Can the East Asian Developmental State be Replicated? The Case of Malaysia

Jeff Tan

in Development Models in Muslim Contexts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780748639687
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653171 | DOI:
Can the East Asian Developmental State be Replicated? The Case of Malaysia

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This chapter aims to explain Malaysia's industrialisation in terms of the East Asian developmental state model. This ‘model’ refers to a developmental state marked by the capacity to manage the process of late industrialisation, specifically: 1) the transfer of resources to more productive groups and sectors; and 2) learning and ‘catching up’. This chapter questions whether the East Asian developmental state can be transferred to developing countries, given its historical specificity. Although it may be relatively easy to replicate the sorts of capacities related to making the correct economic decisions by improving the quality of the bureaucracy, the political capacity of the state to implement decisions and enforce discipline is difficult to replicate because it is dependent on the political factors specific to a country. Hence, the notion of state capacity needs to be understood and seen in terms of historically specific social contexts, and, in particular, the balance of political forces that shape state motivations and constrain policy design and implementation. Here, the usefulness of the East Asian developmental state model for other countries will depend on the compatibility of institutions and policies with existing power structures.

Keywords: Malaysia's industrialisation; developmental state model; industrialisation; developing countries; historical specificity

Chapter.  11322 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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