Industrial Policies and Growth: Lessons from International Experience
The application of industrial policies (IP) to direct resources to industries considered preponderant in achieving growth has been the chosen road by many emerging economies to tackle underdevelopment. Subsidized loans, variable taxes and differentiated tariffs are frequently used. Because of the successful experiences of some South Asian industrial policies, other emerging countries feel tempted of replicating the formula. However, these should be sure first that their governments have the necessary competencies. There are also two questions to ask on the role of IPs in the growth of these countries: first, Were IPs the dominant factor in the countries’ accelerated growth? The neoclassical approach offers an alternative explanation, that the Asian miracle was mainly the result of strong macroeconomic policies implemented. The second question is: Can the problems of some Asian economies in the 1990s be explained by the prolonged application of IPs? This article finds evidence to support that economic growth was due to strong macroeconomic foundations, such as fiscal discipline, controlled inflation and adequate real exchange rate levels. These variables were the driving forces that created high levels of saving and investment. On the other hand, the implementation of IPs is difficult in a globalized world where the regulations of international trade have become very important.
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