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The Political Economy of East Asia

The Political Economy of East Asia

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The post-war growth of the East Asian economies is an unprecedented achievement in world economic history. The newly-industrializing countries of Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Taiwan were first to emulate Japan's economic success; more recently, the People's Republic of China and several Southeast Asian countries have experienced extremely high rates of economic growth and rapid industrial transformation.

This comprehensive six volume set brings together the best work published on the political economy of the East Asia region, including studies of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The collections will be welcomed by specialists in Asian studies, comparative politics, international political economy and economics.

The series can be purchased either by title - each of which consists of two volumes - or as a complete six volume set.


Japan's economic transformation in the postwar period occurred at an historically unprecedented pace. Rapid urbanization accompanied economic growth and brought major changes in the social and political systems.

These authoritative volumes analyse the factors behind Japan's economic success and the consequences that it has had both for Japan's political system and for Japan's role in the global economy.

Volume I focuses on the process of policy making in Japan, especially on the issue of the relative importance of the bureaucracy and its relations with other key actors. The second part of the volume contains the most important contributions to the debate on whether industrial policy was the principal reason for Japan's economic success.

Volume II contains sections on industrial culture and organization that examine Japanese corporate systems, the role of flexible production, the unique nature of Japanese society and the advantages and drawbacks of Japan's industrial groupings, as well as the regulatory framework under which Japan's firms operate. The final readings focus on the question of whether Japan's trading pattern is abnormal for an economy of its level of development and natural resources, and how this pattern will evolve in the future.


This two volume set focuses on the political economy of Korea, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong four of the most rapidly growing countries in the contemporary world economy.

The first chapters in this collection are comparative studies of the political economy of the newly-industrializing countries in general; these construct an East Asian 'model' as a tool for comparative analysis. Later comparative work reproduced in the first volume focuses specifically on Korea and Taiwan and is concerned with explaining the different evolution of state-society relations in these two countries. Among the subjects included are economic adjustment, financial systems, agriculture, trading companies, and policies on foreign direct investment and trade.

The second part of Volume II consists of papers on the political economy of China since beginnings of the economic liberalization process in 1978. Besides reviewing the achievements of China in this period, the chapters discuss the continuing contradictions of market liberalization under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party. The final papers in Volume II review the political economy of Hong Kong, how its economy has been shaped by government policies, and the increasing importance of economic links with mainland China.


This two volume set focuses on the political economy of five of the member states of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The readings document how Singapore has enjoyed consistently high rates of growth since the mid-1960s thanks to a mixture of liberal trade policies and judicious government intervention. By the early 1990s it per capita income had surpassed that of many Western European countries.

Singapore was the only Southeast Asian country to be included in the original list of newly industrializing countries. In the decade after the mid-1980s, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand also all enjoyed very high rates of economic growth. Their recent success reflects the benefits, first, of policy reform that has reduced economic distortions and, second, of high levels of foreign direct investment from Northeast Asia. The readings identify some of the continuing struggles between proponents of liberalization and advocates of protectionism who have benefited from the patrimonial politics characteristic of these three countries.

The reading on the fifth country in this volume, the Philippines, analyse how the country's development has been held back by the 'crony capitalism' of the Marcos years and by the failure to introduce measures that would reduce the power of the traditional landed elites.

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