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Authoritarian Capitalism
Sovereign Wealth Funds and State-Owned Enterprises in East Asia and Beyond


Award Winner

Part of Business and Public Policy

  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108741880

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About the Authors
  • Since 1945, the liberal-democratic model of capitalism spread across the globe, ultimately prevailing over communism. Over the past two decades, a new statist-authoritarian model has begun diffusing across East Asia. Rather than rejecting capitalism, authoritarian leaders harness it to uphold their rule. Based on extensive research of East Asia's largest corporations and sovereign wealth funds, this book argues that the most aggressive version of this model does not belong to China. Rather, it can be found in Malaysia and Singapore. Although these countries are small, the implications are profound because one-third of all countries in the world possess the same type of regime. With an increasing number of these authoritarian regimes establishing sovereign wealth funds, their ability to intervene in the corporate sectors of other countries is rapidly expanding.

    • Proposes a new argument for why authoritarian regimes intervene in the corporate sector
    • Examines sovereign wealth funds through a political economy framework that considers the broader corporate sector and political institutions in which they are embedded
    • Distinguishes among three types of authoritarian regimes, identifying the specific political regime attributes that contribute to more aggressive or passive forms of state-led corporate intervention
    • Cases on China, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan are placed in comparative perspective, with rich empirical detail about the owners of East Asia's largest corporations both before and after the Asian financial crisis and the rise of liberalizing reforms
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    • Winner, 2018 Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize, The Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Foundation

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Authoritarian Capitalism arrives at a critical historical moment. With the earlier wave of democratization stalled or in reverse, we are forced to revisit the nature of autocracy. Richard W. Carney takes this work in a new and exciting direction by looking at the foreign economic policies of authoritarian regimes, including how they propagate state-led development models and use their sovereign wealth funds. This is an ambitious contribution that goes beyond economic issues to changing politics in the Asia-Pacific and even questions of liberal and illiberal grand strategies.' Stephan Haggard, Krause Distinguished Professor, University of California, San Diego

    'The book offers a fascinating analysis of state ownership of foreign firms especially in Asia and the political logic behind growing ownership by various authoritarian regimes. By combining diverse literatures on political institutions, state owned enterprises, sovereign wealth funds, and corporate governance, the author proposes a new perspective that will help us understand the incentives of the state as an important player in corporate finance and economic development.' Takeo Hoshi, Henri H. and Tomoye Takahashi Senior Fellow in Japanese Studies, Stanford University, California

    'State ownership and authoritarian government are often associated with the reasons behind the rapid growth of East Asian countries. Professor Richard W. Carney brings in his masterful academic work, based on rigorous data analysis and rich case studies of five East Asian countries, debunks this myth and other haphazard generalizations: political regime differs by countries, which results in quite different consequences and future challenges. As such, this book provides an inspiring model for studying economic and political development, which has strong corporate governance implications for academics, managers, and policy makers around the world.' Sea-Jin Chang, Lim Kim San Chair Professor of Business Administration, National University of Singapore

    'Authoritarian Capitalism presents a compelling argument based on rigorous academic research, distilling the complex political economy dynamics in the East Asian marketplace. This book is a must-read for scholars and analytically minded practitioners seeking deep insight into the world's most deeply pocketed investors, sovereign wealth funds. A fantastic piece of scholarship!' Seung Ho Park, Parkland Chair Professor and Director of the Center for Emerging Market Studies, CEIBS

    'Carney's book marshals an impressive volume of meticulously gathered evidence about the ultimate owners of East Asia's largest firms. Through careful analysis of how corporate ownership changed from before to after the Asian Financial Crisis, Authoritarian Capitalism demonstrates that the sovereign wealth funds of Malaysia and Singapore have begun wielding tremendous influence across the region. By locating the motivations for these funds in their political regimes, the book makes a novel and important argument with global implications.' Krislert Samphantharak, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego

    'The chapters on Malaysia and Singapore are historically grounded, rich in corporate, political and economic information and allow a comparison of the way these dominant party states intertwine with business via SWFs.' Kevin Hewison, Journal of Contemporary Asia

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108741880
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Theory
    3. Global patterns
    4. East Asia patterns
    5. Narrow authoritarian regime: Brunei
    Single party authoritarian regime: China
    From single party authoritarian regime to democracy: Taiwan
    6. Dominant party authoritarian regime with a weakly dominant ruling party: Malaysia
    7. Dominant party authoritarian regime with a strongly dominant ruling party: Singapore
    8. Conclusions.

  • Author

    Richard W. Carney, China Europe International Business School
    Richard W. Carney is a faculty member of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). His articles have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Financial Economics, Business and Politics, and the Review of International Political Economy. He is also the author of Contested Capitalism: The Political Origins of Financial Systems (2009) and editor of Lessons from the Asian Financial Crisis (2011). Prior to CEIBS, he held faculty positions at the Australian National University, Canberra and the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He has extensive experience speaking to executives and government officials from across Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia.


    • Winner, 2018 Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize, The Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Foundation

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