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The Politics of Developmental State Persistence: Institutional Origins, Industrialization, and Provincial Challenge

Abstract

How and why do developmental state institutions persist? We address this conceptual question through an empirical puzzle: even though Pakistan and Turkey, like South Korea and Taiwan, constructed postwar developmental state institutions, the Pakistani and Turkish economies have been unable to upgrade to higher value-added production following the Korean and Taiwanese experience. If, as many scholars argue, the creation of developmental state institutions is necessary and sufficient for high growth outcomes, how can we understand the divergence between these two sets of cases? We argue that that the persistence of developmental state institutions is contingent on the absence of articulated opposition from agrarian actors and provincial capitalists against regimes of industrial promotion. While Korea and Taiwan suppressed or co-opted potential challengers from the countryside, such actors in Pakistan and Turkey effectively challenged the developmental state in the mid-1970s. We suggest that the politics of developmental state persistence are analytically distinct from the origins of developmental states, thus enabling a more dynamic understanding of the relationship between the politics of developmental state institutions and late industrialization.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    For our purposes, we distinguish between developmental state institutions, which we describe in greater detail below, and the full blown “developmental state” as a concept, which has become inseparable from the outcome of successful industrialization.

  2. 2.

    Two other cases, Hong Kong and Singapore, are city–state entrepots that, while successful industrializers, differ in crucial ways from states with significant land area and thus cannot be the basis for a comparison. We also follow standard practice of excluding Japan, an already industrialized nation at the beginning of the postwar period, from our analysis.

  3. 3.

    Doner, Ritchie and Slater explicitly argue that the presence of such systemic vulnerability, consisting of broad coalitional commitments, scarce resource endowments, and severe security threats, to be necessary and sufficient for the production of developmental states (Doner et al. 2005, pp. 329–331).

  4. 4.

    These cases thus differ substantially from developing countries in Latin America, in which organized labor is brought into political coalitions through left-corporatism, such as Argentina under Peron and Brazil under Vargas (O’Donnell 1988, pp. 39–71; Collier 1999).

  5. 5.

    Waldner characterizes the Turkish case differently than we do; he argues that low levels of elite conflict and the narrowness of coalitions in Korea relative to Turkey, and thus fewer resources devoted to particularistic concerns, led to the former's success (Waldner 1999, pp. 37–49). First, we argue that de facto elite conflict in Turkey was low; there was broad consensus over geopolitical threats and the need for development, so that disagreements, including those over economic policy, were minor (Türkeş 2001). Second, we believe that the political import of these coalitions is less their size and more their constituent elements; in this, we see little difference in the political support for developmental state institutions in all four cases.

  6. 6.

    In fact, Korea's Second Five Year Plan (1967–1971) was modeled after Pakistan's. See Adelman 1969.

  7. 7.

    It could be argued that the potential for provincial resistance was embedded in the origin of developmental state institutions, such that Pakistani and Turkish bureaucracies, by preserving traditional agrarian structures and sources of provincial power, sowed the seeds of their own destruction. In our view, this reading of the evidence assumes a much broader—and less coherent—understanding of the developmental state concept that does not distinguish between specific institutions and broader regime characteristics. While early studies of the East Asian cases emphasized land reform alongside developmental state institutions as part of a comprehensive explanation for their economic success, developmental state scholars, in general, have not argued that changes in agrarian or center-state relations were a self-conscious part of industrial development. Theories of the developmental state are thus relatively silent on the structures within the countryside because they focus largely on state-business interactions. Kohli's view is representative: “… on the whole, the landed agrarian classes turn out to be neither major political nor major economic actors in the drama of late-late industrialization” (Kohli 2004, p. 369).

  8. 8.

    The post-Partition province of East Bengal became East Pakistan, and after 1971, the independent state of Bangladesh.

  9. 9.

    While parallel data for Taiwan is unavailable due to the unique position of the Republic of China, Taiwan, while consistently more outward-oriented than the other countries, experienced a doubling of exports as a proportion of GDP in the early 1970s (Rodrik 1995, p. 63).

  10. 10.

    World Development Indicators, World Bank. Databank.worldbank.org, August 7th, 2013.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Pradeep Chhibber, Douglas Fuller, Peter Kingstone, Bill Kissane, Ken Shadlen, Pon Souvanneseng, participants in the South Asian Politics Colloquium at UC Berkeley and two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions. Errors are entirely our own.

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Correspondence to Caroline E. Arnold.

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Naseemullah, A., Arnold, C.E. The Politics of Developmental State Persistence: Institutional Origins, Industrialization, and Provincial Challenge. St Comp Int Dev 50, 121–142 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-014-9164-0

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Keywords

  • Developmental state
  • Late industrialization
  • Pakistan
  • Turkey
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan