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Overcoming successive bottlenecks: The evolution of a potato cluster in China

  • Zhang, Xiaobo
  • Hu, Dinghuan

Although the role of industrial policy in economic development is a frequent topic of debate in both the literature and the political arena, most such discussions focus on industrial policymaking at the national level. Using a case study of a potato cluster in China, we show that industrial policymaking at the local level contributes greatly to economic development. Many of the industrial policies affecting the cluster—including leveling land, developing better varieties, establishing a potato trade association, lobbying for increasing freight car quotas, and attracting processing firms—were implemented at the local level, highlighting the need for discussion of local industrial policymaking as a major determinant of cluster development. As the case study demonstrates, economic development is a continuous process with constantly evolving binding supply-side and demand-side constraints. Often, after a local policy helps remove one binding constraint, a new one emerges that, in turn, may require a new set of local policies. Therefore, the success of a potato cluster depends upon local industrial policies that respond to emerging binding constraints at different stages of the cluster's development.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 1112.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1112
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  1. Long, Cheryl & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2012. "Patterns of China's industrialization: Concentration, specialization, and clustering," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 593-612.
  2. Ricardo Hausmann & Dani Rodrik, 2002. "Economic Development as Self-Discovery," NBER Working Papers 8952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robert Wade, 2009. "Rethinking Industrial Policy in Low Income Countries," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 21(2), pages 352-366.
  4. Dani Rodrik, 2009. "Industrial Policy: Don'T Ask Why, Ask How," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(01), pages 1-29.
  5. Zhang, Xiaobo, 2006. "Fiscal Decentralization and Political Centralization in China: Implications for Growth and Inequality," Working Paper Series RP2006/93, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Keijiro Otsuka, 2006. "Cluster-Based Industrial Development: A View From East Asia," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 57(3), pages 361-376.
  7. Ruan, Jianqing & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2010. "“Made in China”: Crisis begets quality upgrade," IFPRI discussion papers 1025, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Baldwin, Robert E, 1969. "The Case against Infant-Industry Tariff Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(3), pages 295-305, May/June.
  9. Howard Pack & Kamal Saggi, 2006. "Is There a Case for Industrial Policy? A Critical Survey," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 267-297.
  10. Long, Cheryl & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Cluster-based industrialization in China: Financing and performance," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 112-123, May.
  11. Dirk Willem te Velde & Justin Lin & Célestin Monga & Suresh D. Tendulkar & Alice Amsden & K. Y. Amoako & Howard Pack & Wonhyuk Lim, 2011. "DPR Debate: Growth Identification and Facilitation: The Role of the State in the Dynamics of Structural Change," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 29(3), pages 259-310, 05.
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