finally, Jessop contends that the knowledge-based economy and finance-dominated
accumulation, which emerge in the aftermath of the crisis of Atlantic Fordism, are no less
susceptible to state intervention. Nonetheless, crisis tends to disrupt the so-called
complementary institutional hierarchies,” leading to “essentially political struggles to roll
back past compromises and establish new ones” (p. __). Referring to the empirical cases of
South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, he suggests that they emerged from the Asian financial
crisis, more or less succeeded in reestablishing “new compromises,” and continued to
promote catch-up development. In the case of the knowledge-based economy, catch-up
strategies entail arrangements to promote public-private collaboration in R&D in ways not
too different from those expounded by Block and Negoita, and Wang in this volume. As for
finance-dominated accumulation, catch-up strategies have involved “promoting the interests
of national or regional financial institutions and organizations, competing for regional financial
hub status, and seeking to offer the best regulatory frameworks for financial institutions and
services” (p. __).
Concluding Remarks
The above overview has hardly done justice to the vast and wide-ranging debates on the
developmental state, an idea that has continued to capture attention from and provide
inspirations for scholars around the world. It would also be audacious to draw definitive
conclusions on the prevalent scholarship or contributions made within this volume.
Nonetheless, a few tentative remarks will be attempted.
First, as Block and Negoita suggest in this volume, Evans (1995) idea of “embedded
autonomy” is perhaps the most important breakthrough in the developmental state research.
His idea has inspired many researchers and helps to shed light even on old cases such as
Taiwan’s export-led industrialization (see Hsieh in this volume). Furthermore, bureaucratic
rationality and public-private coordination are indeed very important or, as Öniş (1991)
suggests, the most transferrable findings. Not surprisingly, many scholars have recommended
the strengthening of public-private linkages to the developing countries (Evans 2010; Wade
2010). The mechanism will no doubt improve the skill and technological levels of the
workers and enterprises alike.
Second, while not disputing with the importance of fostering public-private linkages,
the above review also suggests the need to pay attention to the political-structural contexts.
For one, the first wave of researchers has demonstrated powerfully the significance of
imperial domination, economic dependence, and the search for national pride in the initial
effort to build the developmental state. For another, it would also be fair to suggest that these
structural forces continue to shape the policy options and decision-making processes of each
case via the political institutions that have been put into place. Hence, even though
democratic politics and developmental intervention are not incompatible, it takes time, to say
the least, for the new democracies to re-align their political institutions in ways that would
facilitate the launch of development support programs with transformative potentials (see
Wang and Chu). Furthermore, for societies where developmental support is at odds with the
prevailing political norms, be it “free market competition” in an established democracy
(Block and Negoita) or the obliteration of public and private as in a neopatrimonial state, it
will be challenging to generate the “organizational autonomy” and “bureaucratic integrity” to
initiate the support programs. Finally, Jessop’s magnificent “outsider view” has drawn our
attention to the capitalist world economic context and how its dynamics have transformed the
accumulation strategies and thus the challenges for late developers to catch up. His
strategic-relationship approach and effort to analyze the Asian developmental state alongside
other Listian Workfare National States also bring us outside the narrow focus on the state
managers and, furthermore, open up potentials for in-depth comparative analysis.
Third, the above also suggests that it might be helpful to be more discriminative in the
study of the “developmental states.” One does not need to agree with Pirie’s substantive
analysis to concur that there will be a point when it ceases to be meaningful to attach the label
“developmental state” to any political entity that has provided forms of business support.
Furthermore, China’s socialist legacy, its particular state/party organizational set-up, and the
central-local dynamics have interacted in way that cannot be straightforwardly captured by
ideas like structural autonomy, bureaucratic- or strategic-rationality, and public-private
linkages. The same can be said for the case of India. More generally, paying attention to the
specific structural-political context, the precise organizational setup of the state bureaucracy,
norms that inform the interactions between state and social actors will, if anything, add
nuance and depth to the analysis of the developmental state.
1 The title of this subsection is adapted from the title of Johnson’s (1999) book chapter.
Furthermore, given the scope of the literature on the developmental state, it goes without
saying that the present review is but selective.
2 Of course, the meanings of public and private, as Johnson (1995) suggests, have often been
kept vague and obliterated.
3 International politics is another factor considered to underly the political capacity of the
Asian developmental state. Specifically, given the erstwhile attempt on the part of the United
States to combat totalitarianism during the Cold War and the strategic geopolitical locations
of these Asian states, the latter were able to pursue mercantilist policies without getting
repercussions (Cumings 1987; Pempel 1999). Together, subordination of the dominant class
and tolerance of the global power have generated what Castells (1992) calls “double
autonomy” that allow the developmental state to impose its visions on the society.
4 Despite the argument summarized in the above, Johnson (1995, 53) makes it clear that it is
not a simple question of democracy versus authoritarian rule. On one hand, he does not think
an authoritarian regime is able to promote development projects for a sustained period of time.
On the other hand, if by democracy one means “some form of state accountability to the
representatives of the majority of citizens combined with respect for the rights of minority”, it
would not be compatible with a developmental state either. In his opinion, leaders of the
developmental state are endowed with “revolutionary authority” and enjoy a kind of
legitimacy that authoritarian rulers do not.
5 Specifically, India’s “development councils”, which could have facilitated state-business
negotiation and coordination, were not constituted by representatives of the business
community that could make binding decisions. In turn, this was because India had pursued
import-substitution industrialization that shielded the businessmen from international
competition. As a result, whereas Indian businessmen were keen to get state subsidies, the
Indian state lacked leverages to impose state guidance and discipline (Chibber 2003).
6 The high level of local autonomy can be traced to the Maoist years. According to some
observers, it has allowed China to pursue economic reform without initiating political ones.
Specifically, success of the township and village enterprises and support to economic reform
given by local and provincial officials have enabled Deng Xiaoping to defy the conservative
political forces at the center and “push his reform program through the bureaucratic
decision-making process and avoid the risks of changing the political rules of the game”
(Shirk 1993, 14; Walder 1996; Konai 1986). Although this point has seldom been made by
scholars examining China as a developmental state, it can be considered a source of political
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Woo-Cumings, Meredith (ed.) 1999. The Developmental State. Ithaca: Cornell University
... Although our findings indicate that pursuing a competitive RER is a consistent economic development policy, especially in developing countries, we note that these results need to be interpreted carefully because: (i) the literature indicates that a competitive RER is part of a broad set of development-oriented economic policies (such as public investment in infrastructure, educational policies, development-oriented institutions, and the emergence of a solid national system of innovation) adopted by Asian economies and neglected by Latin American ones (White and Wade, 1988;Amsden, 1989;Bresser-Pereira, 2010;Ang, 2016;Chu, 2016); (ii) a competitive RER increases income inequality in the short run (Diaz Alejandro, 1963;Blecker, 1989;Bahduri and Marglin, 1990), which might lead to the reverse growth effect (Guzman et al., 2018;Ribeiro et al., 2020); and (iii) a competitive RER does not fill the gap created by a lack of growth fundamentals (Eichengreen, 2007). ...
... On the one hand, our results should be viewed with caution, especially as a prescription for development policy. Although outward-oriented policies -such as the pursuit of a competitive RER and controlled labor costs -were adopted by Asian economies, we note that these policies were adopted in combination with a wide range of development-oriented policies -fiscal, monetary, technological, educational, and development-oriented institutions (White and Wade, 1988;Amsden, 1989;Ang, 2016;Chu, 2016), which, since the 1990s, have been neglected by Latin American countries (Bresser-Pereira, 2010). Moreover, a competitive RER increases income inequality in the short term by reducing real wages and the wage share of GDP (Diaz Alejandro, 1963;Blecker, 1989;Bahduri and Marglin, 1990), which might produce the opposite growth effect in the long run (Guzman et al., 2018;Ribeiro et al., 2020). ...
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This article assesses the effects of real exchange rate misalignment on long-term growth, between 1995 and 2018, in a set of 151 countries. Our findings indicate that a competitive real exchange rate is positively associated with growth over the long run. The novel element here is our demonstration that the enhanced international competitiveness generated by lower labor costs may increase growth. The study also includes a series of robustness checks and alternative estimates to better understand this association, using seven different measures of real exchange rate misalignment, controlling for the possibility that the real exchange rate has a non-monotonic effect on growth, testing the Washington Consensus, separately estimating the effects of real exchange rate devaluation and overvaluation, testing the argument that a real exchange rate policy is an important factor in explaining why Asian economies perform better than Latin American and African ones, and employing alternative measures for real exchange rate misalignment.
... Korea has been described as a developmental state in the existing political economy literature. Various studies attribute Korea's rapid economic growth to the state's developmental policy, state autonomy owing to relative insulation from social demands, capable bureaucracy, and symbiotic relations between the state and firms, among other reasons (Chu, 2016;Lee & Han, 2006;Minns, 2001). Such features of a developmental state have affected environmental governance and policymaking in Korea, leading policymakers and governments to see environmental programs as extensions or complements of national growth or development programs (Han, 2015b). ...
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Globally, several governments have adopted various forms of green stimulus policies (GSP) to manage environmental challenges and revitalize their national economies during crises. However, research on the varieties of GSPs within a country and the possible drivers of this diversity remain scarce. This study qualitatively compares the green growth and green new deal policies adopted under two different administrations in South Korea. Although both GSPs share similar components, they vary in their focus on nuclear energy and international cooperation. This study postulates that these differences are associated with the degree to which each administration saw GSP through the lens of a developmental state. Besides providing a comparative tool for examining GSPs and their elements, this research contributes to GSP research in a non-Western developed-country setting by highlighting how domestic factors shape the nature and composition of GSPs.
... State capacity is employed to heavily mould public opinion, social mores, and practices. Understandably, developmental states tend to be authoritarian, and this is justified-and in most cases accepted by the public-as necessary to achieve the single-minded national solidarity necessary for economic growth (Haggard, 2018;Chu, 2016). Its unique configuration affords the developmental state significant control-not just physical, but also informal-over private actors, in ways difficult to capture in aggregate statistics. ...
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This article explores the limits of central industrial planning through a case study of Singapore. While previous Austrian scholars have argued that successful industrial planning is impossible, and that its successes (if any) are limited to the resolution of technical problems, the positive economic record of Singapore under the auspices of its developmental state capitalism poses a strong challenge to these market-oriented perspectives. In response, I present a modest position. I concede that Singapore’s industrial policy has to some extent contributed to genuine economic development but insist that its state-heavy approach has nonetheless hampered the market’s entrepreneurial discovery by stifling local entrepreneurial talent and crowding out local small-medium enterprises. The top-down model has also limited the economy’s adaptive potential. I draw from productivity, entrepreneurship, and innovation data to make my case and conclude that Singapore’s experience with its developmental state model comes with a significant cost, notwithstanding its impressive achievements.
Since 2015 the United States has been a signatory of the historic nuclear agreement with Iran known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was also agreed by other P5+1 countries. JCPOA is the achievement of the U.S. and other P5+1 countries' negotiations with Iran regarding the limitation of Iran's nuclear program. JCPOA is also known to be the vital instrument to reduce Iran's capabilities regarding its aggressive behavior and malign activities, creating destabilization in the Middle East. However, in 2018 the United States government decided to withdraw its participation from the JCPOA. As we know, this decision had an impact on Iran's behavior, which several times violated the contents of the JCPOA agreement even though they did not leave the agreement. We are also witnessing the impact of this decision increase the conflict between the US and Iran in recent years. This research aims to explain the rationale of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018. This research using the foreign policy decision-making framework model by Charles W. Kegley and Gregory A. Raymond. This concept focuses on explaining factors of foreign policy decision-making in three sources of analysis and the process of foreign policy-making based on rational choice.
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China's rising influence in parts of the developing world has raised concerns among the US and its allies. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the provision of vaccines and aid to countries in the Global South have further heightened anxieties over the potential for diffusion of China's ideals. China's investments are thought to promote the diffusion of its perspectives of rule of law and democracy, posing a challenge to the global dominance of Western liberal democratic values. Nonetheless, few studies have examined how the diffusion of China's ideals may occur through its investments and infrastructure projects in young democracies such as Malaysia whose governance and legal system significantly outperform China's according to various global indexes. This article investigates the increasing engagement with China and the reasons for this trend against the backdrop of Malaysia's legal and political institutions inherited from the West. It considers how young democracies like Malaysia are vulnerable to China's influence, intentional or unintentional, through investment. The analysis sheds light on the mechanisms that give rise to such vulnerability, exploring how the electoral system and rule of law may facilitate and amplify the impact of Chinese investment, with broader implications. Shared tacit understandings, such as the instrumentality of law and the nexus between state and business, which facilitate cross-country cooperation are also examined.
This chapter aims to understand the opportunities that are available for the industrialisation of cannabis in South Africa from the developmental state perspective. The exclusion of Black people in the economy is still the main theme of the South African economy 28 years into democracy. Therefore, the intersection between the state and its importance in terms of guiding the private sector to achieve industrialisation and redistribution is a theme worthy of exploring. Interestingly, cannabis being a nascent sector in the economy, can either create opportunities for inclusion of those previously excluded, or it could sustain the dominance of those who presently control the status quo. Hence to facilitate such inclusion the state needs to play a pivotal facilitative role. Therefore, three themes are the focus of this chapter: i) developmental state; ii) opportunity for the cannabis industry in South Africa; and iii) redistribution - what form of distribution is required to occur in the industry to benefit the entire South African population.
Globally, several governments have adopted various forms of green stimulus policies (GSP) to manage environmental challenges and revitalize their national economies during crises. However, research on the varieties of GSPs within a country and the possible drivers of this diversity remain scarce. This study qualitatively compares the green growth and green new deal policies adopted under two different administrations in South Korea. Although both GSPs share similar components, they vary in their focus on nuclear energy and international cooperation. This study postulates that these differences are associated with the degree to which each administration saw GSP through the lens of a developmental state. Besides providing a comparative tool for examining GSPs and their elements, this research contributes to GSP research in a non-Western developed-country setting by highlighting how domestic factors shape the nature and composition of GSPs.
Singapore’s economic success has often been used as a justification to reject liberalism. Her rapid rise to economic prosperity in the late twentieth century was used by Singapore’s Founding Father Lee Kuan Yew (and his numerous admirers) to claim that economic growth does not require liberal democracy. This “Lee Thesis”, or “Asian Values” thesis, states that notions of freedom, individualism, and democracy are Western-centric and do not necessarily apply in other cultural contexts. According to Lee, “westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual. As an Asian of Chinese cultural background, my values are for a government which is honest, effective and efficient” (Lee, 1992).
The role of the state is highly contested in the study of the political economy of development. After World War II (WWII), development theory envisioned an activist role for the state, whether in terms of injecting capital investment into the economy, pursuing import substitution industrialisation, or facilitating the economy’s move towards “higher stages of growth”. Key to such approaches is the belief that central planning was desirable or even necessary to realise economic growth. This did not necessarily imply full-scale central planning as in the Soviet Union, but a variety of developmental planning approaches persisted until the 1980s (Perkins et al., 2012, pp. 130–137).
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China and Japan have started to develop commercial offshore wind farms since the late 2000s and early 2010s. During the past decades, the gap in offshore wind capacity between the two countries widened. While China is poised to dominate the Asian offshore wind market, Japan remains at the initial stage of development. Combining the data from both semi-structured interviews and desk research, this paper conducts a comparative study of offshore wind policy mixes and analyzes underlying factors that affect the selection of national strategies and policy packages. It is argued that the selection of policy mixes for offshore wind energy reflects a careful balancing of facilitating and constraining factors including resource availability, technology maturity, and preexisting institutional structure and practices. These push and pull forces shape the policy landscape for offshore wind, which covers (1) resource surveys and national targets, (2) inter-ministerial coordination, (3) central-local relationship, and (4) feed-in-tariffs (FITs). It is found that the two countries had chosen different approaches for regulatory reform. China adopted a decentralized path, solving the problems of institutional inertia by turning local bureaucrats into entrepreneurial reformers, whereas Japan took a centralized approach, attempting to remove regulatory complexities by establishing an integrated administrative regime at the central level. A better understanding of the two approaches and their underlying factors might not only help policymakers capitalize on existing governing regimes but also devise new mechanisms to create a better policy environment for offshore wind energy.
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This study addresses a core issue of comparative political economy - the role of political institutions in economic performance. What difference have modern states made to the development of the market economy? Under what conditions and for what purposes have states sought to assist the process of industrial advancement? The book examines why modern states differ so considerably in their capacity for governing the market. They also examine the nature of state "strength", and its importance for a prosperous economy changed over time. Through a comparative history of political and economic development, this volume examines changing state-economy relations from the rise of market economies in Europe to the present, focusing on Britain, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and the United States. It provides arguments and explanations of the rise of modern states and markets, of early and late industrialization, of state capacity and national competitiveness. Through case studies and comparisons, the authors develop a neo-statist theory to explain the changing economic fortunes of political systems, from the rise of Europe to the gradual decline of Anglo-American industry and the recent ascendance of East Asia.
After World War II, several late-developing countries registered astonishingly high growth rates under strong state direction, making use of smart investment strategies, turnkey factories, and reverse-engineering, and taking advantage of the postwar global economic boom. Among these economic miracles were postwar Japan and, in the 1960s and 1970s, the so-called Asian Tigers—Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan—whose experiences epitomized the analytic category of the “developmental state.” This book examines the emerging biotechnology sector in each of these three industrial dynamos. They have invested billions of dollars in the biotech industry since the 1990s, but commercial blockbusters and commensurate profits have not followed. Industrial upgrading at the cutting edge of technological innovation is vastly different from the dynamics of earlier practices in established industries. The profound uncertainties of life-science-based industries such as biotech have forced these nations to confront a new logic of industry development, one in which past strategies of picking and making winners have given way to a new strategy of throwing resources at what remain very long shots. The book illuminates a new political economy of industrial technology innovation in places where one would reasonably expect tremendous potential—yet where billion-dollar bets in biotech continue to teeter on the brink of spectacular failure.
Until recently, dominant theoretical paradigms in the comparative social sciences did not highlight states as organizational structures or as potentially autonomous actors. Indeed, the term 'state' was rarely used. Current work, however, increasingly views the state as an agent which, although influenced by the society that surrounds it, also shapes social and political processes. The contributors to this volume, which includes some of the best recent interdisciplinary scholarship on states in relation to social structures, make use of theoretically engaged comparative and historical investigations to provide improved conceptualizations of states and how they operate. Each of the book's major parts presents a related set of analytical issues about modern states, which are explored in the context of a wide range of times and places, both contemporary and historical, and in developing and advanced-industrial nations. The first part examines state strategies in newly developing countries. The second part analyzes war making and state making in early modern Europe, and discusses states in relation to the post-World War II international economy. The third part pursues new insights into how states influence political cleavages and collective action. In the final chapter, the editors bring together the questions raised by the contributors and suggest tentative conclusions that emerge from an overview of all the articles. As a programmatic work that proposes new directions for the analysis of modern states, the volume will appeal to a wide range of teachers and students of political science, political economy, sociology, history, and anthropology.
This study complements the burgeoning literature on South Korean economic development by considering it from the perspective of young female factory workers. In approaching development from this position, Kim explores the opportunity and exploitation that development has presented to female workers and humanizes the notion of the 'Korean economic miracle' by examining its impact on their lives. Kim looks at the conflicts and ambivalences of young women as they participate in the industrial work force and simultaneously grapple with defining their roles in respect to marriage and motherhood within conventional family structures. The book explores the women's individual and collective struggles to improve their positions and examines their links with other political forces within the labor movement. She analyses how female workers envision their place in society, how they cope with economic and social marginalisation in their daily lives, and how they develop strategies for a better future.