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Economic Development of Asia



[BSc], GED, ID, PSc, Ec

Admission Requirements

Similarly-tagged 100/200-level courses.


This course offers an introduction to the debate on economic development in East Asia. Is the organization of the East Asian economies similar to the types of organization applied in Europe and the US? How does the distinction between the private sector and the government work in Asian economies? Does industrial organization in East Asia differ from the way industries are organized in Europe? To find answers to these questions we analyze East Asian economic development models, financial policies, industrialization processes, employment systems, labor issues, environmental governance, and regional economic integration. We make use of macro-economic analysis and apply political economy theories. The focus is on China, Japan and South-Korea but the increasing integration between the East Asian economies and the ASEAN economies is also discussed as the regionalization of the Asian economy is becoming more intense.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will be expected to successfully:

  • Understand and critically discuss major issues, debates and theories on economic development models used in East Asia.

  • Identify the most important components of financial policies, industrialization policies, employment systems, labor issues, environmental governance, and regional economic interaction in East Asia.

  • Be able to describe the historical economic development of the East Asian economies.

  • Have shown proficiency in reproducing theories of economic development in East Asia.


Class participation (10%)
Oral presentation (10%)
Short essays (40%)
Final essay (40%)


Naughton, B. (2007). The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth, MIT, 2007.
Flath, D. (2013). The Japanese Economy, Oxford University Press, third edition 2013.

Weekly Overview

Week 1:
Incomes and welfare of East Asians today. Introduction to four economic development models in East Asia: The Developmental State model, Network consensus model, Pluralist model and State-led model.

Week 2:
Industrialization in East Asia: From pre-modern industrialization towards industrial revolutions in Korea, Japan and China, industrial policies.

Week 3:
Industrial Organization: Cooperation and competition within industries, the role of supporting industries, Keiretsu en Chaebol, the relationship between firms and markets in East Asia.

Week 4: Financial Systems in China, Korea and Japan: The role of financial intermediaries, banks, insurance companies and financing of SME’s. Saving.

Week 5:
Macroeconomic policies: Booms and busts, fiscal and monetary policies.

Week 6:
Labor: Employment systems, human capital formation in East Asia.

Week 7:
Integration and Regionalization I: Facilitating governmental policies: monetary integration, trade integration, construction and infrastructure.

Integration and Regionalization II
Firm level: Value chains, regional production networks and FDI