Southeast Asia’s Democratic Developmental States and Economic Growth

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Michael T. Rock


How has democracy impacted growth in Southeast Asia? This question can be answered by demonstrating how political elites in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand crafted quite unique democratic developmental states that enabled them to provide the public goods and public policies to maintain high growth. Because of this, growth under democracy has been as high as it was during the heyday of these polities’ developmental autocracies. Moreover, as there was no single dominant pathway to the construction of democratic development in these polities, it looks like political elites were able to take local conditions and history into account suggesting that political elites have been as effective in selectively intervening in the structure of democratic politics as they have been in intervening in the economy


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