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Economic Development of Asia



GED, ID, PSc, Ec

Admission Requirements

Principles of Economics.


This course offers an introduction to debates on economic development in Asia. The focus is on the countries of Southeast Asia, but the increasing integration between Southeast and East Asian economies (China, Korea and Japan) as well as the role of the West in the region is also discussed. The course looks at the contemporary dynamics of different Southeast Asian economies and positions these dynamics in the history of the region. The focus is on economic development but we depart from a (neo-)institutional approach, hence examining how the economic domain is intertwined with political, social and cultural domains. We do so by considering important themes on the macro level (individual countries, regional and global integration, urban and rural development) as well as the micro level (business networks, management and entrepreneurship). The weekly themes are as follows:

  1. Introduction to the societies, histories and economies of Southeast Asia
  2. The development gap: the old and the new ASEAN members
  3. Urban and rural development in Southeast Asia
  4. Ethnic Chinese business in Southeast Asia
  5. Modes of business organization in Southeast Asia: kinship and patronage
  6. Globalization and crisis: change and continuity in Southeast Asian business; Southeast Asian business compared: Japanese Keiretsu and Korean Chaebol
  7. Southeast Asia, the West, and China

Course Objectives

  • Acquire understanding of and think critically about key debates and perspectives concerning economic development and business in Southeast Asia

  • Assess the interrelatedness of economic development and the social and cultural history of Southeast Asia

  • Comprehend and analyze academic literature pertaining to the themes discussed in the weekly seminars

  • Formulate an original research question, write an essay and give an oral presentation corresponding the academic level on a subject of choosing

Mode of Instruction

Seminar-style meetings in which active engagement of students is required. Class meetings will include lectures, presentations and general discussions. Attendance of class meetings is compulsory.


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


Students do not need to purchase books for the course. Literature will be assigned corresponding to the weekly themes in the course syllabus.