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Hugh Whittaker

Research Associate

Hugh Whittaker is Professor in the Economy and Business of Japan at the Nissan institute of Japanese Studies, and fellow of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He previously taught at the University of Cambridge, Doshisha University, Kyoto, and University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Selected publications

Compressed Development

Compressed Development: Time and Timing in Economic and Social Development, by D. Hugh Whittaker, Timothy Sturgeon, Toshie Okita and Tianbiao Zhu, Oxford University Press, October 2020, IBSN 9780198744948

This book proposes a new way to approach economic and social development by focusing on time and timing. The UK industrialised over two centuries, and then started to de-industrialise in the late 1960s. Today, the most rapid developers experience aspects of industrialisation and de-industrialisation simultaneously. It is no longer clear that industrialisation offers the path of growth it once did; industrialisation has become ‘thin.’ Demographic and social challenges that earlier developers faced sequentially now come at the same time. Rapid growers experience compression most acutely, but the spatial and temporal fusing of past and present is widespread, affecting high-, middle-, and lower-income countries alike.

Timing refers to the differences in historical periods in which development takes place. The geopolitical, institutional and technological environment for countries recently integrated into the global economy has been very different from that of the preceding post-war decades of ’embedded liberalism,’ although it does contain echoes of the ‘first globalisation’ and ‘first financialisation’ a century ago. The first era of liberalism did not end well, and the second is similarly foundering on the rocks of nationalism and protectionism, as it is being battered by a global pandemic.

The authors propose an interdisciplinary conceptual framework based on co-evolving state-market and organisation-technology dyads, which will help readers make sense of contemporary development across multiple societies, sectors and geographies, and provide a template for historical comparison.

Contact details

Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies
University of Oxford
27 Winchester Road

View Hugh Whittaker’s full profile on the University of Oxford website