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Can an unwilling horse be made drink?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 February 2011

YOUNG BACK CHOI*
Affiliation:
Department of Economics and Finance, St Johns University, Jamaica, NY, USA

Abstract:

In his critique of the newer approach in economic development emphasizing institutional reforms, Ha-Joon Chang, in his article titled ‘Institutions and Economic Development: Theory, Policy and History’, equates New Institutional Economics with the program of liberal reforms for least developed countries (LDCs) and blames the former for the alleged failure of the latter. He argues with some justice that the dominant discourse in New Institutional Economics insufficiently appreciates the complexity of institutions; as a consequence, the difficulty of transplanting institutions is largely discounted. His case, however, is marred by his attempt to push down his ideological biases by marshalling inchoate, highly questionable and often contradictory ideas as facts. Going beyond a critical examination of the New Institutional Economics inspired discourse in development economics, he advocates his own version of beneficial development policies for LDCs – namely, economic democracy and industrial policies. His proposals are not only highly questionable, but they amount to adopting a double standard of exempting himself from the very criticisms he levies against New Institutional Economics – ignoring the difficulty of importing foreign institutions. Presuming to play God, like many development economists, he ignores the essential fact that an unwilling horse cannot be made to drink.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The JOIE Foundation 2011

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References

Bauer, P. T. (1986), Reality and Rhetoric, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Easterly, W. (2002), The Elusive Quest for Growth, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Chang, H. (2002), Kicking Away the Ladder, London: Anthem Press.Google Scholar
Chang, H. (2011), ‘Institutions and Economic Development: Theory, Policy and History’, Journal of Institutional Economics, 7 (4): doi:10.1017/S1744137410000378.Google Scholar
Choi, Y. B. (1994), ‘Industrial Policy as the Engine of Economic Growth in S. Korea: Myth and Reality’, in Boettke, P. J. (ed.), The Collapse of Development Planning, New York: New York University Press, pp. 231255.Google Scholar
Choi, Y. B. (2000), ‘Financial Crisis and Perspectives on Korean Economic Development’, in Choi, J. (ed.), Asian Financial Crisis, Oxford: JAI/Elsevier Science, pp. 357378.Google Scholar
Lee, K. Y. (2000), From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965–2000, New York: Harper.Google Scholar
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