Embedded Autonomy

States and Industrial Transformation

by

In recent years, debate on the state's economic role has too often devolved into diatribes against intervention. Peter Evans questions such simplistic views, offering a new vision of why state involvement works in some cases and produces disasters in others. To illustrate, he looks at how state agencies, local entrepreneurs, and transnational corporations shaped the emergence of computer industries in Brazil, India, and Korea during the seventies and eighties.


Evans starts with the idea that states vary in the way they are organized and tied to society. In some nations, like Zaire, the state is predatory, ruthlessly extracting and providing nothing of value in return. In others, like Korea, it is developmental, promoting industrial transformation. In still others, like Brazil and India, it is in between, sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Evans's years of comparative research on the successes and failures of state involvement in the process of industrialization have here been crafted into a persuasive and entertaining work, which demonstrates that successful state action requires an understanding of its own limits, a realistic relationship to the global economy, and the combination of coherent internal organization and close links to society that Evans called "embedded autonomy."

  • Princeton University Press; January 2012
  • ISBN 9781400821723
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: Embedded Autonomy
  • Author: Peter B. Evans
  • Imprint: Princeton University Press

In The Press

"Among the many studies of the state's role in promoting social and economic progress, Peter Evans's new book stands out for its theoretical and historical depth, for its wealth of institutional and technical data, and above all for its ability to recognize and acknowledge complexity. Between the polar opposites of the `developmental' and the `predatory' state, Evans inserts a rich variety of intermediate and frequently shifting configurations. In a masterful survey of the computer industries in Brazil, India, and Korea, he convinces the reader that the more successful policies have resulted from implausible and surprising institutional innovations that were far removed from available ideological recipes. A major and mature accomplishment."—Albert O. Hirschman, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

About The Author

Peter Evans, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Dependent Development: The Alliance of Multinational State and Local Capital in Brazil (Princeton).