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Systemic Vulnerability and the Origins of Developmental States: Northeast and Southeast Asia in Comparative Perspective


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  • Doner, Richard F.
  • Ritchie, Bryan K.
  • Slater, Dan
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    Scholars of development have learned a great deal about what economic institutions do, but much less about the origins of such arrangements. This article introduces and assesses a new political explanation for the origins of developmental states organizational complexes in which expert and coherent bureaucratic agencies collaborate with organized private sectors to spur national economic transformation. Conventional wisdom holds that developmental states in South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore result from state autonomy, especially from popular pressures. We argue that these states impressive capacities actually emerged from the challenges of delivering side payments to restive popular sectors under conditions of extreme geopolitical insecurity and severe resource constraints. Such an interactive condition of systemic vulnerability never confronted ruling elites in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, or Thailand allowing them to uphold political coalitions, and hence to retain power, with much less ambitious state-building efforts.Authors listed alphabetically. We are grateful to the following for helpful comments: Cliff Carrubba, Eric Hershberg, Dave Kang, Stephan Haggard, Linda Lim, Greg Noble, Kristen Nordhaug, John Ravenhill, Eric Reinhardt, Dani Reiter, Tom Remington, Michael Ross, Randy Strahan, Judith Tendler, and two anonymous reviewers. Special thanks to David Waldner, whose book inspired this article and who graciously provided important insights.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal International Organization.

    Volume (Year): 59 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 02 (April)
    Pages: 327-361

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:59:y:2005:i:02:p:327-361_05

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    Cited by:
    1. Alexander Libman & Anastassia Obydenkova, 2013. "Informal governance and participation in non-democratic international organizations," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 221-243, June.
    2. Frank Tipton, 2009. "Southeast Asian capitalism: History, institutions, states, and firms," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 401-434, September.
    3. Gerald A. McDermott & Héctor O. Rocha, 2010. "Clusters And Upgrading: A Purposeful Approach," Organizations and Markets in Emerging Economies, Faculty of Economics, Vilnius University, vol. 1(1).
    4. Laura Routley, 2012. "Developmental states: a review of the literature," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series esid-003-12, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    5. Richard Grabowski, 2010. "State Effectiveness and Structural Traps: Some Colonial Experiences," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
    6. Bryan Ritchie, 2009. "Economic upgrading in a state-coordinated, liberal market economy," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 435-457, September.
    7. Gerald Mc Dermott, 2005. "The Politics of Institutional Renovation and Economic Upgrading: Lessons from the Argentine Wine Industry," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 817, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    8. Ahrens, Joachim & Stark, Manuel, 2012. "Unabhängige Organisationen in autoritären Regimes: Widerspruch in sich oder effektives Instrument von Developmental States?," PFH Forschungspapiere/Research Papers 2012/09, PFH Private University of Applied Sciences, Göttingen.
    9. Dana Gârdu, 2011. "On Some Controversies about East Asian Developmental States," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 14(40), pages 155-171, June.
    10. Timm, Christian, 2014. "A liberal developmental state in Georgia? State dominance and Washington Consensus in the post-communist region," PFH Forschungspapiere/Research Papers 2014/02, PFH Private University of Applied Sciences, Göttingen.
    11. M. Haque, 2013. "Globalization, State Formation, and Reinvention in Public Governance: Exploring the Linkages and Patterns in Southeast Asia," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 381-396, December.
    12. Edo Andriesse & Guus Westen, 2009. "Unsustainable varieties of capitalism along the Thailand–Malaysia border? The role of institutional complementarities in regional development," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 459-479, September.
    13. Apaydin, Fulya, 2012. "Partisan Preferences and Skill Formation Policies: New Evidence from Turkey and Argentina," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1522-1533.
    14. Libman, Alexander, 2006. "Different paths of the second transition in the post-Soviet world: a political-economic analysis," MPRA Paper 11781, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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