UK Competitiveness Policy vs. Japanese Industrial Policy

This paper first argues that if industrial policy toolds are defined as 'state measures designed primarily to affect the allocation of resources between economic activities, rather than the provision of the appropriate environment for making all industries prosper', then what is generally referred to as 'Japanese industrial policy' belongs to the distant past. Japanese industrial policy has not only varied over the post-war period, but today bears no resemblance to what it continues to be characterised as. Second, while many people are preaching the adoption of Japanese-style industrial policy, meaning the targeting of high growth 'sunrise' industries, the Japanese themselves have been 'going British', emphasising privatisation and deregulation. The third point is that those who would like their governments to emulate the Japanese example of targeting high growth industries are in for a real surprise. The hard evidence does not appear to support the claim of Japanese success in this field: the supposedly targeted industries do not seem to have received as much support as the low growth sectors. The paper concludes by turning to the UK and certain claims by the last UK government about the success of its competitiveness policy.

  • Authors: Ali M. El-Agraa
  • Year: 1997
  • Organisation: JSTOR
  • Publisher: Royal Economic Society
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