Inderscience Publishers

Embedded autonomy and ecological modernisation in Taiwan

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This paper aims to study the progression of Taiwan's environmental reform and how the political economy and social institutions affect this process. With its unique political economy structure, namely the embedded autonomy, Taiwan's environmental reforms may provide a valuable empirical contribution to Ecological Modernisation Theory (EMT) debates. Key questions addressed in this study are: first, the extent to which environmental reform is taking place in Taiwan in general, and in high-tech industries in particular, and what mechanisms bring about the reforms; second, the extent to which EMT concepts are applicable in evaluating and shaping Taiwan's environmental protection efforts. Data were collected from public documents and interviews with government and industry leaders. This study concludes that ecological modernisation is taking place in Taiwan, especially in the high-tech sector, led by state technical and economic agents. Embedded social network relationships between the State and firms assist firms in taking the path of ecological modernisation.

Keywords: ecological modernisation, Taiwan, environmental reform, environmental policy, high-tech industries, newly industrialising countries, NIC, developmental state, embedded autonomy, sustainable development, environmental management, environmental movement, environmental protection, greening industry

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