Kuo's work is a model of conceptual clarity: he considers three types of economic regimes: laissez-faire, clientelism, and corporatism as applied to the two countries in question. . . . The detailed individual chapters on the textile industry, the electronics industry, and the plywood industry in both countries contain much valuable information.
Kuo contrasts the economic evolutions of Taiwan and the Philippines as the product of government and industry relations. The two nations shared many economic similarities-yet Taiwan moved from clientelism to state corporatism, while in the Philippines clientelism remains deeply entrenched.Kuo's case studies in the textile, plywood, and electronics industries support these general arguments. He finds that clientelism invariably leads to economic problems, while a laissez-faire approach is unpredictable. The best formula for industrial success in a developing nation is close cooperation between business and government.
Kuo's book has blown a breath of badly needed fresh air into the increasingly stale debate on the determinants of East Asian economic dynamism. . . . Using a skillfully crafted comparative analysis, Kuo has built an alternative, convincing institutional explanation for the differential industrial performance of Taiwan and the Philippines.
One of the many strengths of Kuo's book is the fascinating historical detail he provides on three industries: textiles and apparel, plywood and electronics; these are among the best sectoral case studies we have of the NICs.