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Can Malaysia escape the middle-income Trap ? a strategy for Penang

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  • Yusuf , Shahid
  • Nabeshima, Kaoru

Abstract

How can Penang upgrade and diversify its economy? This paper addresses this question using a number of methodologies that have been developed for assessing competitiveness and identifying the direction of future industrial evolution. The results show that although Penang was successful in attracting foreign direct investment to the electronics industry, this has not translated into a deepening of industrial capabilities or the nurturing of innovation capacity in Penang. No large Malaysian firms in Penang have taken the lead in innovation and there is little new entry by local firms, despite incentives provided by local and national governments are generous. Universiti Sains Malaysia, the principal university in Penang, is contributing through provision of skills, and it is beginning to multiply university industry linkages. However, the university’s research activities are too limited and too diffuse to significantly initiate innovation by local industry. Under the current circumstances, and given its relatively small size, Penang will have to try much harder to strengthen its competitive advantage in its most important industry -electronics- through actions that build research capital. It will also have to increase its efforts to develop the potential of other value-adding activities, such as medical services and tourism. A strategy focused on localization economies is likely to be the most feasible option.

Suggested Citation

  • Yusuf , Shahid & Nabeshima, Kaoru, 2009. "Can Malaysia escape the middle-income Trap ? a strategy for Penang," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4971, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4971
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2011. "Growing with Global Production Sharing: The Tale of Penang Export Hub," Departmental Working Papers 2011-13, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    2. Linxiu Zhang & Hongmei Yi & Renfu Luo & Changfang Liu & Scott Rozelle, 2013. "The human capital roots of the middle income trap: the case of China," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(s1), pages 151-162, November.
    3. World Bank, 2010. "Ecuador : Diversification and Sustainable Growth in an Oil - Dependent Country," World Bank Other Operational Studies 18503, The World Bank.
    4. Wonkyu Shin & Keun Lee & Walter G. Park, 2016. "When an Importer's Protection of IPR Interacts with an Exporter's Level of Technology: Comparing the Impacts on the Exports of the North and South," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(6), pages 772-802, June.
    5. Lee, Keun & Kim, Byung-Yeon & Park, Young-Yoon & Sanidas, Elias, 2013. "Big businesses and economic growth: Identifying a binding constraint for growth with country panel analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 561-582.
    6. Longfeng Ye & Peter E. Robertson, 2016. "On the Existence of a Middle-Income Trap," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(297), pages 173-189, June.
    7. Fernando Gabriel Im & David Rosenblatt, 2015. "Middle-Income Traps: A Conceptual and Empirical Survey," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 6(03), pages 1-39.
    8. Khorasanizadeh, Hasti & Parkkinen, Jussi & Parthiban, Rajendran & David Moore, Joel, 2015. "Energy and economic benefits of LED adoption in Malaysia," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 629-637.
    9. Nabeshima, Kaoru & Kang, Byeongwoo & Kashcheeva, Mila, 2016. "Descriptive analysis of the knowledge network formation in East Asia," IDE Discussion Papers 558, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    10. Rigg, Jonathan & Promphaking, Buapun & Le Mare, Ann, 2014. "Personalizing the Middle-Income Trap: An Inter-Generational Migrant View from Rural Thailand," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 184-198.

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    Keywords

    Technology Industry; Tertiary Education; E-Business; ICT Policy and Strategies; Agricultural Knowledge&Information Systems;

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