by Donatella Saccone, University of Turin


The Workshop "Why do some economies emerge while others do not?", organized by OEET, was held in Torino on May 15-16, 2017. Following the spirit of the 5th number of ‘Emerging Economies’ (Notes on the Concept of Emerging Economies,, the workshop intended to launch a first scientific debate on this theme and collect some contributions aiming to define such economies from a conceptual and historical point of view. The purpose was to try to answer the title question starting from an easily observable fact, pointed out by OEET in several other occasions: the concept of emerging economies, largely used in the economic literature since the ’80s, has been often adopted without referring to a precise definition. Indeed, apart from some selected attempts, international organizations, academic scholars and financial analysts have seldom tried to define what they mean by the term ‘emerging economy’.


During the workshop, scholars’ speeches focused on two main research streams. First, they conceptually discussed the definition of emerging economies and the related measurement issues. Here is where Jan Priewe’s contribution, reported in this number of ‘Emerging Economies’, lies. Priewe indeed criticizes the old international classification system of countries and proposes new guidelines to categorize them. The second stream of research, characterized by a more historical approach, debated the identification of processes that lead to the economic emergence of some countries and to the failure of others, presenting a series of meaningful case studies. In this regard, we report here three comparative analyses. Giovanni Andrea Cornia contributes to the debate about the low -level equilibrium poverty traps by comparing a success story – Bangladesh’s take-off – to a ‘failure story’, i.e. the economic and social stagnation of Niger, and discussing the main factors explaining this divergence. Michele Boario compares Myanmar’s economic conditions to two emerging economies – Vietnam and Thailand- concluding that Myanmar seems on the right path to follow the success stories of its two Asian neighbors. Vittorio Valli highlights similarities and differences between the development paths of South Korea, now a fully emerged economy, and Indonesia, one of the world major emerging economies.
Finally, the workshop hosted the round table ‘Italy meets India, India meets Italy: corporate strategies’, with the aim to discuss experiences, opportunities and challenges faced by Italian companies in India and by Indian companies in Italy. We summarize here the presentations of two speakers: Stefano Namari, Cornaglia’s consultant for businesses and corporations, and Luca Pignatelli, Head of the Centre of Economic Studies, Unione Industriale Torino (this last summary is reported in Italian for Italian firms and economic operators, but it is available in English upon request).

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