Transformations of Industrial Policy in East Asian Capitalisms: The Rise of the Entrepreneurial State

Friday, July 18, 2014: 3:35 PM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Alexander EBNER , Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The role of industrial policy in the rapid economic growth of the East Asian economies is subject to persistent discussions. A key issue in these debates is the concept of the “developmental state”, which takes on the exposed role of the governmental executive in political systems and its relative autonomy in the relationship with the business sector. The state exercises industrial guidance in a national effort of catch-up growth. In this manner, the concept of the developmental state has been said to address key aspects of the ‘East Asian miracle’ that unfolded since the 1960s and lasted well into the 1990s, providing the empirical basis for ongoing concerns with the institutional specificity of Asian capitalisms. During the late 1990s, however, East Asian types of capitalism have been subject to an ongoing transformation, including the set-up of the corresponding developmental states. Political systems have been marked by a flexibilization of government-business relations with firms turning into global players while approaching the technological frontier. Besides, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 contributed to this process. The proposed paper explores the institutional transformation of government-business relations by addressing the reorientation of industrial policies in East Asia, with a focus on Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. The key argument is that the developmental state is transforming into a post-developmental constellation that is in line with the pressures of globalisation and technological as well as structural change, well approached in terms of an entrepreneurial state.