My dissertation seeks to explain why some countries are able to develop technical intellectual capital-scientists, engineers, and technicians-better than others. I hypothesize that politics, in the form of coalitional relationships between government and the private sector, most impact these capabilities. The origins of these coalitions, in turn, are heavily influenced by initial structural conditions, such as resource endowments and social cleavages. I will use multiple methods to test these hypotheses. First I will use two-stage least squares analysis on worldwide data to both show correlation and test for external validity. And second, I will use in-depth comparative case studies of Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore to trace the intricate causal connections within these hypotheses.