Did industrial policy drive Asian economic growth?

…there is considerable evidence that industrial policy has influenced the sectoral composition of output and trade in Japan.  However, rather than being the forward-looking driver that proponents of selective promotion envision, at least in terms of measurable interventions, the evidence suggests that such policy was aimed overwhelmingly at internationally noncompetitive natural-resource-based sectors.  Indeed, once general equilibrium considerations are taken into account, in all likelihood the manufacturing sector as a whole experienced negative net resource transfers.

That is from the very interesting Industrial Policy in an Era of Globalization: Lessons from Asia, by Marcus Noland and Howard Pack.  This book is a good rebuttal to the claim that Asian economic success was fundamentally driven by industrial policy.  I thank a loyal MR reader who sent me this book, as a supplement to exchanges with Dani Rodrik.

Addendum: Do see Rodrik’s response in the comments…


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