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Dictators, Democrats and Development in Southeast Asia: Lessons for the Rest

  • Jomo Kwame Sundaram (a1)


Of the ten fastest growing economies since 1960, eight are in East Asia. As Haggard (2018) aptly demonstrates for Northeast Asia, two explanations account for this exceptional regional performance. On the one hand, neo-liberals committed to an Anglo-American night-watchman state (Krueger 1978; Bhagwati 1978; Edwards 1993; World Bank 1993; Pack and Saggi 2006) attribute performance to macroeconomic stability, provision of public goods, and openness to trade and investment. On the other hand, a heterodox group (Johnson 1982; Amsden 1989; Wade 1990/2004; Chang 2002, 1994; Rodrik 1995; Evans 1995; Lin 2009) focuses on market and coordination failures and the need for states to adopt pragmatic, ‘trial and error’ and selective approaches to high-speed growth. In this latter view, the strong developmental states of Northeast Asia used their embedded autonomy viz the private sector to overcome market and coordination failures to usher in rapid growth and technological catch-up.



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