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Economy: East Asia


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague may take about 45 minutes.


The East Asian economy is one of the most dynamic and fast-growing regional economies in the world. Due to the export-led economic development in Japan and South Korea in the post-war era and in China since the 1978 reforms, the East Asian economy has become greatly connected to other regions of the world. Today, political and economic changes in East Asian countries can largely shake the international economic system.

Economic developments in the East Asian countries have experienced various stages. Initially Japan’s economic miracle and especially the successful developmental state model gave rise to the regional economic growth. Under the influence of Japan, as well as its own outward-looking economic strategy in the 1960s, South Korea started rapid industrialization and strong growth for the next three decades. However, the burst of Japanese asset price bubble in the early 1990s and the disastrous Asian financial crisis in 1997 (which specifically affected South Korea among all the East Asian countries) severely retarded the growth in the region. On the other hand, China has adopted a series of economic and political reforms since 1978, which gradually drove its economy toward a market-oriented regime. China has increasingly strengthened trade and investment links with other East Asian countries, and its continuous economic growth has become a powerful engine of the regional development. As a result, China became an important regional power not only in the east but also the whole Asian region. However, the domestic problems in China such as inequality and environmental degradation, as well as the recent slowdown in economic growth, have incurred concerns with China’s economic strength.

How to maintain the economic dynamism and stability in the East Asian region – especially in the post global financial crisis era - has become an increasingly important topic among academics, policy makers and the business community. In order to solve a question like this, we need to scrutinize carefully the economic policymaking, institutional development and regional cooperation mechanisms in East Asia. This course introduces students to the economic development in East Asia in the post-war era, and prepares students for critical thinking and analysis of issues related to economic development model(s), financial policies, industrialization processes, employment system and labour issues, environmental problems, and regional economic integration in East Asia.

Course objectives

Students have:

  • Acquired an overview of the historical and contemporary economic developments and political economy dynamics in their chosen area and deepened their existing knowledge and understanding of different economic systems, economic institutions, economic processes and actors in the different regions / countries of the region, using the concepts acquired during the courses Principles of Economics and Foundations of Political Economy.

  • Been acquainted with academic debates on selected topics in the specific region.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.


Tutorials are held once every three weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. With online education, it is more important than ever to maintain communication and stay in touch with your study groups. For this reason, if you are unable to attend a session, it is required that you inform your tutor in advance. Please note that being absent at any tutorial session may have a negative impact on the grade of the assignment due for that particular tutorial session. This is at the discretion of the tutor.

Assessment method


  • Midterm Exam:

Written examination with short open questions and (up to) 50% multiple choice questions.

  • Final Exam:

    Written examination with short open questions and (up to) 50% multiple choice questions.


Partial grade Weighing
Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of Tutorial grade, Midterm Exam grade, and Final Exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.

  • This means that failing Exam grades cannot be compensated with a high Tutorial grade.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the weighted average of Midterm- and Final Exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier Midterm- and Final Exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the Resit Exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2020 – 2021.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Reading list

Readings will be made available on Brightspace before the start of the course.


  • Enrolment through uSis for Tutorials and Lectures is mandatory.

  • Students will be enrolled for Exams by the Administration Office, as long as they have a valid Tutorial enrolment.

  • General information about uSis is available on the website.


Dr. S. Shibata

Dr. J. Wang (block 1)

Y. Tan MA (block 2)

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
Please use your University email-address (uMail) when communicating with any person or department within Leiden University.

Student Affairs Office for BA International Studies