Working Paper
Aid and Development in Taiwan, South Korea, and South Vietnam

The aim of this paper is to explain the divergent developmental outcomes between South Korea, Taiwan, and South Vietnam. Whilst US aid has correctly been cited as key factor in explaining the rapid post-war development of South Korea and Taiwan, the ultimate failure to establish strong institutions in South Vietnam calls for a closer analysis of how differing historical and geopolitical factors explain the greater political stability and absorptive capacity of South Korea and Taiwan. In particular, divergent colonial legacies as well changing US policies towards land reform played a key role in the South Vietnamese state’s failure to quell internal opposition.