East Asia’s new developmentalism: state capacity, climate change and low-carbon development

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This paper argues that to understand the relevance of developmental states in East Asia and elsewhere, we need to focus on the changing development agenda in the early twenty-first century, especially how this connects with the global challenge of climate change and thereby sustainable, low-carbon development. It combines theories on state capacity and ecological modernisation to form the ‘new developmentalism’ concept. This is applied to study revitalised and refocused forms of state capacity aimed at realising the transformative economic objectives associated with sustainable development. New developmentalism helps us understand not only current state capacity practice in a climate challenged world but also how we have moved beyond original conceptions of developmental statism. It may be understood in the wider context of the sustainable development agenda and climate interventionism. As is argued, new developmentalism is most clearly evident in East Asia but can be applied in a wider geographic sense where strong forms of developmental state capacity are exercised towards meeting transformative sustainable development goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1210
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number6
Early online date10 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Nov 2017


  • Developmental states
  • state capacity
  • ecological modernisationEast Asia
  • new developmentalism


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