State-Directed Development

Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery

State-Directed Development

Why have some developing countries industrialized and become more prosperous rapidly while others have not? Focusing on South Korea, Brazil, India, and Nigeria, this study compares the characteristics of fairly functioning states and explains why states in some parts of the developing world are more effective. It emphasizes the role of colonialism in leaving behind more or less effective states, and the relationship of these states with business and labor in helping explain comparative success in promoting economic progress.


"Elegantly written and impeccably argued, this book superbly summarizes and synthesizes the major works on the role of states in development. This is an insightful, thought-provoking volume. Highly recommended." - CHOICE May 2005

"This is a systematic, clear and informative piece of comparative research that should be read by academics and policymakers interested in understanding the roles of different types of states as accelerators and hinderers of development." - Pacific Affairs

'Kohli's provocative book rehabilitates the state in face of claims that state sovereignty has declined as a result of globalization. Reviewing the comparative capacity of four states in this admirably grounded project he demonstrates that markets, liberty and security require a strong state. Bringing history back in, he argues that the differences in state capacity of Brazil, India, Nigeria and Korea have been shaped by their distinct colonial experiences.' Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, University of Chicago

'This book amounts to a head-on challenge to what John Stuart Mill once called "the deep slumber of a decided opinion", the opinion that the developing country state should focus on alleviating poverty and providing a market-friendly framework for the private sector. Kohli argues that fast economic growth is unlikely without a more forceful kind of state intervention in support of investor profits, and he illuminates the institutional characteristics of the state that are likely to make such intervention effective-or not. Subsequent research on the political economy of growth will have to take this as a touchstone.' Robert Hunter Wade, London School of Economics

'Atul Kohli's book is a magnificent achievement. it should be read by all students of the development process …'. Journal of Latin American Studies


Winner, Charles H. Levine Award of the Structure & Organization of Government Committee of the International Political Science Association
Honorable Mention, 2005 Mattei Dogan Award of the Society for Comparative Research
CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2006