Working Paper
State–market–society alliance

The evolving nature of the '21st century developmental state'

While mainstream economics since the 1980s has been largely characterized by neo-liberal ideology, the past decade witnessed the rise of nationalism and protectionist policies globally. The latest COVID-19 pandemic has further refocused attention on the crucial roles played by effective states in protecting public welfare and a working economy.

This literature review traces the ‘developmental state’ paradigm as it evolved from the classical developmental state model into the 21st-century developmental state. This paper outlines three main areas of enquiry: What are the key tenets of a developmental state? Why is a state developmental? How can effective economic development be achieved through policy-making?

Central to the developmentalist literature is the relationship between the state, the market, and society in pursuit of economic development through industrial policies. This remains an important field of study particularly as the pandemic threatens to usher in a rise of authoritarian surveillance states.