Marching to the beat of a late drummer: Turkey's experience of neoliberal industrialization since 1980


NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY, no.47, pp.83-113, 2012 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s0896634600001710
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.83-113
  • Keywords: Industrialization, structural change, industrial policy, productivity decomposition, neoliberalism
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The paper discusses the main characteristics of Turkey's experience of neoliberal industrialization since 1980. We suggest that Turkey has been a "successful follower" in the sense that it has achieved structural transformation in manufacturing output and exports, while its mode of articulation with the global economy has remained intact. To follow our premise, we first provide a comparative overview of the dynamics of growth, productivity, employment and trade in the post-1980 period. We focus on the manufacturing industry because it has evolved as the leading sector in the restructuring of the economy away from domestic demand-oriented import substitution towards export orientation and integration with global production networks. To analyze the direction of structural change in a comparative perspective, we also offer a synopsis of divergent patterns of development in Turkey and Korea. Our brief comparison emphasizes that, while Korea has rapidly changed the structure of its industry and mode of articulation with the world economy with the sense of direction provided by a pro-active state and a far-reaching industrial policy, Turkey has remained a follower ever trying to reach its moving target.