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Innovation in Asian Industrialization: A Gerschenkronian Perspective

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  • Mike Hobday
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    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.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Oxford Development Studies.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 293-314

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:31:y:2003:i:3:p:293-314
    DOI: 10.1080/1360081032000111715
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