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Run of the Red Queen: Government, Innovation, Globalization, and Economic Growth in China Hardcover – May 31, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition first Printing edition (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030015271X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300152715
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,233,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Run of the Red Queen" is an important book. It should make both Chinese bureaucrats and Western pundits think twice before pronouncing on China's "innovation deficit".
--The Economist - Schumpeter

"One of the best, if not the best, book written in the last ten years on Innovation in China."
Arnoud DE MEYER, President: SMU

Run of the Red Queen offers a fresh, powerful, in-depth empirical account of some of the dynamics behind China's economic growth. Doug Guthrie Science July 22, 2011

"A new, illuminating book" Tyler Cowen New York Times Aug 20th, 2011

"Run of the Red Queen makes, we think, many important contributions to furthering our understanding of IT and the impact of the Internet, our understanding of economic development, and our understanding of China. It should be read by anybody wishing to better understand these topics." -- Jefferey Barlow Interface

“In this impressive, insightful, and now essential book, Breznitz and Murphree uncover and explain how China's system of innovation fits into a world of fragmented production and a rapidly expanding technological frontier.  Our overly simplistic debates about which nations are catching up or falling behind will have to change. No one in the West will have a comprehensive understanding of the rise of China and its place in the current era of globalization until reading Run of the Red Queen.”—Rawi Abdelal, Harvard Business School
(Rawi Abdelal 2011-02-15)

“…Highlights the hot issues from a global as well as regional dimension with very deep knowledge of China.”—Xielin Liu, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences

(Xielin Liu 2011-02-15)

“Run of the Red Queen gives us the smartest view of the most important question facing Beijing's economic planners: the sustainability of Chinese growth.  The answers in Breznitz's and Murphree's important work are as intriguing as they are fresh.”—Gordon Chang, Author of The Coming Collapse of China

(Gordon Chang 2011-02-15)

“…Gives us an entirely new way of thinking about innovation and economic development. By focusing on the specific kinds of innovation that flourish in China, and the institutional and geographical factors at play, Breznitz and Murphree offer a fascinating and nuanced view of how technology is developing in the world's fastest growing economy.”—Arthur Kroeber, Editor, China Economic Quarterly

(Arthur Kroeber 2011-02-15)

“…A very valuable contribution to our understanding of the coevolution of public policy and industrial strategy in China. This penetrating study … is on my short list of must-reads of the best recent writing about innovation with Chinese characteristics.”—Song Lei, Peking University

(Song Lei 2011-02-15)

“Run of the Red Queen provocatively forces us to reconsider the character of the challenge China represents.”—John Zysman, University of California Berkeley

(John Zysman 2011-02-15)

Won a Bronze Medal for the 2012 Axiom Business Awards in the International Business/Globalization category. This award is sponsored by the Jenkins Group
(Bronze Medal: Business/Globalization 2012 Axiom Business Awards 2012-06-06)

Winner of the Susan Strange Best Book Award for 2012, as given by the British International Studies Association
(Susan Strange Best Book Award British International Studies Association 2012-08-01)

About the Author

Dan Breznitz is an associate professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the College of Management, and an associate professor by courtesy at the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology. He is author of the award-winning book Innovation and the State, published by Yale University Press, and a Sloan Foundation Industry Studies Fellow. He lives in Atlanta. Michael Murphree is a project coordinator at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives in Atlanta.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Breznitz and Murphee found plenty of evidence for this through interviews in China as well as in the literature.
Robert D
That is, Chinese firms are not great at thinking up the next hot technology, but they are trying to be the place that helps to assemble and perhaps manufacture them.
I. Kant
This book is highly recommended to readers who are interested in innovation, politics, and economic development in mainland China and other emerging economies.
Hubert Shea

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JG on April 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book by Breznitz and Murphee is excellent. With rigorous analysis, the authors arrive at important conclusions, including these three: (1) Global production can obscure which stage or stages of innovation generate optimal growth benefits. This has significant implications for business strategy and public policy. (2) Global production often involves disparate stages, and different innovation capabilities become necessary in the same industry. This leads to divergent and sustainable models of innovation that look nothing like Silicon Valley models. (3) China's innovation model, which has been immensely beneficial to China and is sustainable for at least the next five years, is the opposite of what the central government in Beijing had intended, and central government policies are the main threat to continuation of China's economic success. Brexnitz and Murphee are thorough and thoughtful in their explanations, and Run of the Red Queen is a requisite read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Yao on June 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Overall, I find the book an interesting read, and enjoy the bits about the institutional details. As for the reasons why China is not successful in cutting-edge innovation, the views of the book are reasonable but not surprising to me. I agree that the constant but incoherent intervention of the governments is the main problem and that at this stage, it is not important for China to engage extensively in frontier innovations.

That the book's views are not surprising to me is probably due to my background. My parents had worked for local governments in China, and I had worked in an SOE and later a private company in China. Currently I am an academic researcher in the US and my research touches on innovation in China (hence my interests in this book).

Personally, I believe a few other factors also contributed to the lack of success. First, the system of funding university research projects is highly inefficient (see this critical article by two prominent Chinese scientists on the Science magazine: [...], leading to waste of vast amounts of research money. This is an important aspect of the national institution which is not covered in the book. Second, there is also a scarcity of highly educated scientists and engineers with experience in cutting edge research, although rank-and-file engineers are abundant. The current environment in China does not attract enough of the best overseas Chinese (let alone foreign) scientists and engineers to migrate to China yet. It's more difficult for them to find in China the type of employers they prefer, e.g. Intel. It's true that Intel has research facilities in China, but it's unlikely they have moved their most valuable research to China.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By I. Kant on April 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Whoa! Very impressive book. These guys did years of research inside of China. They talked to businessmen, innovators, policymakers, politicians, etc. etc. They also gathered independent data. Their results are surprising. China is *not* trying to be a lead innovator, but they are trying to be the manufacturing center for the lead innovators in the US and Europe. That is, Chinese firms are not great at thinking up the next hot technology, but they are trying to be the place that helps to assemble and perhaps manufacture them. And there are a lot of divisions and conflicts within China that might even prevent that from happening. Too much going on here to summarize in a quick review. But definitely required reading for anyone who wants to understand the "China threat" in science and technology.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert D on October 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of what is written about China's economy has to do with currency manipulation, cheap labor and loss of US jobs, intellectual property theft. While these topics dictate public discussion they only scratch the surface on explaining China's success in the individual technology sector. Breznitz and Murphee's thoroughly researched and documented Run of the Red Queen presents a much more nuanced and complex explanation that is extremely useful in understanding the integrated world production system. We perceive China as having a top down command economy, which the authors demonstrate has been both a positive and negative influence on its long-term goals. It has been successful at producing many capable engineers, but the reader discovers the central government is but one aspect of a vast network of overlapping bureaucracies and enterprising engineers can't count on what directives they will be required to follow from year to year. As a result, while there are many eager entrepreneurial engineers, don't expect a Steve Jobs among them. There is no incentive for new product development and engineers are focused on short-term ventures where quick return on investment is probable. Breznitz and Murphee found plenty of evidence for this through interviews in China as well as in the literature. They also found that this doesn't mean the Chinese are not innovating. They adapt products to their home market, make improvements in existing products they export but all is done for quick profit. China has found that in a globalized world it need not be the leader in product development. Outstanding book if one hopes to have more than a superficial understanding of the Chinese economy.
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