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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $30.50

400 pp.
203 mm x 137 mm


Publication date:
March 1981

Imprint: OUP US

Asia's Next Giant

South Korea and Late Industrialization

Alice H. Amsden

South Korea has been quietly growing into a major economic force that is even challenging some Japanese industries. This timely book examines South Korean growth as an example of "late industrialization," a process in which a nation's industries learn from earlier innovator nations, rather than innovate themselves. Discussing state intervention, shop floor management, and big business groups, Amsden explores the reasons for South Korea's phenomenal growth, paying special attention to the principle of reciprocity in which the government imposes strict performance standards on those industries and companies that it aids. She thereby shows how South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan were able to grow faster than other emerging nations such as Brazil, Turkey, India, and Mexico.
With its new insights, Asia's Next Giant is essential reading for anyone concerned with global competition and the world economy.


  • "Her findings--supported by a look at several major industries--not only give a new picture of Korea but challenge much conventional economic teaching about development."--Foreign Affairs
  • "By informatively examining Korea's industrialization in both a comparative and an historical context, it isolates central features that uniquely characterize contemporary industrialization in a way that few other monographs have....This book is definitely on my shortest lists of essential readings about Korean development and about the process of industrialization more generally."--Journal of Economic Literature
  • "Amsden's work is well researched, highly stimulating. Indeed this is a seminal book, not just about modern Korea, but containing valuable lessons for other developing countries, and indeed for the already rich industrialized world now threatened by Korean competition."--Financial Times
  • "A thorough and thought provoking disquisition."--Pacific Review
  • "Adds a new chapter to the field of development economics by providing a systematic and comprehensive analysis of what she calls 'late industrialization as learning.'...Not withstanding her admirable scholarship, she is also a fascinating storyteller of a newly industrialized country. A highly recommended book for anyone who is interested in the industrialization process of later developing countries."--Choice
  • "The book is impressive, one of the best to date on South Korean industrialization."--American Journal of Sociology
  • "Amsden's seminal book explains the dynamic tension, crucial to Ssouth Korea's studding economic development, between the state and business."--Far Eastern Economic Review
  • "Amsden provides a particularly textured analysis of the consequences of shop floor strategies, transcending the usually mystifying verites of neoclassical eonomists observing South Korea's unregulated labor markets."--Science and Society
  • "The first full analysis of South Korean industrialization to appear, Amsden's book is a major achievement. Drawing upon broad theories of political economy that go far beyond the usual orthodoxy, she shows how a complex process of learning from abroad, combined with effective state intervention, has brought one new industry after another to world competitiveness and made South Korea our best example in the recent period of 'late' industrialization."--Bruce Cumings, University of Chicago
  • "With so much already written on South Korea's extraordinary record of industrialization, the solid achievement of Alice Amsden's book is to have added an altogether fresh dimension to the story....Her unusual ability to see the process through the eyes of an expert both in production management and in industrial organization generates some rare insights on this fascinating case."--Raymond Vernon, Harvard University
  • "Alice Amsden's brilliant study of Korean industrialization is important for two reasons. First, Korea is one of the most successful cases of intentional economic development in human history. Second, Amsden throws new light on the intellectual crises of the Western World in understanding Pacific economic dynamism. Her chapter on 'Getting Relative Prices "Wrong"' should be required reading for all economists before they are allowed to testify before Congress."--Chalmers Johnson, University of California, San Diego
  • "A wonderfully comprehensive book. The conventional analysis of savings, investment and growth is there, though presented in much more lively fashion than in most such accounts. But the unusual contribution is Amsden's acute analysis of what 'late industrialization as learning' is all about, what it means in terms of the nuts-and-bolts skills and social relations on the shop floor. It is a book which sociologists can learn from as much as economists."--Ronald Dore, Harvard University
  • "No other book that I know analyzes so systematically and intelligently the historical significance of large scale industrial enterprises in late industrialization."--Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Harvard University
  • "Alice Amsden's book provides a new institutional analysis of the state in late industrialization that is relevant for diverse developing countries. The challenge it poses to free market theory is grounded at both macro- and micro-economic levels."--Lance Taylor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • "Thanks to studies like Alice Amsden's, development economics is rising again as an exciting field of inquiry. The hallmark of Amsden's analysis of Korean developments and of other recent studies is recognition that successful economic development must be examined in terms of just how the late developer learned to employ effectively the technologies and organizational forms used in advanced countries, and in turn that these processes must be understood as strongly molded by the particular cultural, social, and political context. This book is a significant contribution, both to the new writings on economic development, and to the rapidly expanding literature on how Korea has done it."--Richard R. Nelson, Columbia University
  • "Professor Amsden's book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the story of South Korea's emergence as an industrial power--and the story is a truly remarkable one."--Nathan Rosenberg, Stanford University
  • "A remarkable achievement....The book will serve as a landmark in future research on Korea."--The Journal of Development Studies
  • "This book is both provocative and informative. I recommend it highly to those interested in economic growth in the recently industrializing countries, to planners from underdeveloped countries, and to re-industrialization analysts."--dministrative Science Quarterly
  • "By far the best account of Korea's economic development. Theoretically provocative, and the details of Korean development are excellent."--Eun Mee Kim, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • "In a field plauged by stale thinking Asia's Next Giant stands out as wonderfully original, powered by a militant, epigrammatic intelligence....Amsden is surely right to highlight the synergy between state industrial policies and the strategies of diversified business groups, and she has conceptualized this synergy in a promising new way."--Robert Wade, World Politics

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Alice H. Amsden is Professor of Economics on the Graduate Faulty of The New School for Social Research.

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