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Room G01, Central House, UCL, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London WC1H 0NN

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Speaker: Henry Wai-chung Yeung (PhD Manchester)

Abstract

Based on my recent book with Cornell University Press, Strategic Coupling, I examine economic development and state-firm relations in East Asia, focusing on the region's emerging role in the new global economy. Much of the earlier social science literature on the political economy of industrial transformation has emphasized the role of the developmental state in picking selected domestic firms as “national champions” and in promoting their rapid growth through sectoral industrial policy. Drawing upon my empirical research on South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, I argue that production network-level dynamics and firm-specific initiatives are more critical to the successful industrial transformation of these East Asian economies in the contemporary era. This key mechanism of strategic coupling with global production networks offers a dynamic conception of state-firm relations in the changing context of global economic governance in East Asia.

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Henry Wai-chung Yeung (PhD Manchester) is Provost’s Chair and Professor of Economic Geography at the National University of Singapore, Co-Director of the Global Production Networks Centre (GPN@NUS), and Director of the JY Pillay Comparative Asia Research Centre in the NUS Global Asia Institute. He is Principal Investigator of a S$4.95 million strategic grant awarded by the National University of Singapore to establish the GPN@NUS Centre. His research interests cover economic globalization, global production networks, East Asian firms, and the political economy of development. He was a recipient of the NUS Outstanding University Researcher Award (1998) and Outstanding Researcher Award (2008). His latest monographs are Strategic Coupling: East Asian Industrial Transformation in the New Global Economy (Cornell Studies in Political Economy Series, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, May 2016) and Global Production Networks: Theorizing Economic Development in an Interconnected World (with Neil Coe, Oxford University Press, Oxford, April 2015). His previous authored books are: Transnational Corporations and Business Networks (Routledge, 1998), Entrepreneurship and the Internationalisation of Asian Firms (Edward Elgar, 2002), and Chinese Capitalism in a Global Era (Routledge, 2004). He is also co-author of Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction (with Neil Coe and Phil Kelly, Wiley, 2007/2013). He has published another 7 edited books, over 92 academic journal articles, and 45 book chapters. He is Editor of two top journals in Geography – Environment and Planning A and Economic Geography and Past Editor of Review of International Political Economy (2004-2013), and serves on the editorial boards of 20 other international journals, including Asia Pacific Viewpoint, East Asia: An International Quarterly, European Journal of Development Research, Journal of Comparative Asian Development, Journal of Economic Geography, and Journal of International Business Studies.

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