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The Political Economy of Green Industrial Policies in East Asian Neo-Developmental States



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    The Political Economy of Green Industrial Policies in East Asian Neo-Developmental States

    12. April 2024

    Thomas Kalinowski, Ewha Womans University

    Green industrial policies are at the center of a distinct sustainability transformation process in East Asia, most notably in China, Japan, and South Korea. These East Asian late-capitalist economies differ in many ways but also share strong commonalities that distinguish them from Western capitalist types. On the one hand, they lack Western market-based approaches in developing regulatory standards for emission reduction, environmental standards, energy efficiency as well as in promoting environmentally friendly consumption behavior. On the other hand, the three countries are now taking a leading role in developing green technologies, industries, and exports. In fact, they have been able to occupy crucial parts of the global value chain in green industries and the international political economy of sustainability. Korea and China are leading the world in electric vehicle (EV) technology and of the ten largest EV battery makers five are Chinese, three Korean, and two Japanese. This presentation investigated why the three East Asian countries succeeded in green technology leadership but lack behind in achieving other environmental goals: what are the distinct characteristics that distinguish them from Western market economies and what are the lessons that can be drawn for countries in the Global North and the Global South alike?

    Thomas Kalinowski is professor of political science at the Graduate School of International Studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. He received his doctoral degree in political science from Free University of Berlin in 2004. At Ewha he teaches Global Political Economy, International Organizations, International Environmental Governance, and Sustainable Development. Recent publications include works on the political economy of financial crisis and crisis management, the political economy of climate change, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and sustainable governance. His latest book Why International Cooperation is Failing: How the Clash of Capitalisms Undermines the Regulation of Finance was published by Oxford University Press in 2022. His latest article on the “Green Climate Fund and Private Climate Finance” has just been published in Climate Policy (