IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Development strategy, viability, and economic distortions in developing countries


  • Lin, Justin Yifu
  • Li, Feiyue


This paper presents a three-sector static model to explore the rationale for a series of institutional distortions in developing countries. The authors argue that, after World War II, motivated by a belief in the development of state-of-the-art industries as a means for nation building, the majority of developing country governments attempted to accelerate the growth of advanced capital-intensive industries. However, since developing countries are relatively rich in labor or natural resource endowments but not in capital endowment, advanced capital-intensive industries were not adapted to the endowment structures of these developing countries at the time. Enterprises in those industries were non-viable in open, competitive markets and could not survive without government subsidization or protection. The model shows that, in order to mobilize resources into the capital-intensive, advanced sectors, it is necessary for governments to use distortionary policies such as taxes and subsidies, distortions of factor prices, directive allocation of resources, and nationalization of enterprises. Such distortions enable developing countries to set up advanced, capital-intensive industries in the early stage of their development. However, they also tend to suppress incentives, misallocate resources, and make the economy inefficient.

Suggested Citation

  • Lin, Justin Yifu & Li, Feiyue, 2009. "Development strategy, viability, and economic distortions in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4906, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4906

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


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

    Cited by:

    1. Lin, Justin Yifu & Sun, Xifang & Jiang, Ye, 2009. "Toward a theory of optimal financial structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5038, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    Economic Theory&Research; Debt Markets; Emerging Markets; Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures; Currencies and Exchange Rates;

    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:wbk:wbrwps:4906. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi). 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.