Rodrik argues industrial policy was never dead! Successful economies always used it.
The World Bank’s chief economist, Justin Lin, openly supports it to speed up structural change in developing nations. McKinsey is advising governments on how to do it right.
Industrial policy is back.
In fact, industrial policy never went out of fashion. Economists enamored of the neo-liberal
Washington Consensus may have written it off, but successful economies have always relied on government policies that promote growth by accelerating structural transformation.
The shift toward embracing industrial policy is therefore a welcome acknowledgement of what sensible analysts of economic growth have always known: developing new industries often requires a nudge from government. The nudge can take the form of subsidies, loans, infrastructure, and other kinds of support. But scratch the surface of any new successful industry anywhere, and more likely than not you will find government assistance lurking beneath.