Rethinking Industrial Policy
Despite the hold of the neoliberal orthodoxy on policy making in developing countries, industrial policy remains important for the promotion of industrial development. However, the context for the design of industrial policy has profoundly changed as a result of new rules governing international trade, the rise of global value chains and marketing networks, and other aspects of globalization. Traditionally, the case for industrial policy has been framed in terms of “market failures” but the paper argues that that is not a sufficient basis. After addressing the traditional points of criticism, an attempt is made to outline the “domains” of industrial policy in the current circumstances, especially for industrially lagging countries. As country contexts differ widely there are no satisfactory blueprints for policy making that countries can readily adopt. As in production decisions, considerable ingenuity and innovation is needed in designing policies. This is all the more necessary as the WTO rules have become increasingly stringent and the rise of international trading networks has created new barriers for young firms to enter the world market. These developments have changed the context but not the importance of policy in industrial development. The paper identifies areas where government intervention is needed and can still make a positive difference.
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