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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Southeast Asian countries display “dual economy” structures and policies. On the one hand, they commit to economic openness, market mechanisms, and multilateralism in trade policy; on the other, they pursue state-driven models, interventionist practices, and more exclusive economic relations through bilateral and regional trading arrangements. A critical political economy approach that explores the intricate linkages between the state, political actors, and politically significant domestic social forces, including corporate actors, reveals the linkages between Southeast Asia’s famed patronage coalitions and the region’s seemingly contradictory economic policy practices and governance structures. Reflecting the continued political necessity of ruling elites for maintaining a range of valuable domestic state-society bargains, these “dual” policy and “dual” economic structures are not temporary arrangements simply awaiting liberalization but are permanent features of the region’s political economy.

Keywords: Southeast Asia, economic liberalization, economic interventionism, bilateral and regional FTA, patronage networks, state-business relations, critical political economy

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