Date: 06 Mar 2012

Networks and Public Policies in the Global South: The Chilean Case and the Future of the Developmental Network State

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Abstract

Recently, there has been considerable excitement about the economic potential of the “developmental network state”—decentralized government policies that successfully accelerated growth in several high- and medium-income countries. The question remains whether such a strategy could be successful in less-developed nations whose scientific and technological resources were relatively limited. This paper analyzes the trajectory of Chile, a Southern country which, despite adverse conditions, managed to produce something akin to an economic miracle during the last few decades. Our argument is that Chile’s success was based on the developmental network state strategy. Moreover, we highlight the centrality to understanding the Chilean experience of the concept of “network failures”—a common phenomenon that occurs when domestic production would be best served by network forms of organization but for a variety of reasons, these networks either fail to materialize or fail to take hold (Schrank and Whitford 2011). Over and over again, we see that the logic behind the actions of the Chilean state was to provide resources that reduced the likelihood of network failures. We examine three case studies of successful export sectors: salmon; wine; and fruit and vegetables. The paper outlines some of the challenges faced by the Chilean model and assesses its long-term viability.