IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Special Economic Zones: What Have We Learned?


  • Farole, Thomas

    () (World Bank)


It has been more than 50 years since the establishment of the first modern special economic zones. During this time, SEZs have been credited with underpinning the dramatic export-oriented growth of China and other East Asian countries. While they remain a controversial instrument, policy makers appear to be increasingly attracted to economic zones. Since the mid 1980s, the number of new zones has grown rapidly, with significant expansion in developing countries. But in this postcrisis environment, the context in which zones operate is changing. Increasingly, the effectiveness with which they are designed, implemented, and managed will determine their success. This note outlines key lessons that have emerged from the experiences of zone programs in developing countries over recent decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Farole, Thomas, 2011. "Special Economic Zones: What Have We Learned?," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 64, pages 1-5, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:prmecp:ep64

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Farole, 2011. "Special Economic Zones in Africa : Comparing Performance and Learning from Global Experience," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2268.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lord, Montague J., 2012. "Evaluation of Support to Lao PDR’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs)," MPRA Paper 61053, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Oliver Klein & Piotr Pachura & Christine Tamasy, 2016. "Globalizing Production Networks," Polish Journal of Management Studies, Czestochowa Technical University, Department of Management, vol. 13(2), pages 81-89, June.
    3. Ana Fernandes & Heiwai Tang, 2012. "Learning from Neighbors’ Export Activities: Evidence from Exporters’ Survival," Development Working Papers 337, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 16 Jul 2012.
    4. Mamo Mihretu & Gabriela Llobet, 2017. "Looking Beyond the Horizon," World Bank Other Operational Studies 28334, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    SEZ; special economic zone; shenzhen; singapore; economic development; industrialization; employment; exports; exprot-led growth; trade;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:prmecp:ep64. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael Jelenic). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.