SOAS University of London

SOAS economist and former doctoral students co-edit book on economic development and the state

11 June 2013
20130618 Ben Fine book

Ben Fine, Professor of Economics at SOAS, University of London has collaborated with two former doctoral students on a book exploring the role of the state in economic development.

Beyond the Development State: Industrial Policy into the 21st Century was co-edited by Jyoti Saraswati, now Lecturer in International Political Economy at New York University and Daniela Tavasci, now Lecturer and MSc Director at Queen Mary, University of London. Both Dr Saraswati and Dr Tavasci were supervised by Professor Fine for their doctoral studies at SOAS.

Published by Pluto Press, the book is aimed at final year undergraduates and postgraduates in economics and development studies.

The collection of essays aims to re-galvanise the debate over the role of the state in economic development. Beyond the Development State: Industrial Policy into the 21st Century analyses the economic, political and ideological interests which underpin current socio-economic processes.

The contributors explore a wide range of national and sectoral cases from Asia, Africa and Latin America and the use of the linkage-agency framework, which is a theoretical originality in the book.

Through this approach, the contributors show the close interrelation between states and markets in both national and international contexts. Drawing on a wide range of case studies and themes, the book exposes the theoretical and empirical limitations of the developmental state paradigm, offering alternatives as well as discussing the policy implications and challenges they raise.

The idea came from a working group within the ‘International Initiative for the Promotion of Political Economy’, founded in 2007. At that time, members of the working group, which included Dr Saraswati and Dr Tavasci, said the debate on the role of the state and economic development had entered a conceptual dead-end.

Richard Kozul-Wright, Head of the Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration Among Developing Countries, UNCTAD, called the new book "a valuable contribution to the search for inclusive and sustainable development strategies.”

He said: “The developmental state has become a central concept in alternatives to the dominant neoliberal narratives of development. Fine and his colleagues combine a critical assessment of the existing literature with a series of country studies to show how powerful economic interests continue to shape the actions and effectiveness of the state.”

Alfredo Saad-Filho, Professor of Political Economy at SOAS added: “A very important book. The contributions are highly original and this work is likely to inform the emergence of a new branch of the literature on economic development. The volume is particularly timely because of the continuing relevance of developmental-state debates given the long-term 'decline of the West and rise of the rest' and the current economic crisis."

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Beyond the Development State: Industrial Policy into the 21st Century can be purchased via the Pluto Press website.