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date: 31 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The developmental state model was proposed in the early 1990s as a better means of understanding the mechanisms underlying the rapid growth of the Asian Tiger economies, when compared to classic economic models. The national skills systems of South Korea and Singapore are examined in order to consider how the Asian developmental state approach has worked in practice. It is shown that, whilst the state identifies and firmly guides the direction of economic development, the market plays a fundamental role in the concrete delivery of long-term economic objectives. Within this approach, education and training act as a vehicle to achieve broader economic and social development goals. Examples are used to consider how these systems changed throughout the industrialisation process. We reflect on some of the challenges faced over time, which have put the long-term viability of the developmental state approach in question. Most notable is the gradual erosion of the state’s ability to lead capital and labour in order to achieve long- rather than short-term goals, particularly in the face of globalisation.

Keywords: developmental state, economic development, industrial policy, national skills systems, Singapore, South Korea, state-led policy

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