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Vietnamese industrial development: following Washington on the road to Beijing

Marco Rodolfo Di Tommaso (Dipartimento di Economia e Management, Universita degli Studi di Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)
Antonio Angelino (Dipartimento di Economia e Management, Universita degli Studi di Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 1 March 2019

Issue publication date: 12 February 2021




The purpose of this paper is to explore the main features of the Vietnamese economic transition and industrial development pattern analyzing the evolution of the industrial policy formulation in the light of the changes in the country’s productive specialization and competitive position in the international division of labor. The authors also aim at stressing the role exerted by different external paradigm of influence on the Vietnamese policy making and the function of selectivity as an instrument to upgrade the competitiveness of the Vietnamese production system.


The paper provides a descriptive analysis of the Vietnamese recent economic trends and structural transformation dynamics. It realizes a literature review concerning the academic debate on the role and the effects of industrial policy in Vietnam identifying a categorization between different theoretical perspectives. In addition, it implements an in-depth analysis of the main industrial planning strategies promoted by the government investigating the evolution of the lines of the country’s economic policy agenda. On the basis of the previous analyses, the paper draws out some conclusions about the application of selective criteria in Vietnamese industrial policy interventions.


An in-depth examination of the planning prescriptions suggests that the Vietnamese government has undertaken a pronounced paradigm change in the course of last 15 years. The Vietnamese planning approach displays a shift toward a systematic and extended vision concerning the role of industrial policy, which result to be in clear discontinuity with respect to the market-friendly approach supported by Washington institutions. Nevertheless, this configuration outlines several limits characterizing the Vietnamese planning activity, connected to the lack of transparency and efficiency of the governance mechanisms that risk to undermine the effectiveness of the upgrading policies.


The paper focuses on Vietnam, an emerging economy in transition whose development trajectory has been characterized by peculiar economic and policy dynamics. The hybrid character of the government policy-making approach makes it difficult to identify univocal interpretations concerning the country’s industrial development dynamics and the resulting policy implications. In this perspective, the analysis has shed light on the mechanisms conditioning the formulation of industrial policy in Vietnam, focusing on the external influences exerted on its definition and on the domestic interactions associated to its implementation.



Di Tommaso, M.R. and Angelino, A. (2021), "Vietnamese industrial development: following Washington on the road to Beijing", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 241-263.



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