IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Drivers of Globalization: An Evolutionary Perspective on Firm-State Relations in the Asian Newly Industrialized Economies


  • Henry Wai-chung Yeung



The emergence of firms from the Asian Newly Industrialized Economies (NIEs) in the global economy during the past two decades has been phenomenal. Many pundits have attributed the competitive success of these Asian NIE firms and their home economies to the relentless efforts of the so-called developmental states. They argue that state initiatives such as active industrial policy and financial support have enabled these "national champions" to venture into and compete successfully in the global economy. This statist approach to the globalization of Asian firms and their home economies, however, has unfortunately ignored the complex and dynamic evolutionary nature of firm-state relations within the changing context of economic globalization. Drawing upon an institutional and evolutionary theory of change and adjustments, I aim to explain how the global emergence of Asian firms cannot be simply read off from and explained by their embeddedness in the developmental state. Since the 1990s, these Asian firms have strategically disembedded from state apparatus and successfully reembedded themselves in dynamic global production networks. This shift of strategic partnership of Asian firms from firm-state to firm-firm networks has profound implications for our understanding of the present and future trajectories of regional economies in Asia. It presages the demise of the developmental state as the primary driver of economic change and growth in Asian economies. In developing my conceptualization of changing firm-state relations, this paper draws upon several emerging and interrelated research frontiers in economic geography that call for more theoretical attention to trans-local actors and processes, evolutionary dynamics of change, and institutional contexts.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry Wai-chung Yeung, 2009. "Drivers of Globalization: An Evolutionary Perspective on Firm-State Relations in the Asian Newly Industrialized Economies," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0920, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Nov 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:0920

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Version November 2009
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nygaard, Ivan, 2010. "Institutional options for rural energy access: Exploring the concept of the multifunctional platform in West Africa," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 1192-1201, February.
    2. Lall, Sanjaya, 1992. "Technological capabilities and industrialization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 165-186, February.
    3. Peters, Jörg & Thielmann, Sascha, 2008. "Promoting biofuels: Implications for developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1538-1544, April.
    4. van der Vleuten, Erik & Raven, Rob, 2006. "Lock-in and change: Distributed generation in Denmark in a long-term perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(18), pages 3739-3748, December.
    5. Ans Kolk & Jonatan Pinkse, 2008. "A perspective on multinational enterprises and climate change: Learning from “an inconvenient truth”?," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 39(8), pages 1359-1378, December.
    6. Geels, Frank W., 2004. "From sectoral systems of innovation to socio-technical systems: Insights about dynamics and change from sociology and institutional theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6-7), pages 897-920, September.
    7. Rathmann, Régis & Szklo, Alexandre & Schaeffer, Roberto, 2010. "Land use competition for production of food and liquid biofuels: An analysis of the arguments in the current debate," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 14-22.
    8. Sengers, F. & Raven, R.P.J.M. & Van Venrooij, A., 2010. "From riches to rags: Biofuels, media discourses, and resistance to sustainable energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5013-5027, September.
    9. van Eijck, Janske & Romijn, Henny, 2008. "Prospects for Jatropha biofuels in Tanzania: An analysis with Strategic Niche Management," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 311-325, January.
    10. Raven, Rob, 2007. "Co-evolution of waste and electricity regimes: Multi-regime dynamics in the Netherlands (1969-2003)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 2197-2208, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Firm-state relations; evolutionary dynamics; globalization; selection environment; global production networks;

    JEL classification:

    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    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:egu:wpaper:0920. 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: (). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.