SEZs and Economic Transformation: Towards a Developmental Approach

21 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020

Date Written: September 2, 2019


This study presents a three-pillared analytical framework for the success factors and development outcomes of special economic zones (SEZs). The core argument is that countries that adopt a well-structured approach towards SEZs that they can align with the broader development strategy, executive effectively, and continuously evaluate and manoeuvre over time, are more successful in achieving SEZ-led economic transformation than others. This requires strategic bureaucratic competencies to make the right choices and set clear strategic directions; strategic bureaucratic learning to dynamically and interactively engage in adjusting the strategies when needed; and strategic bureaucratic strengths to implement the strategy effectively. These elements in turn need an effective political leadership with a strong development focus that can energise and motivate bureaucracies. The study revisits the experience of successful, not-so-successful and least successful countries across the globe within this framework and concludes by raising some pertinent concerns about SEZ-led development strategy that emerge from the analysis.

Keywords: Special economic zones, economic transformation, conceptual framework, political will, bureaucratic capabilities, developmental state

JEL Classification: E02, O1, O2, F1

Suggested Citation

Aggarwal, Aradhana, SEZs and Economic Transformation: Towards a Developmental Approach (September 2, 2019). Transnational Corporations Journal, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2019, Available at SSRN:

Aradhana Aggarwal (Contact Author)

University of Delhi ( email )

New Dehli

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics