OBOR’s Emerging Political Economy

Dr. Alexander Cooley, an expert in the development of post-Soviet countries and director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, explores the implications of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative on the politics and economics of Central Asia. His analysis calls into question the underlying assumption that large-scale investments in transport infrastructure, such as those at the heart of Xi Jinping’s signature initiative, can automatically promote economic development without a nuanced consideration of individual sectors, local political actors and project governance. He encourages scholars and policymakers to analyze the unique conditions facing participants, including OBOR’s Central Asian partners, as they develop responses to the initiative and its various challenges, costs, and impacts.