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Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation (Princeton Paperbacks) [Kindle Edition]

Peter B. Evans
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In recent years, debate on the state's economic role has too often devolved into diatribes against intervention. Peter Evans questions such simplistic views, offering a new vision of why state involvement works in some cases and produces disasters in others. To illustrate, he looks at how state agencies, local entrepreneurs, and transnational corporations shaped the emergence of computer industries in Brazil, India, and Korea during the seventies and eighties.

Evans starts with the idea that states vary in the way they are organized and tied to society. In some nations, like Zaire, the state is predatory, ruthlessly extracting and providing nothing of value in return. In others, like Korea, it is developmental, promoting industrial transformation. In still others, like Brazil and India, it is in between, sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Evans's years of comparative research on the successes and failures of state involvement in the process of industrialization have here been crafted into a persuasive and entertaining work, which demonstrates that successful state action requires an understanding of its own limits, a realistic relationship to the global economy, and the combination of coherent internal organization and close links to society that Evans called "embedded autonomy."

Editorial Reviews


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1995

"This carefully researched and well-written book is an important addition to development literature."--Choice

"Evans establishes himself once again as an indisputable leader of the development field. This book represents the finest example of the comparative institutional analysis of the state's role in economic transformation in the contemporary world."--Journal of Sociology

From the Inside Flap

"`What kinds of state structure facilitate industrial transformation?' To answer this apparently simple question, Evans takes us on a tour d'horizon of state theory, bureaucratic theory, and development theory, then on to a close-up look at the computer industry in Korea, Brazil, and India. His answer combines big theory with a grasp of the texture of particular societies, organizations, and individuals. A blockbuster, in every sense."--Robert Wade, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University

"Among the many studies of the state's role in promoting social and economic progress, Peter Evans's new book stands out for its theoretical and historical depth, for its wealth of institutional and technical data, and above all for its ability to recognize and acknowledge complexity. Between the polar opposites of the `developmental' and the `predatory' state, Evans inserts a rich variety of intermediate and frequently shifting configurations. In a masterful survey of the computer industries in Brazil, India, and Korea, he convinces the reader that the more successful policies have resulted from implausible and surprising institutional innovations that were far removed from available ideological recipes. A major and mature accomplishment."--Albert O. Hirschman, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

"A major accomplishment. Evans interprets the state's role in economic development on the basis of solid empirical research and an innovative framework that `brings the state back in' while keeping it at bay from interest groups."--Alice H. Amsden, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Embedded Autonomy is a wonderful tale of triumph and debacle that paints the big picture as well as the dramatic detail. It will have a major impact in the academy because of its solid basis in Evans's careful research on development projects and its deft critique of state-bashing. It will likely also find a large audience in the applied development community in the United States and abroad."--Christopher Chase-Dunn, The Johns Hopkins University

Product Details

  • File Size: 2050 KB
  • Print Length: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (January 12, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006YG6H7E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #636,025 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting contribution about development states October 1, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
It's nice to see how Evans sidesteps the dry debate about state intervention in the economy. Evans argues that the state can promote development when the bureaucracy is autonomous, competent and meritocratic, but also embedded in social networks that allow bureaucrats to receive appropriate information about society. Evans uses case studies from Korea, India, Brazil, and, to a lesser degree, Zaire. The former is at the magical "Goldilocks" zone of an embedded and autonomous state, while Zaire is the archetype of a rundown bureaucracy disconnected from society. I'm not fully convinced that the cases provide sufficient empirical evidence, but the book is a useful new perspective on how states promote economic growth.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book September 22, 2003
An excellent comparative study of efforts by developmental states in India, Brazil, and South Korea to break out of preordained "comparative advantage" and develop modern high-tech sectors for their respective economies. Based on extensive field research in all three countries and supplemented by thorough use of archival evidence.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The mechanism of developmental state September 25, 2002
This book is regarded as de facto classic in the tradition of developmental state. The strategy of developmental state is the denial of extant hierarchy of comparative advantage. To achieve high growth rate, there should be high return sectors. But such sectors, in general, have no relation with developing countries. Then, should developing countries rest with agriculture or labor-intensive industries? Not necessarily. Such sectors tend to be low value-added, in other words, with low growth prospect. If you don¡¯t have it, then make it! It¡¯s the strategy of developmental state. But it¡¯s no more than what to do. There was not satisfactory conceptualization on how East Asian developmental state put that strategy into practice. Amsden¡¯s ¡®Asia¡¯s Next Giant¡¯ (reciprocity) and Evans¡¯ this book marked some conceptual leapfrogging.
In the tradition of developmental state, state intervention is pinpointed as a necessary factor to rapid industrialization in East Asian countries. This book elaborates what states did to promote the industrial transformation (or, in Porter¡¯s word, achieve competitive advantage). Evans argues that ¡®embedded autonomy¡¯ (networking between bureaucrats and business) was the key to the developmental state¡¯s effectiveness. What define the developmental state are ¡®the state autonomy¡¯ (or strong state in the jargon of political science) and ¡®the state capacity¡¯. The state autonomy refers to the insulation of the bureaucracy from particularistic interests of, for example, the labor, the landlord, civil society, or the business. But ¡® a state that was only autonomous would lack both sources of intelligence and the ability¡¯ to implement its strategy.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is worth reading August 6, 2005
The author analyzes how East Asian countries make their economic development successful with state autonomy and also tells the difference among those countries, which means that if other countries wants to copy the above models, they need to decide what model they could apply.
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