Understanding the East Asian Developmental State in a global economy: a literature review

Marijn Vermeulen, Federico Jensen, Lara Peña Rodriguez & Demay Zabitoglu

Studenteropgave: Kandidatprojekt


Taking departure from the overall topic on the relationship between state(s) and
corporation(s), this review examines the contributions by the Developmental State (DS)
literature in understanding state-corporatist relations and economic development in the East
Asian region. After reviewing contemporary literature on DS in East Asia, it is concluded that
(a) the literature takes a statist bias and is lacking theorization of non-state actors, which
causes a simplistic depiction of the DS today. The contemporary DS can be presumed to be
influenced by leading national firms as well as civil society due to i.a. democratization
processes. Also, (b) scholars tend to base studies on broad definition of the DS often pulling
features from e.g. Chalmers Johnson’s (1982) definition, whose suitability can be questioned
in today’s global political economy. And (c) arguments are often based on historical
approaches combined with narrow case studies (of DS institutions), which can exclude a
generalization to the broader state or indicate a selective reading.

The first chapter examines the dominant theoretical tendencies, which can be divided
into three categories: the adaptive DS, the decreasing DS, and the disrupting DS. The second
chapter considers the methodological trends within contemporary DS literature, which are
dominantly qualitative. In the final chapter, the gaps are outlined as well as tentative
suggestions for future research within the DS field.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato18 dec. 2017
Antal sider31
VejledereLaust Schouenborg


  • Developmental state
  • East Asia
  • Review