Development and Urbanization
Co-Authors: Gregory Randolph - PhD Candidate, University of Southern California
In emerging economies like India and Indonesia that have decentralized, liberalized and internationalized their economic development in the last few decades, industrialization is taking place in peri-urban and rural locations where both land and labor are available and relatively affordable. Drawing from research investigating youth employment in small cities and ‘rurban’ locations conducted in Semarang Regency, Central Java, Indonesia and Kishangarh, Rajasthan, India, we observe that contrary to the conventional conception of neoliberalism, the State plays a key role in industrial development. However, in both cases we find, with key variations given the different models of decentralization, that local governments are less involved in matters of industrial policy, with decisions taken by national governments, provincial/state governments and parastatal actors.
Even though industrialization in these peri-urban/rural spaces is successful in offering a non-farm source of income for rural youth, economic mobility in these contexts is limited. Young workers are stuck in low-paying, repetitive industrial work that neither they nor employers view as a long-term career. In this paper, we reflect on the capacities of local governments in small cities in India and Indonesia to navigate the impact of international and national projects aimed at spurring industrial growth, while simultaneously striving to create avenues to economic mobility for workers.