ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Ha-Joon ChangSubscribe to Ha-Joon Chang

Policy Space in Historical Perspective with Special Reference to Trade and Industrial Policies

Long-range historical records suggest that the policy space a country possesses, exercises enormous influence on its ability to achieve economic development. Once the policy space started shrinking from the 1980s, the average growth rate of developing countries fell to half of what it was in the "bad old days" of import substitution. This shrinking space for developing countries is at the risk of shrinking even further, to the point of making the use of any meaningful policy for economic development impossible. This paper argues that in order to properly address the issue of policy space, we need to critically re-examine the principles that dominate international negotiations, especially in relation to trade and industrial policies. What pass in today's policy negotiations for the principles of a level playing field, special and differential treatment, less-than-full reciprocity, flexibility, and national autonomy are critically examined and their contradictions and limitations exposed.
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