Building One’s Own Ladder: The Case of China’s Path of State-Assisted Development


  • David Castrillón-Kerrigan Universidad Externado de Colombia

Palabras clave:

State-assisted development, kicking away the ladder, China, infant industry


Recent US administrations have criticized China for taking a path of development marked by allegedly unfair methods of state assistance to the industrial sector. This article sets out to understand if such support is unusual in the light of the very historical experience of development of countries like the United States. The article carries out its analysis through the lens of Ha-joon Chang’s argument on kicking away the ladder, which posits that all developed countries have become so thanks to the ladder of state-assisted development; it argues further that, once they have reached such heights, they have kicked down the ladder for others, falsely peddling the alleged virtues of free markets. An initial review of recent US actions and Chinese history finds that both have followed the path of state-assisted development, making this a less than unusual strategy for development for other countries.


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Cómo citar

Castrillón-Kerrigan, D. (2022). Building One’s Own Ladder: The Case of China’s Path of State-Assisted Development. Economía & Región, 14(2), 15–27. Recuperado a partir de