The Political Economy of Development in China and Vietnam

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Two theories predominate in discussions of why China and Vietnam have, over the past three decades, achieved such rapid economic growth. The first argues that their startling performance can be explained by economic factors associated with late industrialization. The second proposes that China and Vietnam represent novel models of political economic organization that need to be better studied and understood. In this essay we review the voluminous literature on the political economy of China and Vietnam, evaluating the critical debates over the economic benefits of decentralization, experimentation, and state-led development. Although the debate remains unsettled, analysis suggests that growth in the two countries was most robust during periods of state withdrawal from the economy and that current economic difficulties in both countries are now arising from the scale and character of the state's role in both economies. Copyright © 2014 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.






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Malesky, E, and J London (2014). The Political Economy of Development in China and Vietnam. Annual Review of Political Science, 17(1). pp. 395–419. 10.1146/annurev-polisci-041811-150032 Retrieved from

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Edmund Malesky

Professor of Political Science

Malesky is a specialist on Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam. Currently, Malesky's research agenda is very much at the intersection of Comparative and International Political Economy, falling into three major categories: 1) Authoritarian political institutions and their consequences; 2) The political influence of foreign direct investment and multinational corporations; and 3) Political institutions, private business development, and formalization.

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