Introduction: Authoritarian Governance in Singapore's Developmental State

Michael D Barr, Lily Zubaidah RAhim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This introductory chapter frames Singapore’s socio-economic and political challenges within the context of governance in an authoritarian developmental state at a critical crossroads. A key challenge confronting Singapore’s developmental state has arguably been the unravelling ‘growth with equity’ social compact in part due to the selective embrace of neo-liberal policies since about the mid-1980s. Singapore’s political and policy trajectory is analysed in relation to the pioneering Northeast Asian developmental states of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan—states that have transitioned to robust democracies and mature economies whilst deepening protectionist social policies. Key issues and questions raised in this chapter and this edited volume include: Why has Singapore’s developmental state remained one-party dominant and authoritarian despite possessing a sizeable educated middle-class and an economy that is touted as one of the wealthiest in GDP per capita terms? Is Singapore’s development model, which is driven by government-linked companies and foreign multinational corporations, sustainable? Is Singapore’s political economy close to reaching its limits, in terms of promoting innovative knowledge industries and creative entrepreneurship without heavy reliance on ‘foreign talent’? Do the technocratic politicians governing Singapore possess the political entrepreneurship required to facilitate effective state-society linkages based on ‘deliberative development’ and ‘co-production’, which is a foundation of sophisticated knowledge economies and polities? How will deepening intra-elite divisions amongst ‘disaffected insiders’ impact on Singapore's political and economic development?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Limits of Authoritarian Governance in Singapore's Developmental State
EditorsLily Zubaidah Rahim, Michael D. Barr
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgave MacMillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-13-1556-5
ISBN (Print)978-981-13-1555-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Singapore politics
  • Authoritarian governance
  • Developmentalism


Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction: Authoritarian Governance in Singapore's Developmental State'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this