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Innovation in Asian Industrialization: A Gerschenkronian Perspective

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  • Mike Hobday

Abstract

This paper interprets the experience of the East and South East Asian electronics industry from a "Gerschenkronian" perspective in order to draw lessons for other developing countries. Following Gerschenkron, the paper argues that it is diversity, rather than unifor mity, in the institutional, technological and development policy arenas (called here "strategic innovation") that characterizes the experience of the Asian newly industrializing economies (NIEs). The experience of the leading export industry shows that the progress of the NIEs can be interpreted as a pattern of substitution of missing prerequisites, in line with Gerschenkron's view of European latecomer industrialization. More broadly, the progress of the NIEs should not be viewed as repetitions of earlier industrialization experiences as they involve significant deviations from the latter, usually entailing distinctive strategic innovations. This interpret ation presents a difficult challenge for those wishing to draw lessons from the Asian NIEs. There are few direct lessons from East and South East Asia for other countries and certainly no transferable or standardized "model" of development. Other paths and patterns of develop ment need to be identified and created that build upon the distinctive resources of individual developing countries. Strategic innovation, trial-and-error learning and variety are likely to continue to characterize successful industrial development in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Mike Hobday, 2003. "Innovation in Asian Industrialization: A Gerschenkronian Perspective," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 293-314.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:31:y:2003:i:3:p:293-314
    DOI: 10.1080/1360081032000111715
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Freeman, Chris & Louca, Francisco, 2002. "As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolutions to the Information Revolution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199251056.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Srholec, 2007. "High-Tech Exports from Developing Countries: A Symptom of Technology Spurts or Statistical Illusion?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 143(2), pages 227-255, July.
    2. Zhou, Yu, 2008. "Synchronizing Export Orientation with Import Substitution: Creating Competitive Indigenous High-Tech Companies in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2353-2370, November.
    3. TUNCEL, Cem Okan, 2012. "Sectoral System of Innovation and Exploring Technological Upgrading Strategies in Late-Industrializing Countries," MPRA Paper 40843, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Cusmano, Lucia & Morrison, Andrea & Rabellotti, Roberta, 2010. "Catching up Trajectories in the Wine Sector: A Comparative Study of Chile, Italy, and South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1588-1602, November.
    5. Azomahou, Théophile T. & Diene, Bity & Diene, Mbaye, 2013. "Nonlinearities in productivity growth: A semi-parametric panel analysis," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 45-75.
    6. Jakob B. Madsen & Md. Rabiul Islam & James B. Ang, 2010. "Catching up to the technology frontier: the dichotomy between innovation and imitation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1389-1411, November.
    7. Azomahou, Theophile & Diene, Bity & Diene, Mbaye, 2012. "Nonlinearities in productivity growth: A semi-parametric panel analysis," MERIT Working Papers 046, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    8. Hobday, Michael & Rush, Howard, 2007. "Upgrading the technological capabilities of foreign transnational subsidiaries in developing countries: The case of electronics in Thailand," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1335-1356, November.
    9. Iizuka, Michiko & Soete, Luc, 2011. "Catching up in the 21st century: Globalization, knowledge & capabilities in Latin America, a case for natural resource based activities," MERIT Working Papers 071, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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