East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

October 6 Workshop


Workshop on East Asia:

Politics, Economy and Society Presents

“Incubating Innovation or Cultivating Corruption? The Developmental State and Life Sciences in Asia”

Professor Cheol-Sung Lee

Department of Sociology, University of Chicago

4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday

October 6, 2009

Pick Lounge

5828 South University Ave.

Workshop website: http://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Jean Lin (jeanlin@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang, Cheol-sung Lee, Dingxin Zhao

The workshop is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance, please contact the student coordinator in advance.


A substantial body of literature purports to document the
growth of scientific misconduct in Northeast Asia.  This
paper traces the apparent growth of research fraud and
falsification to two distinct features of the national
innovation systems common to the region: liberal research
regimes adopted by developmental states and marked by
freedom from government oversight; and illiberal laboratory
cultures imported from Germany and marked by all-powerful
lab directors and their vulnerable underlings. Based on
comparative, qualitative case studies of pioneering
countries in bio-medical research, as well as cross-national
quantitative analyses of the permissiveness of national stem-
cell research policies, we argue that Asia’s scientific
pathologies are the products of institutional factors:
funding and freedom offered to scientists by developmental
states; and the lack of informal control prevalent in the
German model of higher education. We conclude that, while
Northeast Asian officials offer their biomedical researchers
funding and freedom to take advantage of opportunities that
rarely exist  in the West, their scientists stifle open
debate and criticism, and thereby hinder  the growth of
informal as well as formal control mechanisms that are
critical for deterring and detecting scientific fraud.

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