Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


Globally the debate on the most effective pathway for development has reached somewhat of an impasse, with the two dominant approaches of market-led (neoliberal) development and developmental state approaches still at loggerheads. In the rapidly developing country of Vietnam, scholars have debated which of these two approaches is now most influential. Elizabeth Thurbon’s (2016) concept of the ‘developmental mindset’ offers an effective way to evaluate Vietnam’s directions because it allows scholarship to move beyond debating the meaning of particular policies, and to consider the mindset of leaders and policy-makers regarding development directions. Thus, this thesis evaluates the perceptions of the developmental state mindset in Vietnam but it focuses on the influence of international actors who have played a key role in shifting thinking about development in Vietnam. The international actors studied are: foreign economic actors, International Organisations (IOs), and international Non- Governmental Organisations (INGOs).

The thesis begins with a review of the research literature on the impact of globalisation on the nation-state and understandings of the developmental state, before introducing the concept of the developmental mindset. Next, the context in Vietnam is reviewed, along with key policy directions and documents. Based on this broad view, the thesis uses a case study approach to analyse the influence of international actors on the developmental state mindset in Vietnam.

FoR codes (2008)




Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.