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The Political Economy of Industrial Policy: A Comparative Study of the Textiles Industry in Pakistan

Matthew McCartney ()
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Matthew McCartney: Director of the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme and Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford.

Lahore Journal of Economics, 2014, vol. 19, issue Special Edition, 105-134

Abstract: The textiles industry in Pakistan has failed to fulfill its “historical mission,” whether judged in terms of promoting rapid and sustained economic growth, reducing poverty, or providing employment to young women and so promoting wider social transformation. This paper makes a case for a particular and targeted form of industrial policy that would help the textiles sector learn and upgrade. It argues that those factors commonly seen as constraints to industrial policy—the “China effect,” the global rules of globalization, global value chains, and the problems of energy and education in Pakistan—do need careful consideration, but they are not insurmountable obstacles to industrial upgrading. The key market failure is the risk and uncertainty associated with acquiring and learning to use new technology. The paper explores a number of policy options, reviewing the lessons that cannot be learned from the Republic of Korea and India and one that can from Bangladesh. The latter shows that rapid and sustainable export growth in textiles can be achieved, even in an economy with a weak, corrupt, and unstable form of governance.

Keywords: Pakistan; Korea; Bangladesh; textiles; industrial policy; technological change; upgrading. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: L50 O40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:lje:journl:v:19:y:2014:i:sp:p:105-134