Bureaucratic rationality and the developmental state

Vivek Chibber

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    There has been a resuscitation of the view that the state can play an important role in the industrialization process. But, for states to be successful in fostering development, they need a considerable degree of internal cohesiveness, which is generally supplied by the presence of a robust, Weberian bureaucratic corps. This article argues that, while internal cohesiveness is indeed critical, bureaucratic rule following can produce results in the opposite direction, depending on the interagency relations that obtain within the state. The effect of interagency relations is demonstrated through an examination of India and Korea. Both have worked to foster industrialization, and both are endowed with relatively healthy bureaucracies. However, the Indian state was paralyzed and fragmented, while its Korean counterpart did secure the requisite internal coherence. Not only did the culture of rule following fail to generate a cohesive state in India, but it, in fact, worked against such an outcome.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)951-989
    Number of pages39
    JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jan 2002

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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