Ha-Joon Chang

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Ha-Joon Chang
Ha-Joon Chang profile.jpg
Ha-Joon Chang at the Institute for Public Policy Research on 10 October 2011
Born (1963-10-07) 7 October 1963 (age 53)[1]
Seoul, South Korea[2]
Nationality South Korean
Institution University of Cambridge
Field Development economics
School or
Institutional economics
Alma mater Seoul National University, University of Cambridge
Influences Robert Rowthorn
Awards Gunnar Myrdal Prize 2003, Wassily Leontief Prize 2005
Information at IDEAS / RePEc
Korean name
Revised Romanization Jang Hajun
McCune–Reischauer Chang Hachun
Korean pronunciation: [tɕaŋɦadʑun]

Ha-Joon Chang (Hangul장하준; Hanja張夏准; born 7 October 1963) is a South Korean institutional economist specialising in development economics. Currently a reader in the Political Economy of Development at the University of Cambridge, Chang is the author of several widely discussed policy books, most notably Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective (2002).[3][4][5] In 2013 Prospect magazine ranked Chang as one of the top 20 World Thinkers.[6]

He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, as well as to Oxfam[7] and various United Nations agencies.[8] He is also a fellow at the Center for Economic and Policy Research[9] in Washington, D.C. In addition, Chang serves on the advisory board of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP).

Chang is also known for being an important academic influence on the economist Rafael Correa, the former President of Ecuador.[10][11][12]


After graduating from Seoul National University Department of Economics, he studied at the University of Cambridge, earning a PhD for his thesis entitled The political economy of industrial policy – reflections on the role of state intervention in 1991. Chang's contribution to heterodox economics started while studying under Robert Rowthorn, a leading British Marxist economist,[13] with whom he worked on the elaboration of the theory of industrial policy, which he described as a middle way between central planning and unrestrained free market. His work in this area is part of a broader approach to economics known as institutionalist political economy which places economic history and socio-political factors at the centre of the evolution of economic practices.[14]


In his book Kicking Away the Ladder (which won the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy's 2003 Gunnar Myrdal Prize), Chang argued that all major developed countries used interventionist economic policies in order to get rich and then tried to forbid other countries from doing similarly. The World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund come in for strong criticism from Chang for "ladder-kicking" of this type which, he argues, are the fundamental obstacle to poverty alleviation in the developing world. This and other work led to his being awarded the 2005 Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought from the Global Development and Environment Institute (previous prize-winners include Amartya Sen, John Kenneth Galbraith, Herman Daly, Alice Amsden and Robert Wade).[15][16]

The book's methodology was criticized by Douglas Irwin, Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College and author of a 2011 study of the Smoot–Hawley tariff,[17] writing on the website of the Economic History Association:

Chang only looks at countries that developed during the nineteenth century and a small number of the policies they pursued. He did not examine countries that failed to develop in the nineteenth century and see if they pursued the same heterodox policies only more intensively. This is a poor scientific and historical method. Suppose a doctor studied people with long lives and found that some smoked tobacco, but did not study people with shorter lives to see if smoking was even more prevalent. Any conclusions drawn only from the observed relationship would be quite misleading.[18]

In contrast, Stanley Engerman, Professor of Economic History at Rochester University praised Chang's approach:

Ha-Joon Chang has examined a large body of historical material to reach some very interesting and important conclusions about institutions and economic development. Not only is the historical picture re-examined, but Chang uses this to argue the need for a changing attitude to the institutions desired in today's developing nations. Both as historical reinterpretation and policy advocacy, "Kicking Away the Ladder?" deserves a wide audience among economists, historians, and members of the policy establishment.[19]

Following up on the ideas of Kicking Away the Ladder, Chang published Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism in December 2008.[20] Chang countered Irwin's criticisms by arguing that countries that had failed to develop had generally followed free market policies. Chang also argued that while state interventionism sometimes produced economic failures, it had a better record than unregulated free market economies which, he maintained, very rarely succeeded in producing economic development. He cited evidence that GDP growth in developing countries had been higher prior to external pressures recommending deregulation and extended his analysis to the failures of free trade to induce growth through privatisation and anti-inflationary policies. Chang's book won plaudits from Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz for its fresh insight and effective blend of contemporary and historical cases but was criticised by former World Bank economist William Easterly, who said that Chang used selective evidence in his book. Chang responded to Easterly's criticisms, asserting that Easterly misread his argument. Easterly in turn provided a counter-reply.[21][22][23]

Chang's 2014 book, Economics: The User's Guide, is an introduction to economics, accessibly written for the general public.[24] It is the first title in Penguin's revived new Pelican Books series.



Papers and articles[edit]

Personal life[edit]

He is son of former minister of industry and resources, Chang Jae-sik, brother of historian and philosopher of science, Hasok Chang, and cousin of prominent economist and professor at Korea University, Chang Ha-Seong. He lives in Cambridge with wife, Hee-Jeong Kim, and two children, Yuna, and Jin-Gyu.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CV
  2. ^ Chang, H-J, 2007, Bad Samaritans: The Guilty Secrets of Rich Nations and the Threat to Global Prosperity, London: Random House Books, p. 4
  3. ^ "Ha-Joon Chang's home page". University of Cambridge. 19 Oct 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  4. ^ "Article summarising 'Kicking Away the Ladder' book". Post-Autistic Economics Review. 14 Sep 2002. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  5. ^ "A paper by Chang summarising much of 'Kicking Away the Ladder'". Foreign Policy In Focus. April 2003. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  6. ^ "World Thinkers 2013". Prospect Magazine. 
  7. ^ Ha-Joon Chang (November 2005). "Why Developing Countries Need Tariffs? How WTO NAMA Negotiations Could Deny Developing Countries’ Right To A Future" (PDF). Oxfam International/South Centre. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  8. ^ Ha-Joon Chang (July 2006). "Understanding the Relationship between Institutions and Economic Development: Some Key Theoretical Issues" (PDF). The World Institute for Development Economics Research/United Nations University. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  9. ^ "CEPR Senior Research Partners". Center for Economic and Policy Research. 19 Oct 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  10. ^ Correa Delgado, Rafael. Ecuador: de Banana Republic a la No República. Debate. Third edition. 2010. p. 158
  11. ^ Rafael Correa (20 May 2006). "El sofisma del libre comercio". La Insignia. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  12. ^ Mónica Almeida (23 Sep 2007). "Ecuador debe planificar su propio modelo de desarrollo". EL Universo. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  13. ^ Bob Rowthorn (July–August 1974). "Neo-Classicism, Neo-Ricardianism and Marxism". New Left Review. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  14. ^ Harwood, Jonathan (14 June 2013). "Development policy and history: lessons from the Green Revolution". History & Policy. History & Policy. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "GDAE Leontief". 
  16. ^ http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/faculty/chang/cv.pdf#search=%22rowthorn%20%22ha-joon%20chang%22%22
  17. ^ "Blame Game", The Economist, March 24, 2011. Accessed on March 28, 2011 at: http://www.economist.com/node/18438065?story_id=18438065&CFID=166516108&CFTOKEN=23109871
  18. ^ Irwin, Douglas A., "Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective". April 2004. EH.net. Accessed on 03/15/11 at: http://eh.net/book_reviews/kicking-away-ladder-development-strategy-historical-perspective
  19. ^ Codrops. "Economía lpubkisher= Universidad Católica del Uruguay" (PDF). 
  20. ^ Ha-Joon Chang (July 2007). "Protecting the global poor". Prospect. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  21. ^ Easterly, William (8 October 2009). "The Anarchy of Success" – via The New York Review of Books. 
  22. ^ https://williameasterly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/nyrb_theanarchyofsuccess_100809.pdf
  23. ^ Easterly, Ha-Joon Chang and James Rossant, reply by William (19 November 2009). "‘The Anarchy of Success’" – via The New York Review of Books. 
  24. ^ "Interview: Ha-Joon Chang". Varsity. 19 February 2014. 

External links[edit]