Institutional Variety in East Asia

Institutional Variety in East Asia

Formal and Informal Patterns of Coordination

New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series

Edited by Werner Pascha, Cornelia Storz and Markus Taube

This illuminating book broadly addresses the emerging field of ‘diversity of capitalism’ from a comparative institutional approach. It explores the varied patterns for achieving coordination in different economic systems, applying them specifically to China, Japan and South Korea. These countries are of particular interest due to the fact that they are often considered to have developed their own peculiar blend of models of capitalism.

Chapter 6: Institutions and Organizations in Korea’s Upstream Innovation Governance: A Search for Adaptive Efficiency?

Dominik F. Schlossstein

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, economics and finance, asian economics, economics of innovation, institutional economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


* Dominik F. Schlossstein 6.1 INTRODUCTION Institutional dynamics have often been cited in response to the challenging question of why East Asian countries were able to grow so rapidly since the 1960s. While the erroneous neoclassical notion of their governments being hands-off has meanwhile been dispelled, the search for a more general theory of institutional change taking account of the particularities of East Asian countries is still under way. The precise causes and mechanisms of this startling advance are subject to an ongoing academic debate, dwelling in particular on the role of the state in this context (Amsden 1989; Krugman 1994). Most scholars would subscribe to the notion that a set of well-defined science, technology and innovation (STI) policies – suited to the specific needs of a late industrializing country – have underpinned that growth in a very significant fashion.1 Insights from development economics pointed to a formidable role of government and inspired conjectures to open the black box of policymaking that was hitherto taken as a given (Evans 1992; World Bank 1993). Institutional analysis, especially the interplay and effects of formal and informal constraints (‘the rules of the game’) proposed by Douglass North (1981, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994), lends the right tools to study the policy process and provides promising clues to a better understanding of policy reform processes in the field of science, technology and innovation policies. As Ahrens (Ahrens 2002a: 10) puts it: This new line of thinking seeks to bring politics back in and to overcome the apparent dichotomy...

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