In Pursuit of Prosperity

Industrial Policy and the Politics of Economic Upgrading

Subjects: Political Science, Political Economy, Comparative Politics
Paperback : 9780472057467, 264 pages, 2 figures, 3 tables, 6 x 9, July 2025
Hardcover : 9780472077465, 264 pages, 2 figures, 3 tables, 6 x 9, July 2025
Open Access : 9780472905058, 264 pages, 2 figures, 3 tables, 6 x 9, July 2025
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When is economic upgrading successful and when does it fail?

Table of contents

Table of Contents

Abstract and Acknowledgements
Chapter 1: Transformative Relationships – Rethinking Economic Upgrading
Chapter 2: How Can Upgrading be Accomplished? Building the Theory
Chapter 3: Postwar France – Fragmentation and Coherence
Chapter 4: Postwar France –Upgrading in Industry and Agriculture
Chapter 5: India – Upgrading and the ‘Tryst with Destiny’
Chapter 6: India – Party Centralization, State Dominance, and Industrial Policy
Chapter 7: India – Political Change, Multiparty Politics, and Upgrading
Chapter 8: Extending the Argument –  Upgrading Coalitions in the OECD and the United States
Chapter 9: In Pursuit of Prosperity – Concluding Thoughts and Ways Forward


With so many states committed to economic transformation and experts ready to provide technical advice on how to accomplish it, why are outcomes so mixed? In Pursuit of Prosperity examines the process of upgrading—moving to more valuable activities in production, improving technology, knowledge, and skills, and participating in global value chains—and develops a new theory to explain the form and success of national policies designed to promote it. 

With a mixed-methods approach, Charles R. Hankla draws upon archival research and interviews from postwar France and post-independence India as well as quantitative models of the outcomes in sixteen countries across six decades. He finds that the politics of a state affects its ability to improve their economy. When the state and private sectors are aligned in their institutional structures, which happens more commonly in corporatist and pluralist systems, industrial policy tends to be more effective. It is when the state or the private sector independently dominates industrial policy that poor outcomes are most likely. Rather than being fixed characteristics of countries, In Pursuit of Prosperity shows that policymaking styles vary across time and across sectors of the economy, reflecting the changing power dynamics and organizational resources of state and private actors. In doing so, the book sheds light on how industrial policy—which is experiencing a comeback in the United States and beyond—can best be harnessed for upgrading. It offers a valuable contribution to our understanding of the complex relationship between state politics and economic performance in the modern globalized context.

Charles R. Hankla is Professor of Political Science and Director of the International Center for Public Policy at Georgia State University.

In Pursuit of Prosperity should be required reading for teaching and research on Comparative Politics and/or economic development, especially dealing with Western Europe or South Asia. I predict it will be highly cited by scholars. Charles Hankla is well respected in his field. He has a reputation for putting out stellar research, and this book does not disappoint.”

- Mark Zachary Taylor, Georgia Institute of Technology