Bringing Development Strategy Back In: New Insights from China, South Korea and Singapore

CID Research Fellow & Graduate Student Working Paper No. 134

Karim Sarhan
July 2022

Abstract: This paper examines the economic development experiences of China, South Korea and Singapore from the lens of strategy. It attempts to answer the following question: can countries’ economic success be attributed, even partially, to a well-designed and effectively implemented development strategy? The paper presents a framework for what I term “Grand Strategy of Development”. It is the overall direction that a country takes to achieve economic development, and it provides the big picture reference, guidance, and direction for the development policies and plans of the country. It consists of four elements: economic objective, development strategy, tactics, and operations. Alignment and consistency between the four elements of Grand Strategy of Development are critical for countries’ development outcomes. Each of the studied countries pursued a different Grand Strategy of Development. Hence, Grand Strategy of Development is context specific. It must fit with the local context and development phase of each country.