SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

Financialization and industrial policies in Japan and Korea: Evolving institutional complementarities and loss of state capabilities

IMG - Sebastian
Sébastien Lechevalier (EHESS)

Date: 7 February 2018Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 7 February 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Seminar

This seminar was recorded and uploaded as a podcast. Please see here.


This paper analyses the revival of industrial policies from the late 2000 s in Japan and Korea and their limitations. The paper first adopts the perspective of historical institutionalism to focus on the relation between IPs and financial systems and study their evolution over the last 40 years.  Second the paper mobilizes the concepts of institutional complementarities and hierarchy, and discusses the limits of this revival in a context of liberalized financial systems, to which government entities in charge of industrial policies have contributed. A major finding is that, in the context of financialization, past complementarities of the developmental state have weakened and contradictions have arisen. It has resulted in a restructuration of state capabilities to design and implement industrial policies, and to its inability to subordinate finance to its goals, despite the discourses and ambitions of governments. However, comparison between Japan and Korea also allows the identification of some significant differences in the initial institutional arrangements and in the process of institutional change, pertaining to sources of greater state capabilities in Korea than in Japan in the current period. This paper is one of the outcomes of INCAS, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions R.I.S.E funded project under the European Commission’s H2020 Programme.

Speaker Biography

Sébastien Lechevalier is Professor at the EHESS (Paris), in charge of the chair "Asian capitalisms". He is also founding President of the Fondation France. Being an expert on the Japanese economy, he was previously a visiting researcher at the Maison Franco-Japonaise in Tokyo, Hitotsubashi University, the University of Tokyo, Waseda University and Kyoto University. His research interests includes institutional change, innovation and industrial economics, inequalities and welfare. Among his numerous publications, one may cite: The Great Diversity of Japanese Capitalism (Routledge, 2014), Lessons from the Japanese experience. Towards an alternative economic policy? (ENS Ulm, 2016, in French). His next book Innovation beyond technology: Science for society and interdisciplinary approaches is forthcoming in 2018 from Springer.

Organiser: SOAS Japan Research Centre, SOAS Department of Economics and Japan Economy Network

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