Collective Action in East Asia
How Ruling Parties Shape Industrial Policy
As one Asian economic crisis follows another, sending shock waves through the global market, questions about the making and conduct of industrial policy in the East take on a special urgency. Observers are sharply divided as to whether the ubiquitous attempts at cooperation among competing firms in Asia have been a key to competitiveness or a corrosive form of collusion. This timely book offers a close look at the impact of industrial policies on collective action in East Asia—in Japan and Taiwan and, more briefly, in South Korea. Systematically comparative and based on interviews and original research in the local languages, it focuses on forms of collective action such as cartels, standardization, and research and development consortia in the consumer electronics and minimill steel industries. The book combines detailed case studies with analyses of the political, bureaucratic, and industrial environments in which policy is crafted. It also considers how these environments have evolved in the past decade as long-ruling conservative parties have been challenged in all three countries.
Among the book's findings is a surprising disparity between the ways in which Japan and Taiwan have handled collective action policy, despite their many historical, demographic, and economic similarities. Collective Action in East Asia also brings to light unexpected inconsistencies in the effectiveness of Japanese policy, which frequently succeeds with R&D consortia but struggles with cartels. Studying both the rapid-growth period of the 1980s and the more recent economic slowdown in East Asia, this book provides crucial information for an understanding of today's global economy.