East Asia's developmental states in evolution

the challenge of sustaining national competitiveness at the technological frontier

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


East Asia’s industrial transformation represents one of the most significant developments in the history of the modern world, generating an enormous body of interest in studies of IPE. For many, the region’s successful economic development cannot be understood without acknowledging the existence of what Chalmers Johnson referred to as a ‘developmental state’ – both as an empirical reality and a theory. In the same spirit as Johnson’s pioneering work, my focus differs from the preoccupation of mainstream studies of industry policy on ‘comparative advantage’ or on the optimum mix of policy tools. I focus instead on the underlying system behind the formulation and implementation of government policies. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the ideational, institutional and political sources of the state’s capacity to drive technological catch-up, and their evolution, as countries compete at or close to the technology frontier in a globalized economy. However, the extent to which developmental states can sustain their relentless drive for national techno-economic competitiveness on the basis of innovation (not imitation) remains deeply contested. I examine four key issues at the centre of the debate, concluding with the observation that the developmental state debate is far from settled.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook to global political economy
Subtitle of host publicationconversations and inquiries
EditorsErnesto Vivares
Place of PublicationNew York ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781351064545
ISBN (Print)9781138479883
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'East Asia's developmental states in evolution: the challenge of sustaining national competitiveness at the technological frontier'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this