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date: 16 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the ‘flying-geese’ (FG) theory first introduced by Japanese economist Kaname Akamatsu in the mid-1930s, arguing that it must be reformulated in the light of stepped-up globalization. It first provides an overview of the basic assumptions of the FG theory before discussing the role of multinational corporations as an instrument of catch-up and an endogenizer of growth in the world economy. It then analyses the ‘(double-helix) ladder of development à la Schumpeter’ that can capture and expand on Akamatsu’s ideas about the inter- and intra-structural changes and the evolutionary hierarchy of economies aligned at different growth stages. It also considers the Schumpeterian ladder-related, S-shaped growth trajectory along which economic development proceeds. Finally, it describes three rounds of national ecosystem reform needed to move sustainable growth forward: from low-income stagnation towards middle-income status; bypassing the middle-income trap towards high-income status; and escaping the ‘high-income (sclerosis) trap’.

Keywords: flying-geese theory, multinational corporations, structural change and transmigration, Schumpeterian development ladder, structural economics, S-shaped growth curve, national ecosystem reform

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