New Book Shows Why Poorer Countries Face Harder Road to Industrialization

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  • 2013•04•25     London

    Under current conditions, poorer developing countries may find it much harder to foster industrial development and structural change than earlier generations of states that hauled themselves out of poverty, according to a new book in the “WIDER Studies in Development Economics” series.

    The book, launched earlier this month in London, is entitled Pathways to Industrialization in the Twenty-First Century: New Challenges and Emerging Paradigms. This book analyses the circumstances and challenges that developing countries are facing and looks at new paradigms to carry forward industrial policy in the future.

    Published by Oxford University Press, the book is the result of a collaborative research project between the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), and the United Nations University Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT). The book was co-edited by Adam Szirmai and Wim Naude of UNU-MERIT and Ludovico Alcorta of UNIDO.

    The “first wave” of industrialized countries, like those in Europe and North America, has illustrated the transformative nature of industrialization, as have the more recent experiences of the East Asian Tigers (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, India, and Viet Nam). But while there are factors indicating that industrialization will continue to be one of the major engines of growth and socioeconomic development, the book explains that poor countries today face a “more complex, and daunting set of circumstances than the developing countries that embarked on industrialization after 1950”.

    These hurdles include, among others: integration into global value chains, the shrinking of policy space in the present international order, the accelerating pace of technological change in manufacturing, creating adequate systems of financial intermediation, and determining how to respond to the threats of global warming and climate change.

    Such changing and challenging circumstances require new paradigms to guide researchers, policymakers and international development organizations in the future. The book’s accessible and clear structure is designed to help readers to interpret, compare and critically analyse the issues facing industrial policy today.

    With contributions and insights from leading scholars in the field, the book includes chapters on the experiences of Africa, Latin America, China, and Indonesia, as well as thematic chapters on structural change, jobless growth, the evolution of industrial policy and the challenges of environmental sustainability and climate change.