Dismantling Japanese Developmentalism

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Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Friday, September 22, 20172:00PM - 4:00PMMassey College
University of Toronto
4 Devonshire Place
Upper Library
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JAPAN NOW Lecture Series



Japan’s combination of economic success and conservative dominance from the 1950s into the early 1990s was the consequence of what Pempel calls “developmentalism.” The term involves more than the well-studied ‘developmental state.’ Most particularly, the Japanese success story relied on a specific and unusual socio-economic alignment; a positive sum relationship between state direction and corporate creativity; and Japan’s Cold War security and economic partnership with the United States. The combination unleashed a positive cycle of economic development and conservative political strength.

Japan’s positive cycle was challenged by two external changes: first, the breakdown in diplomatic and security bipolarity that began with the Nixon visits to China and the Deng economic reforms; and second, the challenges from increased power of global finance and multinational production networks. These external global shifts undercut the Japan’s prevailing model and opened the challenge to find a suitable substitute. That search has continued for over twenty years resulting in some successes and many false starts. Professor Pempel’s talk will examine the relationship between this more complete understanding of developmentalism as the roots of Japan’s early successes and the subsequent difficulties of finding its adequate replacement.

Biographical Sketch

T.J. Pempel is Jack M. Forcey Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on Japan’s political economy, economic and security issues in East Asia, and Asian regionalism. His most recent book with Keiichi Tsunekawa is “Two Crises, Different Outcomes: East Asia and Global Finance” (Cornell University Press).


Eileen Lam


T. J. Pempel
Jack M. Forcey Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

Louis Pauly
J. Stefan Dupré Distinguished Professor of Political Economy, Interim Director, Centre for the Study of Global Japan, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Centre for the Study of Global Japan


Consulate General of Japan

Asian Institute


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