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Comparing Industrialization in Pakistan and the East Asian Economies

Rajah Rasiah () and Nazia Nazeer ()
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Nazia Nazeer: Department of Development Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia

Lahore Journal of Economics, 2016, vol. 21, issue Special Edition, 167-192

Abstract: Drawing on the successful industrialization and catch-up experience of the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and Japan, and later South Korea and Taiwan, we argue that industrialization is a necessary phase for normal economies to stimulate rapid economic growth and structural change. This paper compares Pakistan’s industrialization with that of selected economies in East Asia. The evidence shows that Pakistan not only has the lowest GDP per capita of this group, it has also industrialized the least. Pakistan enjoyed its highest manufacturing growth rates in the 1950s and 1960s. Thereafter, manufacturing grew slowly and unevenly until the 1990s and 2006, largely through clothing exports. While Pakistan has faced deindustrialization since 2006, technology upgrading was never an integral part of its industrial policy. In contrast, the developmental role of the state, with a strong focus on technological catch-up and science-based education, is what propelled South Korea’s leading firms to the world’s technology frontier. Clientelist pressures compromised a similar role in Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, although foreign-owned firms helped expand their manufactured exports. A structured technology upgrading framework was never part of policy planning in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, while Malaysia’s technology upgrading blueprint, launched in 1991, lacked sound execution. Export manufacturing in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia through imports of cheap foreign labor has benefited from low wages and foreign direct investment. The comparison offers Pakistan an opportunity to learn from both the more successful and less successful industrializers in East Asia, that it might create the conditions for rapid economic growth and structural change.

Keywords: Industrialization; deindustrialization; industrial policy; technological upgrading; Pakistan. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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