Pietro P. Masina is associate professor of Asian history at the University of Naples L’Orientale. He was Secretary (2004-07) and then Chairman (2007-10) of the European Association of Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS). He coordinated and/or participated in a number of EU funded research projects, including more recently SEATIDE. His current research focuses on industrial development strategies in Southeast Asia and their impact on labour. His publications include: Vietnam’s Development Strategies (Routledge, 2006); La Cina alle Nazioni Unite (Carocci, 2012); Il Sud Est Asiatico in Trappola (Nuova Cultura, 2013).

Summary of Project:

An expansion and intensification of the regional division in East and Southeast Asia took place since the mid-1980s (after the Plaza Accord). Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and later on Vietnam, were increasingly integrated in regional production networks on the basis of FDI-led, export-oriented industrialization strategies. The impact of these strategies was different in the different countries and industrial sectors. However, previous research suggests a number of critical elements that require further investigation on a wider regional comparative perspective. First, the involvement in regional production networks gave a more limited contribution than expected to industrial upgrading and structural change. Foreign investors generally replicated their traditional supply chains within new industrial parks in host countries, with a very limited involvement of local firms. Second, in the post-Plaza regime, industrial employment did not result in a permanent movement to industrial centers but remained largely limited to a temporary phase of workers life trajectory.

The proposed research will explore the modalities of industrial diffusion in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam through the study of a selected panel of industrial parks / economic zones. The work will be based on the study of secondary literature, primary data providing key indicators for each park, and interviews with key informants.