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East Asian Development

East Asian Development

Dwight H. Perkins
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    East Asian Development
    Book Description:

    In the early 1960s fewer than five percent of Japanese owned automobiles, China's per capita income was among the lowest in Asia, and living standards in rural South Korea put it among the world's poorest countries. Today, these are three of the most powerful economies on earth. Dwight Perkins draws on extensive experience in the region to explain how Asia sustained such rapid economic growth in the second half of the twentieth century.East Asian Developmentcovers Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, as well as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and China--a behemoth larger than the other economies combined. While the overall picture of Asian growth is positive, no single economic policy has been effective regionwide. Perkins uncovers why some initially egalitarian societies have ended up in very different places, with Japan, for example, maintaining a modest gap between rich and poor while China has become one of Asia's most unequal economies. With Korean and Japanese growth sluggish and China losing steam, Perkins asks whether this is a regional phenomenon or typical of all economies at this stage of development. His inquiry reminds us that the uncharted waters of China's vast economy make predictions speculative at best.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-72613-0
    Subjects: Business, Economics, History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[viii])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    A half century ago the countries of East Asia bore little similarity to the way they appear to the outside world today.¹ For those familiar with the region, the conditions in these countries could not be more different. Japan was the furthest along, with its economy having recovered fully by 1955, and was well launched on the accelerated growth that was to raise it to first world economic status by the early 1970s. Most Japanese households by 1961 owned television sets and many other consumer durables, but few—less than 5 percent—owned automobiles, and the total number of four-wheeled...

  4. 1 The Historical Foundations of East Asian Development
    (pp. 14-47)

    One cannot understand economic development in East and Southeast Asia unless one also understands the historical foundations on which contemporary development efforts are built. A feature that all of the countries in the region have in common, those that succeeded in achieving sustained periods of economic growth and those that did not, is that they began their development efforts at similar very low levels of per capita income. Nations and colonies, of course, did not have statistical bureaus that estimated GDP in the nineteenth century—the concept of GDP was not even invented until the 1930s, but various attempts were...

  5. 2 Understanding East Asian Growth
    (pp. 48-65)

    In recent decades economists have tried to move beyond historical explanations of high and low GDP growth rates by using econometric techniques to test the significance of different causes of high and low growth. I have already cited several of these studies that are broadly consistent with our conclusions about the impact of political inequality and ethnic diversity on growth. In this chapter I focus on studies that attempt to explain all or most of the major elements that determine economic growth. The statistical samples used have been all of the countries for which reasonably reliable data are available. Two...

  6. 3 Government Intervention versus Laissez-Faire in Northeast Asia
    (pp. 66-99)

    Earlier I outlined the historical advantages and disadvantages some of the countries of East Asia have possessed. I did this first by reviewing the differing historical experiences within the region and then by observing to what degree attempts to explain economic growth using aggregate growth equations and econometric techniques are consistent with my historical analysis. I then laid the foundation for what follows in this lecture by using growth accounting techniques to show that policy changes and better economic management played a central role in the rapid growth that occurred. Growth was not just a matter of raising the rate...

  7. 4 Successes and Failures in Southeast Asia
    (pp. 100-121)

    Where the economic performance of most of Northeast Asia, plus Singapore and minus North Korea, is a story of economic success, the economic performances of the economies of Southeast Asia present a mixed picture. Five of the economies in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, have done well for significant periods, while three have done poorly for most of the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first. The development strategies of the consistently worst performers will not be discussed in this chapter except in passing. The generals who rule Myanmar until recently spent much of the...

  8. 5 From Command to Market Economy in China and Vietnam
    (pp. 122-152)

    The accelerated transformation of the economies of Northeast Asia together, with the less dramatic but still large transformation of four economies in Southeast Asia, was a historic event, one of the most significant achievements of the second half of the twentieth century. It involved a fivefold-to-ninefold increase in the average per capita income of economies supporting 537 million people (2009), many more than live in the United States and Canada, and similar to the total population of the 27 countries of the European Union (501 million in 2010). In terms of the welfare of the world’s population, the fifteenfold increase...

  9. 6 The End of High Growth Rates
    (pp. 153-174)

    We have seen an economic transformation whose speed is unprecedented in world history. In half a century, 1.97 billion people in East and Southeast Asia, or 26 percent of the world’s population, have experienced anywhere from a sixfold to a fourteenfold increase in income.¹ The total GDP of these countries in 2010 was US$14.65 trillion in the prices of that year (US$10.5 trillion in 2000 prices) or roughly the same as that of the United States (in PPP terms the GDP of these countries taken together was nearly $18 trillion). Excluding Japan, the total GDP of the other high-performing East...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 177-200)
  11. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 201-202)
  12. Index
    (pp. 203-213)