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Tomkinson, Joanne Kathryn (2019) Late Development in the age of neoliberalism: The political economy of state-led development in Ethiopia and Vietnam. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis considers the challenges of late development in the age of neoliberalism and the impact of global economic and political forces on catch-up efforts in Ethiopia and Vietnam. It identifies two dominant interpretations of this relationship, which map onto the divide between the mainstream and heterodox development literatures. It suggests that for all their differences, both approaches adopt too deterministic a reading of the relationship between national development and global conditions, and in-so-doing misdiagnose obstacles to late development. Instead the thesis advances that the impacts of global conditions on late development prospects are the context-specific outcome of interactions between a nation’s development strategy and shifts in global capitalism. This suggests that historically informed political economy analysis is needed to examine prospects for the emergence of forms of developmentalism in the current age. To explore such possibilities, the thesis examines the development trajectories of Ethiopia and Vietnam, two rapidly growing developing economies with state-led and manufacturing oriented development strategies. These two late developers have sought to power structural transformation by combining state ownership over the commanding heights of the economy with a strong emphasis on public investment, followed by the embrace of foreign capital to facilitate participation in global value chains. This represents an attempt to selectively appropriate elements of the global order to serve the domestic political and economic ends of their respective ruling parties. Their experiences provide a forceful reminder that forms of developmentalism endure under neoliberalism and expose the variegated nature of late development constraints (and opportunities).

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Alfredo Saad Filho
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2020 13:22

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