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30 Years of economics for development
Event name
UNU-WIDER, UNU-MERIT and UNIDO International Workshop on Pathways to Industrialization in the 21st Century: New Challenges and Emerging Paradigms
(UNU-MERIT) Maastricht, The Netherlands
22 October 2009 - 23 October 2009
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Has the path to development through industrialization as we know it been exhausted? Or is the world at the dawn of a new era in industrialization and development?

These are some of the questions that this two-day workshop aims to address. With the world in financial and economic crisis and manufacturing collapsing in many countries it is clearly urgent to brainstorm the challenges facing developing countries in this regard. Some, like China, have achieved marked success in industrialization but now face new challenges such as technological upgrading and innovation, environmental sustainability and dealing with climate change. Others, being latecomers to industrialization, may very well find that copying past industrialization strategies may bring more risk, may not have the desired impact on poverty, may exacerbate inequality, and may require a trade-off in terms of development focus.

Consequently, ushering in a new era in industrialization requires radically new approaches: from governments, entrepreneurs and international development organizations. This workshop will explore these new approaches. The workshop will consist of presentations by invited keynote speakers, as well as contributed papers.



  • How could (or should) the challenges posed by the present global economic environment shape the emergence of new technological and industrial paradigms?
  • How is the nature of industrialization changing, and is it still an engine of growth?
  • Is there still a role for strategic industrial policy?
  • What can be learned from past successes and failures in industrial development? Can other countries’ experiences — e.g. China’s be copied?
  • Is China’s industrial development an obstacle to industrialization in other developing countries?
  • Is the nature of structural economic transformation which characterised the 20th century changing, and what does it imply for industrial development?
  • Is the widespread availability of natural resources going to be a blessing or a curse for industrial development in the coming years?
  • How mobile is manufacturing in reality and how will manufacturing (re) locate during the 21st century?
  • Will spatial clustering and economic geography become more or less important in future?
  • Are the boundaries between manufacturing and services disappearing? What are the new forms of interaction between industrial and services sectors?



  • Are ‘captains of industry’ still needed?
  • What is the relationship between entrepreneurs and the state in industrial development? What can we learn from China and India in this regard?
  • What are the broad institutional and societal frameworks required for the creation of new and the growth of existing firms in latecomer industrialisation?
  • How can we measure the type of entrepreneurial activity most needed for industrial success?
  • How does international entrepreneurship impact on industrialization?
  • What are the relationships (and balance) needed between entrepreneurs, managers and financiers in successful industrialization? And how will these relationships change with new challenges?
  • How can governments and international organisations support entrepreneurship and firm entry in the context of globalization?



  • How can eco-innovation orient industrialization towards environmentally more sustainable patterns of production?
  • Is rapid industrialization compatible with sustainable development?
  • Are some industrialization paths more energy efficient than others?
  • Can industrial development generate the jobs necessary to absorb the growing developing country population? Will these jobs lift people out of poverty?
  • What is the current role of innovation, technological learning and investment in promoting industrial development?
  • What challenges does technological innovation pose to traditional and high tech industrial sectors?
  • What is the role of innovation systems in industrialisation and what are the implications for industrialisation strategies and policies?


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