A Decade of Developments

10th Anniversary Annual Conference 2007
Edited by Masahiro Kawai and Susan F. Stone
Asian Development Bank Institute

Kasumigaseki Building, 8th Floor
3-2-5 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku
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©2008 Asian Development Bank Institute
ISBN: 978-4-89974-026-1
Freely available electronically at:
The views expressed in this work are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect
the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), the Asian Development
Bank (ADB), its Board of Directors, or the governments they represent. ADBI does not
guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work and accepts no responsibility for
any consequences of their use. Terminology used may not necessarily be consistent with ADB
official terms.
Foreword iv
Preface vi
Contributors vii
Abbreviations xiii
I. Overview 1
Masahiro Kawai
Susan F. Stone
Part I As|an Cr|s|s 10 Years On: F|nanc|ng for the Future
II. Financing Asian Growth 23
Peter A. Petri
III. Asian Crisis Ten Years On: Policy Perspectives 45
Mohamed Ariff
Azidin Wan Abdul Kadir
Comments 70
Akira Ariyoshi
Chia Siow Yue
Part II Poverty Reduct|on for an Inc|us|ve and Equ|tab|e As|a
IV. Poverty Reduction, Inclusive Growth, and Development Strategies 79
Justin Yifu Lin
V. Rising Inequalities in Asia: An Imperative for Inclusive Growth 109
Ifzal Ali
Comments 128
Iwan Azis
Yasuyuki Sawada
Part III Growth through Reg|ona| Cooperat|on and Integrat|on
VI. State of Integration in the Asia-Pacific Region:
Current Patterns and Future Scenarios 135
Antoni Estevadeordal
Kati Suominen
VII. A Composite Index of Economic Integration
in the Asia-Pacific Region 163
Chen Bo
Yuen Pau Woo
Comments 181
Shinji Takagi
David Kruger
VIII. Summary 185
The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) was established in 1997
as a subsidiary of the Asian Development Bank to respond to two needs
of developing member countries: identification of effective development
strategies and improvement of capacity for sound management of agencies
and organizations in those countries. As the chapters in this volume
demonstrate, ADBI has indeed helped foster “A Decade of Developments.”
Asia has shown the way to regain economic buoyancy and vibrancy after
the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis as demonstrated by its remarkable growth
and development over the past decade. Reforms have put the previously
affected countries in a good position to face any potential future turbulence.
The lessons of the last crisis, and the need for reform to make economies
competitive and resilient, are lessons that are just as relevant today. The
spread across Asia of such reform more than 10 years ago raised the
standard of performance across the region. However, as the current situation
illustrates and is further shown in the chapters contained in this volume,
much work still needs to be done—especially in the field of governance and
institutional strengthening if the region, and indeed the world, are to face up
to the challenges of globalization.
Asia’s rapid growth has contributed to a remarkable decline in the
incidence of poverty throughout the region. Yet the chapters in this volume
show that this growth has not been enjoyed equally among all Asia’s
inhabitants. Indeed, a compelling case has been made that rising inequalities
in Asia pose a “clear and present danger” to social and political stability. The
work presented suggests that governments can help alleviate these concerns
by ensuring broad access to economic opportunities, by providing a social
safety net to those at most risk, and by equipping the poor with the tools
necessary to become productive in the economy.
A by-product of the Asian financial crisis has been the increasing move
by countries in the region toward enhanced economic cooperation and
integration. Driven by the private sector, market-led regional economic
integration has deepened as value and production networks have grown.
Regional cooperation can nourish it further.
However, as the chapters on growth through regional cooperation and
integration argue, increasing integration may have its downsides. One is the
exposure of each country’s domestic sectors to greater regional competition
and the possible dislocation of workers in such sectors. Another is the rising
number of regional agreements that may lead to an increasing complexity
and a “noodle bowl” in the regional trading system, rather than the
transparency such a system needs to maintain efficiency. It is important that
governments in the region be given the support and tools, through research
and capacity building such as those offered by ADBI, needed to meet these
It is somewhat ironic that as ADBI observed the anniversary of its
founding in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, the seeds were being
sown for another financial crisis. The current global financial crisis, starting
in the US and having spread to Europe, is on a scale not seen in many
decades. Indeed, in the wake of the collapse of some of the world’s leading
investment banks there is growing concern over the specter of a deep and
prolonged recession in the developed economies. While impact on the
Asian economies has so far been relatively limited, deep and prolonged
recession in the developed economies can eventually adversely affect Asian
economies which for more than two decades have banked on export-oriented
development strategies. Moreover, there is always concern that a decline in
global growth may disproportionately affect the world’s most vulnerable,
many of whom are in Asia.
As a development institution, ADB faces formidable challenges in
the decades to come as Asia and the Pacific deals with the looming global
economic slowdown and transforms itself rapidly. These challenges will test
ADB’s ability to be more relevant at a time when a number of its traditional
borrowers are developing quickly. ADB must rise to these challenges and
adapt with the times to demonstrate that it is well equipped to effectively
meet the emerging needs of its clients. In this regard, ADBI has an important
role to play in providing the knowledge inputs to help strengthen the
relevance of ADB.
So, on the occasion of its tenth anniversary, I congratulate ADBI on its
achievements. I encourage the Institute to continue in its efforts to remain
prescient and forward looking and hope to see the Institute become one of
the leading knowledge centers in the region.
Haruhiko Kuroda
President, Asian Development Bank
This volume celebrates and revisits development issues in Asia and the
Pacific highlighted by the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) over
the last ten years. A Decade of Developments covers a lot of ground, thanks
to the distinguished scholars who addressed questions covering broad topics
and the equally distinguished discussants who objectively commented on
the key issues raised by the scholars. We are fortunate to have had honorable
chairpersons with extensive knowledge who were able to guide us in an
interesting set of intellectual debates on some specific issues. The conference
did not dwell on the past but instead looked to the future regarding each of
the topics, answering the key questions of:
(i) How the legacy of the Asian financial crisis of 1997–1998 impacts
future economic and financial initiatives at the national and regional
(ii) What analytical and policy implications are drawn by moving from
the single objective of poverty reduction to including concerns
about inclusive and sustainable growth; and
(iii) What will come as the region embarks on even greater regional
cooperation and integration.
We are most grateful to these distinguished participants, as well as the
attendees’ high-caliber questions and discussions, for providing an insightful
and meaningful body of work.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the talented and dedicated staff of ADBI,
both past and present, without whose hard work and dedication ADBI could
not fulfill its role.
Masahiro Kawai
Dean, Asian Development Bank Institute

Ifzal Ali is Chief Economist, Economics and Research Department, ADB.
Over his career in ADB he has assumed various key positions including
Senior Strategic Planning Officer, Assistant Treasurer, and Deputy Treasurer.
Prior to ADB, he was Professor/Chairman of the Economics Area in the
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. His research interests include
the role of macro and microeconomic policy reforms in the context of
globalization and competitiveness for the developing countries of Asia. His
research focus in the past two years has been on inclusive growth. He holds
a PhD in economics from John Hopkins University.
Mohamed Ariff is the Executive Director of the Malaysian Institute of
Economic Research (MIER). He was the Chair of Analytical Economics at
the University of Malaya, where he also served as Dean of the Faculty of
Economics and Administration. He was conferred emeritus professorship
by the University of Malaya in 2004 and “Datukship” by His Majesty
the King in 2007. He has authored, co-authored, and edited many books
and monographs, in addition to publishing numerous articles in academic
journals and mass media. His work deals with international trade, foreign
direct investments, and regional economic integration. He obtained his
PhD in 1970 at the University of Lancaster, England, as a Commonwealth
Akira Ariyoshi is the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, monitoring regional economic and
financial developments in the region. He joined Japan’s Ministry of Finance
as a career civil servant in 1976 and held a variety of positions, most
recently Deputy Director-General of the International Bureau. He also has
worked at the IMF in Washington, DC on two occasions, most recently from
1998 to 2000 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Exchange Affairs
Department (now Monetary and Financial Systems Department). He holds a
PhD in economics from the University of Oxford.
Iwan Azis is a Professor and Director of Graduate Study in Regional Science
at Cornell University. He was the Chair of the economics department at
the University of Indonesia and Director of the Inter-University Center for
Economics. He has conducted research and consulting work for various
international organizations, universities, and governments. He has addressed
topics of financial economics, regional economic modeling, and linkages
between macro-financial policy and social issues. During the last five
years, he has published numerous articles, and is currently working on two
books. In 2006, he received a “Distinguished Scholar in Regional Science,
Financial Economics, and Economic Modeling” award (in Lisbon, Portugal).
He is a regular Visiting Fellow at ADBI.
Thanong Bidaya is a Visiting Fellow at ADBI. He served as Associate
Researcher at the World Bank, and later as Assistant Professor at the
National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) in Thailand.
His private sector experience includes the Thai Military Bank (TMB) and
the Shinnawatra group developing project finance for telecommunications
systems. In 1993, he became President of TMB. In 1997, he was appointed
Finance Minister to manage Thailand’s economic crisis. He was appointed
Chairman of the National Economic and Social Development Board as well
as Thai Airways International before joining the Thai cabinet as Commerce
Minister. He later served again as Finance Minister from 2005 to 2006. He
received a PhD in management and a master’s degree in economics from
Northwestern University.
Siow Yue Chia is a Senior Research Fellow at Singapore Institute of
International Affairs. She was previously a professor of economics at the
National University of Singapore and retired as Director of the Institute of
Southeast Asian Studies in 2002. She was the Regional Coordinator of the
East Asian Development Network and has also been a consultant to several
international and regional organizations. She has published extensively, with
over 150 books and journal and professional articles. Her research interests
include the Singaporean economy; economic integration and regional
trading agreements in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC); international trade and
foreign direct investment in Asia and the Pacific region; and poverty,
economic development, and labor migration in East Asia. She has a PhD in
economics from McGill University.
Antoni Estevadeordal is Manager of the Integration and Trade Sector
at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). He has expertise in
trade policy, economic integration, and regional cooperation in Latin
America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe. He is responsible for IADB
operational support, technical assistance, and the policy research program
on trade development issues and regional integration initiatives. He
coordinates several joint initiatives with partner agencies. Before joining
IADB, he taught at the University of Barcelona and Harvard University.
He has published in major journals and contributed to several books. He
has coordinated several IADB reports and is currently preparing a report
on Latin America and India. He has a PhD in economics from Harvard
Azidin Wan Abdul Kadir is a fellow in the macroeconomic trends and
forecasting section of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER).
His section produces the quarterly outlook report for the Malaysian economy
and the quarterly survey reports on consumer and business confidence. He
has been involved in projects for the public and private sectors, such as
studies for the national industrial master plans, the auto industry, and the
wood industry. He holds a MSc in statistics from the University of Iowa,
United States.
Masahiro Kawai became Dean of ADBI in 2007 after serving as Head
of ADB’s Office of Regional Economic Integration. Previously, he was
a professor of economics at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Social
Science. He also served as Deputy Vice Minister of Finance for International
Affairs of Japan’s Ministry of Finance and Chief Economist for the World
Bank’s East Asia and the Pacific region. He has published numerous books
and academic articles on economic globalization and regionalization, and
regional financial integration and cooperation in East Asia. He earned his
PhD in economics from Stanford University.
Justin Yifu Lin is Professor and Founding Director of the China Center
for Economic Research (CCER) at Peking University and a professor of
economics at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is
also a Senior Advisor to the Drafting Committee of China’s Tenth Five-
year Plan, the State Leading Group of IT Development, and the mayors of
Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Liaoning Provinces. He is a member of the
National Committee, China People’s Political Consultation Conference. He
is the author of eight books, including The China Miracle: Development
Strategy and Economic Reform and State-owned Enterprise Reform. He
has published over 100 articles in refereed international journals and other
publications on history, development, and transition. He received his PhD in
economics from the University of Chicago.
Peter McCawley is a former Dean of ADBI and Visiting Fellow at the
Australian National University. He has worked as an adviser to the
Australian Government, Indonesian Ministry of Finance, and various
international agencies on foreign aid and international economic issues.
He is a former Deputy Director General of AusAID, where he served on
the Executive Committee until 2002, and was a member of ADB’s Board
of Directors from 1992 to 1996. He has regularly been involved in the
negotiations for the replenishment of ADB’s Asian Development Fund. He
has published numerous articles in academic journals and the media. He
graduated from the Australian National University with a PhD in economics.
Peter A. Petri is Dean of the International Business School and the Carl J.
Shapiro Professor of International Finance at Brandeis University. He has
served as Visiting Scholar at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) Development Centre, as a Fulbright Research
Scholar at Keio University, and as a Brookings Policy Fellow. He has
consulted for the World Bank, OECD, and United Nations. He is a member
of the Board of the United States Asia Pacific Council, the International
Advisory Group of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council’s Trade
Policy Forum, and the Pacific Trade and Development Forum (PAFTAD)
International Steering Committee, and is a former Chair of the US APEC
Study Center Consortium. He received his PhD in economics from Harvard
Yasuyuki Sawada is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Graduate
School of Economics, Tokyo University. His field of expertise includes
development economics, applied micro-econometrics, and field surveys.
He has worked on both micro-econometric studies of household poverty
and community participation and on macroeconomic analyses of debt and
currency crises of middle- and low-income countries. His current interests
include natural and manmade disasters, official development assistance,
economic analysis of suicide, dualistic development, and intra-household
resource allocation in Japan. He has a PhD in economics from Stanford
Aftab Seth is Chairman of the International Advisory Committee and a
professor of the Global Security Research Institute, Keio University. He is
a former Ambassador of India to Japan, Greece, Viet Nam, and Federated
States of Micronesia. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Global
Indian International School of Tokyo and the Board of Management of the
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. He is also Chairman of the International
Advisory Board of the World Peace and Development Association, People’s
Republic of China, and Director to the Japan–India Association. He was a
Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and received his law degree from the American
College of Greece.
Kati Suominen has served since 2003 as International Trade Specialist
at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, where she leads
team research projects on global trade issues and coordinates several
inter-institutional initiatives. She has spoken at such venues as the World
Bank, World Trade Organization, US International Trade Commission,
United Nations, Organization of American States, European Commission,
and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conferences. She is currently
co-authoring and editing six books, among them Regional Rules in the
Global Trading System Trade Agreements (IDB-WTO book to be published
by the Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Sovereign Remedy?
Leveraging Trade Agreements in Globalization (Oxford University Press,
2008). She is a candidate at the Wharton School’s MBA Program for
Executives Class of 2009. She holds a PhD in political economy from the
University of California, San Diego (2004).
Shinji Takagi is a Visiting Fellow at ADBI and professor of economics
at the Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University. His numerous
professional appointments have included Economist, IMF; Senior
Economist, Japanese Ministry of Finance; Visiting Professor of Economics,
Yale University; and Advisor, IMF Independent Evaluation Office. He is
a specialist in international monetary economics and is the author of over
70 publications, including four books. His recent work has dealt with
exchange rate policy, emerging market crises, capital market development,
and regional policy cooperation. His textbook on international monetary
economics is currently in its third edition. He holds a PhD in economics
from the University of Rochester.
Hiroshi Watanabe is Special Advisor to the President of the Japan Center
for International Finance (JCIF), and is Japan’s former Vice Minister of
Finance for International Affairs. He joined the Ministry of Finance in 1972
and served in many areas, including taxation policy formulation. From 1998
to 2001, he served as the personal secretary to then Finance Minister Kiichi
Miyazawa and took the leadership in the discussion on the New Miyazawa
Initiative to assist crisis-affected Asian countries. In addition, as a senior
official of the International Bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Finance from
2001 to 2003, he focused on promoting Asian monetary cooperation and
bilateral assistance. He graduated with a law degree from the University of
Tokyo and holds a master’s degree in economics from Brown University.
Yuen Pau Woo is President and Co-CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation
of Canada. He is Canada’s representative on the Standing Committee of
the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), chairing the Pacific
Economic Outlook forecasting panel, and he coordinates the annual State
of the Region report. He is Director of the APEC Study Centre in Canada
and is on the management boards of the National Centres of Excellence in
Immigration (University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University)
and Emerging Markets (University of Ottawa). He is also an advisor to the
Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at the University of Victoria, the Shanghai
WTO Affairs Consultation Centre, and the Asian Development Bank. He
was educated at the University of Cambridge and the University of London.
ADB Asian Development Bank
ADBI Asian Development Bank Institute
AFTA Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement
AKFTA Association of Southeast Asian Nations–Republic of Korea
Free Trade Agreement
AP Asia-Pacific
APEC Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
ASA Association of Southeast Asian Nations Swap Arrangement
ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations
BIT bilateral investment treaty
CAD comparative advantage-defying
CAF comparative advantage-following
CAFTA Central America Free Trade Agreement
CER closer economic relations
CF common factor
CFA common factor analysis
CI convergence index
CMI Chiang Mai Initiative
ECAFE Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East
EPA economic partnership agreement
ESCAP Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
EU European Union
FDI foreign direct investment
FTA free trade agreement
FTAAP Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific
GDP gross domestic product
HDI Human Development Index
IADB Inter-American Development Bank
ICOR incremental capital-output ratio
IMF International Monetary Fund
KORUS Republic of Korea–United States Free Trade Agreement
LSI Lisbon Strategy Indices
M&A merger and acquisition
MFN Most Favored Nation
NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement
NEER nominal effective exchange rate
NIE newly industrializing economy
NPL non-performing loan
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OLS ordinary least squares
PC principal component
PCA principal component analysis
PRC People’s Republic of China
PTA preferential trade agreement
R&D research and development
REER real effective exchange rate
ROOs rules of origin
RTA regional trade agreement
SWF sovereign wealth funds
TCI technology choice index
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
US United States
WCO World Customs Organization
WTO World Trade Organization

I. Overv|ew
Masahiro Kawai
Susan F. Stone
This volume represents the first in a series of publications of the Asian
Development Bank Institute (ADBI) Annual Conference. The 2007
conference, entitled “A Decade of Developments,” marked the tenth
anniversary of ADBI and, as such, attempted to combine a retrospection of
its history along with an anticipatory look at potential issues for its future.
Asia and the Pacific region has seen many developments since the Institute’s
inception in 1997 and the diversity of chapters contained herein reflects this.
When ADBI was founded, several East Asian economies were in the
midst of a financial crisis. Over the ten years since that time, Asia has seen
not only a remarkable economic renewal, but also substantial growth based
on a solid foundation of financial and governance reforms. East Asia has
re-emerged as the most dynamic region of the world economy, demonstrating
its resilience and robustness. ADBI’s own growth has mirrored this
dynamism and robustness.
1. Asian Crisis Ten Years On: Financing for the
Since the 1997–1998 crisis, there have been numerous studies identifying
its causes and effects. Now, ten years later, it is time to take stock of the
region’s progress in post-crisis reform and assess its adaptation to the new
global and regional landscapes. The first session of the conference dealt
with these issues. Specifically, the session asked: What are the lessons from
the crisis? How can Asian policymakers strengthen their economic and
financial conditions to sustain growth and stability? How will this growth be
Ariff and Kadir, in Chapter III, “Asian Crisis Ten Years On: Policy
Perspectives,” argue that crisis-hit countries have recovered, but not to the
level of their past performance. On the positive side, significant reforms
have been carried out in the banking and corporate sectors. However, the
crisis has precipitated a precautionary move by many governments to self-
insure by amassing large amounts of foreign reserves as protection against
another precipitous outflow of funds. This strategy highlights continued
weakness in the area of capital flow management and the fragility of
financial institutions. Asian countries should adopt a flexible exchange
Decade of Deve|opments
rate regime that is in line with clearly stated monetary policy objectives. A
stronger regulatory and supervisory framework for financial institutions,
sound risk management tools, and greater competition in the financial
markets are needed. Regulations have been improved and lending practices
made more prudent, but more work needs to be done.
The rigidity of exchange rates has been identified as a key cause of the
crisis. Today, there is little evidence that the level of flexibility has changed
much, measured in terms of volatility. The “fear of floating,” or the fear
of volatility, is still present in Asian countries, as is the fear of overvalued
currencies, which could potentially undermine the export competitiveness
that was a key engine for the rapid emergence from the crisis. Thus, there is
little incentive for crisis-hit countries to adopt fully flexible exchange rate
regimes despite the strong evidence to the contrary (see, for example, Shatz
and Tarr 2006; Yu 2007).
The large stocks of foreign exchange reserves accumulated to guard
against adverse capital movements are not optimal and involve costs. This is
especially true when the returns on these stocks are less than debt servicing,
which is the case for a number of Asian economies. In addition, it is not
even clear whether such large stocks would alleviate or exacerbate another
crisis, depending on the source of the crisis.
The case for a regionally cooperative approach to these matters is
strengthened by the rise in intra-Asian trade as well as growing integration
of the financial sector. While such regional economic cooperation would
provide support during bad times, it can also mean that countries are more
exposed to external shocks and destabilizing capital movements. Balancing
these two opposing forces requires consistent policy frameworks across the
region. While there are no policies that can totally insulate a country from
the threat of destabilizing capital movements, consistently prudent and
transparent macroeconomic policies can reduce the chances of reversals in
capital flows.
These foreign exchange reserves have traditionally been channeled
almost exclusively to Western nations such as the United States (US) in the
form of Treasury bonds. The wisdom of this approach is being questioned,
especially given Asia’s continued growth, the emergence of the People’s
Republic of China (PRC) and India as large economic agents, and the
fact that the need for investment within the region is at an all-time high.
The estimated need for investment in infrastructure alone is expected to
exceed US$250 billion annually for the next ten years (Sharan et al. 2007).
Part of Asia’s foreign exchange reserves could be invested abroad in such
l. Overv|ew
infrastructure projects through newly established Sovereign Wealth Funds.
In Chapter II, “Financing Asian Growth,” Petri examines the micro and
macro aspects of funding a region that is expected to grow faster than the
rest of the world over the next decade.
It is estimated that between 2005 and 2025, PRC, Viet Nam, India, and
Bangladesh will experience some of the highest economic growth rates in
the region, as measured by per capita gross domestic product (GDP). This
growth is projected to be matched by the highest population growth. Figure
1.1 shows the effect of population growth on per capita GDP. Population
growth follows the GDP per capita projections.
Figure 1.1 Rea| GDP Growth by Country/Region
(Base|ine, annua|ized percent change, 2005-2025}
GDP = gross domest|c product, NZ = New Zea|and, PRO = Peop|e`s Repub||c of Oh|na.
Source: F|gure 5 of Ro|and-Ho|st, verb|est, and Zha| |2005ì based on Ün|ted Nat|ons popu|at|on
The key macro question is whether world savings will be large enough to
finance global growth, let alone Asia’s rapid expansion. The figures in Table
1.1 show that the rapid productivity improvements and capital accumulation
are driving forces of future Asian growth (Roland-Holst, Verbiest, and Zhai
2005). Some of the highest growth due to capital growth can be seen in
developing Asia. These have important implications for Asia’s investment
environment and its large pool of savings.
-1% 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8%
Rest of the world
Europe 17
Hong Kong, China
Latin America
United States
Australia, NZ
Republic of Korea
Sri Lanka
Viet Nam
Per capita GDP
Decade of Deve|opments
Tab|e 1.1 Asia's Growth and its Sources, 2005-2025 (Percent}
GDP = gross domest|c product, TFP = tota| factor product|v|ty.
Source: Tab|e 1 of Ro|and-Ho|st, verb|est, and Zha| |2005ì.
In his estimation of future savings rates for Asia, Petri uses growth
rates that are slightly higher than those reported in Roland-Holst, Verbiest,
and Zhai (2005). However, Petri argues that the numbers reported in
Roland-Holst et al. were prepared some time ago and appear “... to have
underestimated what appears to be the accelerating dynamism of Asian
economies” (35).
While the current high level of optimism cannot be expected to continue
for another 15 years, Asian economies appear to be creating enough
independent regional engines of growth to sustain significant expansion.
Deepening regional ties should reinforce this dynamism and lead to faster
growth than appeared possible even a few years ago. Several scenarios are
built on three basic components: savings rates, capital/output ratios, and
growth rates.
Petri uses incremental capital output ratios at levels consistent with, or
slightly below, the 1999–2005 average for the region. Historically, these
levels change little and, indeed, do not vary much across countries. Thus,
the assumptions have limited impact on the overall results and play only a
modest role in distinguishing scenarios in Petri’s work.
2005-10 2010-15 2015-20 2020-25
East As|a exc|ud|ng Japan
GDP 6.7 6.0 5.5 5.3
Contribution of: Labor 0.4 0.3 -0.1 -0.1
Capital 3.4 3.6 3.6 3.5
TFP 2.8 2.2 2.1 2.0
Southeast As|a
GDP 6.9 6.8 6.1 5.5
Contribution of: Labor 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4
Capital 1.8 2.1 2.4 2.6
TFP 4.4 4.2 3.4 3.0
South As|a
GDP 7.0 6.1 5.7 5.3
Contribution of: Labor 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.7
Capital 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.2
TFP 3.8 3.0 2.6 2.4
Deve|op|ng As|a
GDP 6.8 6.2 5.6 5.3
Contribution of: Labor 0.6 0.5 0.2 0.1
Capital 2.9 3.2 3.2 3.2
TFP 3.2 2.7 2.4 2.2
l. Overv|ew
All countries in the region are shown to be major capital exporters in
the next 15 years, with the exceptions of Japan and Singapore. These two
countries will experience declining savings rates in the face of expected
demographic changes and will converge toward developed-country norms.
The overall range of outcomes, however, shows that Asian savings are very
likely to remain positive and that the region will be an exporter of capital.
The chapter goes on to deal with issues of risk sharing and allocational
efficiency. How does the difference between Asia’s deepening intra-regional
trade and its much less regionalized pattern of asset holdings affect its
ability to fund future growth? Asia generates over 30% of world savings and
yet absorbs about 20% of world investment and produces only 22% of world
output. How does such a pattern affect Asia’s ability to fund its growth?
According to Petri’s forecasts, based in part on the distribution of
current portfolio holdings and taking into account differentials in projected
growth and savings rates, real global portfolio assets are expected to grow
by 4.5%. However, the structure of these investments is shown to change
less dramatically. While the most rapidly growing cross-border investment
occurs for Asia’s investment in Asian assets, these holdings total only about
2% of global assets. Thus, while Asia is expected to produce more than a
quarter of world output by 2020, Asian assets will comprise only 13% of
the global portfolio. This implies the risks of Asian economic fluctuations
will remain disproportionately held by Asians and the region will not benefit
from the diversification that full participation in capital markets would
This finding points to a generally accepted axiom: the key to financing
Asia’s future is in the efficient handling of the region’s savings and
investment. Inefficiencies may arise in the form of excess savings but
equally important is an insufficient stock of internally traded assets and
thus an inadequate sharing of investment risk. Petri suggests an answer
could come in the form of increased consumption, which would develop
regional demand and help offset potential declines in international demand
for investment opportunities. He argues that measures needed to combat
these potential pitfalls would be to reduce uncertainty faced by individuals
(suggesting social insurance); relax constraints of inconsistent income and
consumption streams by reforming financial markets, allowing for greater
latitude in investment instruments; and keep inflation rates low through
exchange rate and other policies.
These policies would need to consider not only the impact of aggregate
flows of savings and investment, but the distribution of those flows. The next
Decade of Deve|opments
session of the conference turns to this question: how can Asians share in the
tremendous growth of the region? How do policymakers maintain diligence
in poverty reduction efforts while assuring equitable growth opportunities
for all?
2. Poverty Reduction for an lncIusive and
EquitabIe Asia
The same substantial growth that has led to financial market dilemmas has
also helped achieve significant and dramatic poverty reduction in the region
(see Table 1.2). Each of the subregions shown has experienced large declines
in extreme poverty while overall Asia has gone from 35% of the population
living on US$1 per day to 18%: an almost 50% decline. However, poverty
incidence measured at the US$2 per day level remains high. Between 1990
and 2005, this measure fell only 30%, from 75% to 52%. While this is not an
insubstantial amount, it means that over half of the population of developing
Asia is still living in very poor conditions.
Tab|e 1.2 Income Per Capita and Poverty Incidence in Asia
GDP = gross domest|c product, |ao PDR = |ao Peop|e`s Democrat|c Repub||c, PRO = Peop|e`s
Repub||c of Oh|na.
Notes: Headcount rat|o |s poverty headcount rat|o, at e|ther ÜS$1 per day or ÜS$2 per day |percent
of popu|at|onì.
Tota|s for reg|ona| group|ngs |nc|ude on|y those countr|es ||sted.
Source: Tab|e 1 of A|| and Zhung |2007ì, based on Wor|d Bank Povca|net database and East As|a
updates for 1990 poverty est|mates; poverty project|ons for 2005 and 2020, staff est|mates; per
cap|ta GDP fgures from Wor|d Bank, 7ORLD$EVELOPMENT)NDICATORS/NLINE2007.
GDP Per Capita Average Headcount Ratio Headcount Ratio
Constant 2000 Annual US$1-a-Day US$2-a-Day
US$ Growth (%) (%)
Economy 1990 2005 % 1990 2005 Change 1990 2005 Change
PRC 392 1,449 9.1 32.50 7.10 -25.40 71.50 29.40 -42.10
Mongolia 451 483 0.47 27.30 10.51 -16.79 69.94 42.37 -27.57
East As|a 392 1,447 9.10 32.50 7.10 -25.40 71.50 29.40 -42.10
Bangladesh 283 433 2.86 34.40 36.04 1.64 85.70 81.70 -4.00
lndia 317 588 4.20 43.50 35.00 -8.50 86.50 79.80 -6.70
Nepal 176 234 1.93 45.70 26.02 -19.68 84.33 65.45 -18.88
Pakistan 461 596 1.72 47.76 10.24 -37.52 87.87 59.42 -28.45
Sri Lanka 577 1,002 3.74 3.82 2.04 -1.78 40.58 32.85 -7.73
South As|a 330 573 3.75 42.40 31.90 -10.50 85.80 76.90 -8.90
Cambodia - 402 32.50 12.67 -19.83 76.30 54.52 -21.78
lndonesia 612 942 2.91 20.51 7.43 -13.08 70.92 50.31 -20.61
Lao PDR 228 396 3.75 52.74 21.35 -31.39 89.60 67.68 -21.92
Malaysia 2,547 4,437 3.77 0.09 0.00 -0.09 23.38 9.77 -13.61
Philippines 914 1,129 1.42 20.20 10.86 -9.34 55.48 40.29 -15.19
Thailand 1,452 2,441 3.52 10.16 0.00 -10.16 43.05 16.17 -26.88
viet Nam 227 538 5.93 50.66 6.48 -44.18 87.00 39.73 -47.27
Southeast As|a 784 1,256 3.19 23.80 7.20 -16.60 65.60 43.20 -22.40
Total Regions 4,224 1,030 6.10 34.60 18.00 -16.60 75.00 51.90 -23.10
l. Overv|ew
At the same time, the report of ADB’s Eminent Persons Group
pointed out that only four of the ten developing economies in the region—
accounting for the vast majority of the region’s population, GDP, trade,
and savings—are estimated to have per capita incomes close to the
internationally accepted threshold for low-income countries (ADB 2007). In
addition, the World Bank projects that by 2020, 95% of East Asians will live
in middle-income countries and fewer than 25 million of the two billion East
Asians will live below the poverty line (World Bank 2007).
So, while Asia continues to be home to low-income and small
economies where development challenges persist, a significant number of
economies are dealing with the issues of strong growth and rapid expansion.
The support needs and policy responses to these two distinct trends are
quite different. The Asian Development Bank, and ADBI as a key provider
of a long-term strategic perspective, needs to grapple with the challenge of
remaining relevant and serving the needs of the fast growing members of
the region without forgetting about those still mired in poverty and stuck in
a pattern of underperformance.
While rising disparities in income are not unusual during periods of
rapid growth, structural changes need to ensure that the majority of people
benefit from the growth. Unless the rising disparities between and within
countries are addressed immediately, they could ultimately threaten the
social cohesion and political stability of many countries. This, in turn, could
lead to a political backlash bringing to power political leaders opposed to
economic liberalization. Were this to happen, economic growth and private
capital flows to Asia and the Pacific region would suffer major setbacks.
In Chapter IV, “Poverty Reduction, Inclusive Growth, and Development
Strategies,” Lin asks what the appropriate development strategy should be
to lead a nation out of poverty in an equitable way. In Chapter V, “Rising
Inequalities in Asia: An Imperative for Inclusive Growth,” Ali argues
that growth strategies have to be broadened beyond simply “pro-poor” to
encompass increased opportunities for all economic agents.
Development strategy is a key determinant of a developing country’s
ability to achieve sustainable, dynamic, inclusive, and equitable growth,
according to Lin. Distortions in a developing country are endogenous to the
degree that policies are adopted that protect and subsidize nonviable firms.
He refers to this as the comparative advantage-defying (CAD) strategy.
Under this approach, governments implement industrial policies based
on “catching up” with developed countries through the rapid adoption of
technologies used in these economies.
Decade of Deve|opments
On the other side is the comparative advantage-following (CAF)
strategy. Under this approach, governments encourage firms to enter
industries for which the country has a comparative advantage and to adopt
production technologies based on this comparative advantage. Lin argues
that this strategy leads to the development of viable firms. A developing
country that adopts this strategy has no need to provide subsidies or
protections to firms, thus reducing a firm’s potential rent seeking activities
and the drain on government finances.
Much has been written on the ability of a developing country to “catch
up” with the developed world by importing technology and therefore
effectively skipping a stage of development. However, as has been shown
elsewhere (Rodrik 1998; Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson 2001; Acemoglu
and Robinson 2002, for example), developing countries often fail to catch
up due to bad institutions and inappropriate government intervention. This
stems from a basic conflict between the government’s development strategy
and the country’s endowment structure. By promoting the development of
modern, capital-intensive industries to the exclusion of other industries that
may be more conducive to the country’s natural resource endowment, a
country sets itself on an untenable path.
Governments that believe that supporting capital-intensive heavy
industries will lead to greater growth, in the face of an incompatible factor
endowment structure, will find themselves with unsustainable industries
requiring constant subsidies. This will then lead to a lack of resources
available to develop more “endowment-consistent” industries.
The CAD approach engenders a reinforcing cycle as these capital-
intensive sectors’ incentives are to use their viability problem as an excuse,
increasing the resources used to lobby government officials for preferential
loans, tax credits, etc. The more the government follows this misguided
policy and succumbs to these lobbying efforts, the more hampered is its
ability to spend on programs in areas such as health and education. Further,
this strategy leads a country to become more inward-looking as it attempts
to substitute imports of capital-intensive manufactured goods for domestic
These CAD strategies are most detrimental to the poor, most of whom
are living on agricultural incomes in rural areas not supported by any
consistent government policies. The most important asset of the poor is
their labor, which is helped little by the promotion of capital-intensive
industries. In addition, the farm products they produce, such as grains, have
low income and price elasticities. Because of the low elasticity of income,
l. Overv|ew
overall economic growth will have minimum effects on the demand for
farm produce. Because of the low price elasticity, production increases of an
individual rural household may increase its income. However, when most
households increase their production, the resulting downturn in prices will
have a detrimental effect on farm income.
To study the effect empirically, Lin developed a technology choice index
(TCI), which is a proxy for the development strategy followed by a country.
The TCI measures the relative relationship between manufacturer and labor
value added in total value added. Each of a group of developing countries
was then assigned a TCI. If a country adopted a CAD strategy, the TCI was
expected to be larger than if it did not. Lin then examined the relationship
of the index with various income distribution measures, including Gini
The results strongly support the hypothesis that the more a country
pursues a CAD strategy the more severe will be the income disparity in
that country. Lin argues that his results hold regardless of the initial income
distribution. From these findings, the development strategy is an important
determinant of income distribution in a country. When a country follows a
CAF strategy, income distribution tends to become more equal over time
even if the country’s initial income distribution is unequal.
When a country follows a CAD strategy, the existing distortions become
endogenous to the needs of protecting and subsidizing the nonviable firms.
To achieve inclusive and equitable growth, the government should stop
investing in these industries and invest in education so that the labor in
the rural and traditional sectors will have the ability to adapt to the job
requirements in the modern, urban sectors.
In his chapter, Ali echoes Lin’s argument that governments have
neglected the agricultural sector. He argues that while economic
development entails a move away from the farm to industry and services,
deficiencies in public investments in agriculture and the rural economy
more generally have been problematic precisely because the productivity of
agriculture determines the living standards of many people in Asia. Thus,
a major factor affecting poverty alleviation efforts—agriculture—remains
The 2006 World Development Report (World Bank 2005) also argued
for the importance of the pursuit of equal opportunity while avoiding
extreme deprivation. Achieving inclusive growth hinges on the ability to
create economic opportunities through sustainable growth and to make those
opportunities available to all, including the poor.
Decade of Deve|opments
The chapter’s key message is that rising inequalities and the persistence
of unacceptably high levels of non-income inequalities pose a serious
challenge to Asia’s sustained progress. Inclusive growth that focuses on
creating opportunities rapidly and making them accessible to all, including
the disadvantaged, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reducing
inequality. Broader measures need to be taken.
Uneven growth in Asia has occurred over three dimensions. Growth has
been uneven geographically, between rural and urban sectors, and across
households, such that incomes at the top of the distribution have grown
faster than those in the middle or bottom.
While there has been significant post-crisis improvement in some
areas, a broad deterioration of public ethics, public institutions, and public
administration has resulted in significant leakages in public expenditures,
preventing them from reaching the target groups. Not only is there unequal
access to the opportunities brought about by strong economic growth, there
is a basic inequality in access to public services, which perpetuates this
unequal access and undermines the potential of the region’s poor. The lack,
or misspecification, of public expenditures contributes to social pressures, as
indicated by higher poverty rates or lower literacy rates, and has been found
to be significantly associated with a higher intensity of violent crime.
Both chapters explore the validity of the Kuznets curve in the Asian
context. Lin rejects the inverted-U hypothesis of income distribution. Ali
also finds problems with this theory, noting weak empirical evidence.
The examples of the Republic of Korea and Taipei,China, where Gini
coefficients actually declined over some periods of rapid growth, go some
way to substantiate this skepticism. Ali’s chapter argues that the causality
may even run in the opposite direction, meaning that great inequality can
actually hinder future growth.
If inclusive growth has to do with opportunities and the distribution of
opportunities throughout the population, policymakers need to look beyond
traditional income redistribution schemes to correct the problem. Ali argues
that inclusive growth needs to be built around three pillars: maximizing
economic opportunities; ensuring a minimum economic well-being with
social protections; and ensuring equal access to economic opportunities
through education and health programs as well as basic infrastructure,
keeping in mind the distinction between the equality of opportunities and
the equality of outcomes. The equality of opportunities is a necessary but
not sufficient condition to ensure equality of outcomes.
l. Overv|ew
3. Growth through RegionaI Cooperation and
When taking a regional perspective, however, is equality of outcomes a
practical goal? The region needs to strive for equal opportunities and this
can be achieved through a transparent and integrated economic community
in which opportunities can be accessed region-wide. Regional integration in
Asia has been underway for some time through market-driven trade, foreign
direct investment and finance, and the formation of regional production
clusters and supply chains. However, it is only since the 1997–1998 crisis
that Asian policymakers have begun to join forces in a more systematic way
to strengthen regional economic and financial cooperation.
East Asian economies have grown rapidly over the last four decades.
This growth has been driven by the expansion of production networks and
supply chains, formed initially by global multinational corporations and
later by East Asian business firms. More recently, East Asian governments
have embarked on policy initiatives for formal economic integration
through a series of bilateral and plurilateral free trade agreements (FTAs).
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is emerging as
the integration hub for FTA activities in East Asia, with PRC, Japan, and
Republic of Korea all making formal economic ties with ASEAN. More
recently, India and Australia have joined the rush to be part of the FTAs with
East Asia.
There is a view, however, that the proliferation of multiple, overlapping
FTAs and regional trade agreements (RTAs) may work against the World
Trade Organization (WTO) Doha round. As Estevadeordal and Suominen
point out in Chapter VI, “State of Integration in the Asia-Pacific Region:
Current Patterns and Future Scenarios,” the number of RTAs has grown to
such an extent that today some 200 agreements have been notified to the
WTO. That number is expected to double by 2010. While Asia has been a
relative newcomer to this trend, it has caught up fast (see Table 1.3). The
Asian financial crisis has been a significant force in propelling Asia toward
RTAs in recent years. This event increased awareness of the importance of
regional economic policy coordination.
As the region deepens its economic and financial interdependence,
an increasing acknowledgement has emerged among the region’s
national authorities that they cannot achieve financial stability by acting
independently—that they need to work together (Baldwin 2006). Along
these lines, the region has developed several cooperative initiatives other
Decade of Deve|opments
than RTAs, including the Chiang Mai Initiative and the Asian Bond Markets
Tab|e 1.3 Free Trade Agreement Initiatives in East Asia
Conc|uded Under Ofñc|a| Negot|at|on Under Consu|tat|on/Study
Asia-Pacifc Trade Agreement
(June 1976)
Hong Kong, China-New Zealand
(Nov. 2000)
Lao PDR-Thailand PTA (June
PRC-SACU (July 2004) PRC-Rep. of Korea
ASEAN FTA (Jan. 1993) PRC-New Zealand (Dec. 2004) PRC-Peru
Singapore-New Zealand CEP
(Jan. 2001)
PRC-Australia (May 2005) PRC-Japan-Rep. of Korea
Japan-Singapore EPA (Nov.
PRC-GCC (Apr. 2005) Japan-Canada
Singapore-EFTA FTA (Nov.
PRC-Singapore (Oct. 2006) Rep. of Korea-Australia
Singapore-Australia FTA (July
PRC-lceland (2006) Rep. of Korea-New Zealand
PRC-Thailand FTA (Oct. 2003)* Japan-Rep. of Korea (Dec. 2003) Rep. of Korea-Malaysia
Singapore-US FTA (Jan. 2004)
Japan-ASEAN CEPA (aip Nov. 
Rep. of Korea-Thailand
PRC-Hong Kong, China CEPA
(Jan. 2004)
Japan-GCC (Sep. 2006) Rep. of Korea-MERCOSUR
PRC-Macao CEPA (Jan. 2004) Japan-viet Nam (Oct. 2006) Rep. of Korea-South Africa
Taipei,China-Panama FTA (Jan.
Japan-lndia EPA (Feb. 2007) Taipei,China-US
Rep. of Korea-Chile FTA (Apr.
Japan-Australia (Apr. 2007) Taipei,China-Singapore
Thailand-lndia FTA (Sep. 2004)* Japan-Switzerland (May 2007) ASEAN-EU
Thailand-Australia FTA (Jan.
Rep. of Korea-Canada (July 2005) ASEAN+3
Japan-Mexico EPA (Apr. 2005) Rep. of Korea-Mexico (Mar. 2006) ASEAN+6 (EAS)
Thailand-New Zealand CEPA
(July 2005)
Rep. of Korea-lndia (Mar. 2006) Brunei Darussalam-US
ASEAN-PRC FTA (Jan. 2005)** Rep. of Korea-EU (May 2007) lndonesia-lndia
Singapore-lndia CECA (Aug.
Taipei,China-Paraguay (Aug. 2004) lndonesia-US
Singapore-Jordan FTA (Aug.
Taipei,China-Dominican Rep.
PRC-Pakistan FTA (Jan. 2005) ASEAN-lndia (Jan. 2004) Malaysia-lndia
Rep. of Korea-Singapore FTA
(Jan. 2006)
ASEAN-CER (Feb. 2005) Malaysia-EFTA
Transpacifc SEP (May 2006) lndonesia-Pakistan (Nov. 2005) Philippines-Pakistan
PTA D-8 (May 2006)** Malaysia-Australia (May 2005) Philippines-US
BlMSTEC FTA (July 2006)
Malaysia-New Zealand (May
Singapore-Sri Lanka
Taipei,China-Guatemala FTA
(July 2006)
Malaysia-US (Mar. 2005) Singapore-Chile
ASEAN-Rep. of Korea FTA (July
Malaysia-Chile (2007) Singapore-Egypt
Singapore-Panama FTA (July
Singapore-Mexico (July 2000) Singapore-Morocco
Japan-Malaysia EPA (July
Singapore-Canada (Jan. 2000) Singapore-SACU
l. Overv|ew
The shaded arrangements are FTAs among the East As|an econom|es |ASEAN+3; Hong Kong,
Oh|na; and Ta|pe|,Oh|naì.
A s|ng|e aster|sk |*ì |nd|cates the |mp|ementat|on of ear|y harvest agreement and doub|e aster|sks |**ì
|nd|cate |mp|ementat|on of Agreement on Trade |n Goods.
¯A|p" |nd|cates ¯agreed |n pr|nc|p|e."
ASEAN=Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons; BlMSTEO = Bay of Benga| ln|t|at|ve for Mu|t|-
Sectora| Techn|ca| and Econom|c Oooperat|on; OER = O|oser Econom|cs Re|at|ons for Austra||a
and New Zea|and; EFTA = European Free Trade Assoc|at|on; GOO = Gu|f Oooperat|on Oounc||;
|ao PDR = |ao Peop|e`s Democrat|c Repub||c; MEROOSÜR = Southern Oone Oommon Market;
P3 = OER and Oh||e; PRO = Peop|e`s Repub||c of Oh|na; PTA-D8 = Preferent|a| Tar|ff Arrangement-
Group of E|ght Deve|op|ng Oountr|es, |nc|ud|ng Bang|adesh, Egypt, lndones|a, lran, Ma|ays|a,
N|ger|a, Pak|stan, and Turkey; TPS-OlO = Trade Preferent|a| System-Organ|zat|on of ls|am|c
Oonference, |nc|ud|ng Ma|ays|a; Trans-Pac|fc SEP = Brune| Darussa|am, Oh||e, New Zea|and,
and S|ngapore Strateg|c Econom|c Partnersh|p; SAOÜ = South Afr|can Oustoms Ün|on; SOO =
Shangha| Oooperat|on Organ|zat|on.
Source: Tab|e 4 of Kawa| |2007ì.
But these agreements, as some may worry, are not part of a drive to
isolate Asia from the rest of the world. If designed properly, economic
regionalism can lead to deeper global integration (Kawai 2007). A
particularly strong motivation for those signing up to RTAs, argue
Estevadeordal and Suominen, is the concern about remaining outside the
proliferating network of RTAs around the world as well as in the region.
Asian countries do not want to be excluded from potential markets and
growth opportunities. But there continue to be concerns that the proliferation
of agreements will lead to a “noodle bowl” effect, reducing efficiency,
creating trade diversion, and unnecessarily complicating regional business
Conc|uded Under Ofñc|a| Negot|at|on Under Consu|tat|on/Study
Rep. of Korea-EFTA FTA (Sep.
Singapore-Pakistan (Aug. 2005) Thailand-Chile
Japan-Philippines EPA (signed
Sep. 2006)
Singapore-Peru (Feb. 2006) Thailand-MERCOSUR
PRC-Chile FTA (Oct. 2006) Singapore-GCC (Nov. 2006) Thailand-Pakistan
Taipei,China-El Salvador-
Honduras (Nov. 2006)
Singapore-Ukraine (May 2007)
Japan-Thailand EPA (signed
Apr. 2007)
Thailand-Bahrain (signed Dec.
Japan-Brunei Darussalam EPA
(signed June 2007)
Thailand-US (June 2004)
Rep. of Korea-US (signed June
Thailand-EFTA (Oct. 2005)
Japan-lndonesia EPA (signed
Aug. 2007)
Thailand-Peru (signed Nov. 2005)*
Japan-Chile EPA (Sep. 2007) TPS-OlC (Nov. 2005)
(Oct. 2007)
Malaysia-Pakistan FTA
(signed Nov. 2007)
Decade of Deve|opments
On the other hand, Estevadeordal and Suominen point out that the
rise of RTAs can also act as a catalyst for greater regional cooperation
as countries work together against potential negative externalities or the
possible transmission of “crises” across borders. Positive externalities from
RTAs can engender trust and institutionalization of cooperation, stimulating
further cooperation.
In Estevadeordal and Suominen’s view, Asian agreements have some of
the least restrictive concessions, including rules of origin (ROO) regimes.
Unlike the “straitjacket” ROO model that the European Union (EU) uses,
agreements in Asia and the Americas are marked by diversity, allowing for
the accommodation of RTA-specific idiosyncrasies. The regional agreements
have also employed such measures as short supply clauses to help producers
adjust to shocks in availability of interregional inputs.
Estevadeordal and Suominen go on to compare customs procedures,
investment service provisions, and other aspects of RTAs. They conclude
that Asian agreements are somewhat less encompassing in some of the major
trade-related provisions explored. These types of agreements imply that the
region may be better placed than other RTAs in allowing participants to take
advantage of changing global trends. History teaches us that it is important
to embed regional groupings in a broader geographic context to avoid the
risk of becoming closed blocs (Bergsten 2007). By taking this approach,
Asia could sweep under one umbrella the exploding proliferation of bilateral
and subregional preferential trade agreements throughout the region. It
would eliminate, in whole or in part, the increasing discrimination that such
pacts are introducing to the region.
The pulling together of agreements in Asia could follow a precedent set
by other megaregional trade negotiations that have proceeded in an area with
a number of preexisting RTAs. In these cases, the new agreement builds on
those already in existence, the EU being the most obvious example. While
Asia’s “noodle bowl” of agreements can be quite messy, the reality is that
regionalism is here to stay and policymakers must work within its confines.
Indeed, in Chapter VII by Bo and Woo, “A Composite Index of Economic
Integration in the Asia-Pacific Region,” the authors show that regionalism
and economic integration over and above that driven by RTAs have steadily
strengthened in the region over the past 15 years. Indeed, they argue, this
steady integration has created a need for consistent and reliable measures of
A useful approach to resolve this proliferation of regionalism is to
multilateralize regionalism and make the process as multilateral-friendly
l. Overv|ew
as possible (Bergsten 2007). One direction along this line is the creation of
an East Asia-wide FTA based on ASEAN+3 countries (East Asian FTA) or
ASEAN+6 countries (Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia)
by consolidating bilateral and plurilateral FTAs in the region (Kawai and
Wignaraja 2008).
Another direction is the formation of an FTA among
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members, i.e., an FTA of the
Asia-Pacific (Bergsten 2007). Under the latter direction, the need for such
transpacific institutions as APEC is only strengthened, according to Bo and
Woo. The challenge for such institutions is not so much the complications
that arise from the proliferation of East Asian RTAs but rather, as Bo
and Woo state, from the lack of institutional commitment to the regional
approach these organizations have at times displayed.
Thus, the main challenge for the region in the near term is to define a
future integration strategy that leverages the wave of reforms and RTAs
while retaining Asia’s already important gains from liberal global trade
and investment regimes. To build on this regionalism, it is important to
determine the exact nature of the integration Asia has been undergoing
and whether this level is sufficient to move into a multilaterization of
regionalism such as that called for above. Bo and Woo attempt to go beyond
conventional measures of integration by taking a spectrum of indicators to
arrive at a composite index. They point out that although there are many
single variable measures of regional economic integration, relatively little
work has been done on a composite index. To derive an index of integration,
Bo and Woo apply a method similar to that used by the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development in determining their Trade and
Development Index.
To include as much information as possible, Bo and Woo use a multi-
dimensional dataset. Given the diversity of the dataset, determining the
weights becomes a key element in the process. A good index carries the
essential information of the underlying data without bias toward one or a
handful of indicators. The authors argue that by using a two-stage principle
components analysis (PCA) to obtain the weights, such bias is minimized.
The first stage measures the dispersion of the sample countries’ main
macroeconomic indicators while the second stage applies indicators of trade,
ASEAN countries consist of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s
Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet
Nam. The “plus six” includes Japan, People’s Republic of China, Rep. of Korea, India,
Australia, and New Zealand.
Decade of Deve|opments
foreign direct investment, and tourism, as well as the convergence index to
compute the final composite index.
Seven measures are collected for a range of countries covering East
Asia, North America, Southeast Asia, and Oceania from the period 1990
through 2005. An important variation in this index is the exclusion of flows
between Asia-Pacific economies that are already part of a subregional unit.
Bo and Woo argue that the shortcoming of previous integration measures
is that they ignore the effects of such agreements and, as such, are an
overstatement of the level of integration in the region. Since most of the
studies measuring integration ignore the effects of these regional agreements
on an economy’s broader integration with the world, the chapter argues that
they provide an inaccurate reading of globalization.
Using their composite index, Bo and Woo find results consistent with
the anecdotal evidence that the level of economic integration in the region
is growing. From a broad view, the relative ranking of the level of economic
integration in the Asia-Pacific region has remained remarkably steady over
the time period examined. Individual economies like Singapore and Hong
Kong, China are shown to be most integrated with the region, while the US
and Canada are the least integrated with Asia and the Pacific.
The ASEAN economies are the most integrated in the Asia-Pacific
region (that is, they rely most heavily on the Asia-Pacific regional market),
followed by Australia, whose level of integration is close to the regional
average. The PRC is next but its level has been declining in the past
five years as it increases its links with Hong Kong, China; Macau; and
Taipei,China as well as expands its markets in the EU.
The authors point out that while there may be some issues with the
PCA measure, such as the overreliance on sample-dependent weights, the
problems can be overcome using different permutations such as a “chained
index.” In the end, the importance of accurately measuring the state of
integration in the Asia and Pacific region is too important not to try.
So it would appear that several metrics show the Asia and Pacific region
to be highly integrated. It remains a challenge to find a clear path through
the proliferating approaches to this integration—whether it be through RTAs
or subregional “cooperatives”—to join together under a transparent and
effective policy framework in promoting an inclusive, equitable, sustainable
l. Overv|ew
4. ldentifying Asia's ChaIIenges
The final session of the conference was a lively panel discussion on the
future directions for the Asia and Pacific region as well as the identification
of the most pressing issues that will confront the region in the next decade.
Seven panelists—Mohamed Ariff, Iwan Azis, Thanong Bidaya, Siow Yue
Chia, Justin Yifu Lin, Aftab Seth, and Hiroshi Watanabe—were asked to
identify challenges and issues that should be the focus for research, in-depth
study, and capacity building for the public sector.
The major issues can be loosely grouped into four areas of concern
(although there is considerable overlap):
(i) Needs for improved management, such as the serious challenges of
exchange rate management and managing domestic debt in a region
whose experience is mostly with foreign debt.
(ii) Needs related to institutional structures, such as the need for
financial restructuring through the development of a bond market
and the need to identify the best institutional framework to
deal with the twin concerns of poverty reduction and economic
(iii) The importance of understanding interactions between issues and
the special challenges they pose, such as the link between macro
policies and poverty; the invasive economic implications of high
levels of liquidity and excess savings, requiring a study on flows
of funds; and the interaction between environmental sustainability
and demographic change and their profound impacts on economic
(iv) The changing dynamics of the region, including the impact of the
rise of India and PRC in comparative advantage and labor markets;
the need to generate and then retain intellectual capacity in the
region; and the impact of the rise of capital-intensive industries,
especially in PRC and India, and its implications for social and
economic policy.
Having recovered from the 1997–1998 financial crisis, Asia and the
Pacific region is again the most dynamic growth center of the world
economy. This growth has led to significant poverty reduction throughout
the region. It has also stemmed from and benefited from the strong economic
interdependence through market-driven integration the region has achieved.
Decade of Deve|opments
ADBI looks forward to addressing the next decade of challenges that lie
ahead for Asia and the Pacific to help the region reach its full potential.
Many of the major themes identified fit in well with ADB’s new Long-
Term Strategic Framework, which was being formulated at the time of the
conference. This document, which outlines ADB’s strategic priorities until
2020, states that in pursuing a vision of a poverty-free Asia and Pacific,
ADB must achieve inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable
growth, and regional integration. And it can achieve these objectives through
five key drivers of change: the private sector, good governance and capacity
development, gender equity, knowledge, and partnerships. Each of these
drivers is covered in the pressing issues identified above.
This volume consists of the chapters outlined above as well as comments
provided by chapter discussants and the panel discussion.
l. Overv|ew
Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson, and J. Robinson. 2001. The Colonial Origins
of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation. American
Economic Review 91 (5): 1,369–1,401.
Acemoglu, D., and J. Robinson. 2002. Economic Backwardness in Political
Perspective. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of
Economics Working Paper No. 02-13.
Asian Development Bank (ADB). 2007. Toward a New Asian Development
Bank in a New Asia: Report of the Eminent Persons Group to the
President of the Asian Development Bank. Manila: ADB.
Ali, I., and J. Zhuang. 2007. Inclusive Growth toward a Prosperous Asia:
Policy Implications. ERD Working Paper No. 97. Manila: ADB.
Baldwin, R. 2006. Multilateralising Regionalism: Spaghetti Bowls as
Building Blocs on the Path to Global Free Trade. Centre for Economic
Policy Research Discussion Paper No. 5,775. London: Centre for
Economic Policy Research. Retrieved from http://www.cepr.org/pubs/
Bergsten, C.F. 2007. Toward a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific. Presented
at the Japan Economic Foundation and Peterson Institute for International
Economics New Asia-Pacific Trade Initiatives, Washington, DC.
Kawai, M. 2007. Evolving Economic Architecture in East Asia. Kyoto
Economic Review 76 (1, June): 9–52.
Kawai, M., and G. Wignaraja. 2008. Regionalism as an Engine of
Multilateralism: A Case for a Single East Asian FTA. Working Paper
Series on Regional Economic Integration, No. 14 (February). Manila:
Rodrik, D. 1998. Where did all the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social
Conflict and Growth Collapse. NBER Working Paper W6350.
Roland-Holst, D., J.P. Verbiest, and F. Zhai. 2005. Growth and Trade
Horizons for Asia: Long-term Forecasts for Regional Integration. Asian
Development Review 22 (2): 76–107.
Sharan, D., B.N. Lohani, M. Kawai, and R. Nag. 2007. ADB’s Infrastructure
Operations: Responding to the Client Needs. Manila: ADB.
Decade of Deve|opments
Shatz, H.J., and D. Tarr. 2006. Exchange Rate Overvaluation and Trade
Protection: Lessons from Experience. In Trade Policy and WTO
Accession for Economic Development in Russia and the CIS: A
Handbook, edited by David Tarr. Washington, DC: World Bank Institute.
Yu, Y.D. 2007. PRC’s Macroeconomic Management: Issues and Solutions.
Presentation as part of ADBI Distinguished Seminar Series, post-
event statement retrieved from http://www.adbi.org/event/2252.
World Bank. 2005. World Development Report 2006. Washington, DC:
World Bank.
World Bank. 2007. East Asia Update. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Part I
As|an Cr|s|s 10 Years On:
F|nanc|ng for the Future
II. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
Peter A. Petri
Asia already produces more than one fifth of world output, and is likely to
grow much faster than the rest of the world over the next decade or so. How
will its growth be financed?
More specifically, we examine whether world savings will be large
enough—at roughly constant cost—to finance global growth including
Asia’s continued expansion. If savings turn out to be insufficient, Asia’s—
and the world’s—investment or consumption trajectory would have to adjust
downward, under the pressure of rising capital costs. If savings turn out to
be excessive, world demand could turn sluggish, and would need to adjust
(or be adjusted through policy measures) upward under the pressure of
falling capital costs. Even relatively small variations in world savings could
lead to significant adjustment pressures; at times the world is thought to be
short on savings, and at times to be awash in liquidity. In the early 1990s,
for example, the global savings rate dropped to 21.6% and a substantial
economic literature emerged concerning the global “capital shortage.” In
2006, with world savings up to 23.6% (the highest in a decade), discussion
turned to a world “savings glut.” In fact, world savings rates have remained
within a two percent range for two decades.
This chapter explores the financing requirements of Asian economies,
looking ahead to 2020. Because the global financial environment more than
a decade from now will be shaped by economic and political developments
that cannot be foreseen, this kind of analysis is inherently speculative. We
therefore use a scenario approach, rather than specific projections, to explore
potential growth trajectories and their associated capital requirements. The
purpose of the exercise is to shed light on the evolution of the components
of the world’s savings balance, and in the process, to form some judgment
about what pressures are likely to build on financial markets and policies.
To look ahead, our principal conclusions are that Asia’s robust
propensity for savings and its growing weight in the world economy
will tend to generate high global savings. When added to tighter budget
constraints in the United States and potentially high savings from primary-
goods exporters, global capital markets are likely to face conditions
usually associated with a “savings glut.” In other words, the challenge will
be to sustain demand, rather than to finance investment. From a policy
The study deals with 12 Asian economies that produce 97% of total Asian gross domestic
product (GDP). The economies are identified in subsequent tables.
Decade of Deve|opments
perspective, these pressures argue for vigorous initiatives to build demand in
Asia—for example, in consumption in the People’s Republic of China (PRC),
and in investment in Southeast Asia.
Section 1 introduces the chapter’s scenario methodology. Section 2
develops scenario estimates of Asian savings and investment. Section
3 places these in a global context, developing scenario estimates of the
evolution of global net savings. Section 4 offers brief conclusions.
1. MethodoIogicaI Approach
Asia is important in global savings and investment and will become more so
by 2020. In 2005, Asia generated one third of world savings and absorbed
29% of world investment, yet produced only 22% of world output. In other
words, Asia used more than its share of capital, but saved still more—
in effect financing significant investment elsewhere. We will examine
the evolution of this equation by breaking it into parts and analyzing its
components. Specifically, global net savings will be “dissected” by country
and by analytical component. We will then project these pieces forward
under several different assumptions (or scenarios).
1.1 Base||ne Data
In 2005, world capital flowed “uphill” in the sense that it moved from
low- to high-income economies (Figure 2.1). The advanced economies of
the world (especially the United States) imported about US$0.7 trillion in
capital, with US$0.4 trillion coming from Asia, and another US$0.3 trillion
from emerging markets outside Asia (principally the Middle East).
Figure 2.1 Wor|d Savings and Investment 2005 (US$ Bi||ion}
Source: lMF. 2007 |Octoberì. Wor|d Econom|c Out|ook Database.
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
While Asian savings were generally high, there was considerable
dispersion in savings performance across the region (Table 2.1), with Japan
and PRC contributing approximately two thirds of the region’s overall net
savings. Singapore; Malaysia; and Hong Kong, China were the region’s
biggest net savers relative to income. India, Thailand, and Viet Nam were
net borrowers, but borrowed relatively little. Asia overall had net savings
equal to nearly 4% of income. Nearly all Asian economies (except for
the Philippines) had savings rates above the world average. PRC’s and
Singapore’s savings rates were no less than twice as high.
Tab|e 2.1 Savings and Investment 2005
ASEAN = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons, GDP = gross domest|c product, GDOF = gross
domest|c cap|ta| format|on, NlE = new|y |ndustr|a||z|ng economy.
Sources: ADB. Key lnd|cators; lMF 2007. Wor|d Econom|c Out|ook Database.
Savings, investment, and growth are linked by accounting identities and
the equations of growth for the world as a whole; they are not so constrained
for any country or region in the modern global economy. High savings rates
can coexist with low investment rates, and vice versa. For example, in 2005,
Singapore’s national savings rate was 49% while its domestic investment
rate was 19%—so a full 30% of Singaporean national income was invested
abroad. The relationship between investment and growth is tighter, but
evidence provided below suggests that it, too, is variable when evaluated
over short time periods.
1.2 Scenar|o Approach
We use scenarios to identify plausible future outcomes rather than
attempting a specific projection. We build these scenarios for each Asian
Net Savings GDCF Net Sav.
GDP Savings GDCF Saving /GDP /GDP /GDP
As|a 9,670 3,160 2,808 352 32.7 29.0 3.6
Japan 4,557 1,230 1,066 164 27.0 23.4 3.6
Emerg|ng As|a 5,113 1,929 1,742 188 37.7 34.1 3.7
People's Republic of China 2,225 1,045 982 63 47.0 44.1 2.8
lndia 728 212 219 -7 29.1 30.1 (1.0 )
NIEs 1,428 457 365 92 32.0 25.6 6.4
Hong Kong, China 177 59 36 22 33.0 20.5 12.5
Rep. of Korea 788 262 237 25 33.3 30.1 3.2
Singapore 117 57 22 35 48.6 18.6 30.0
Taipei,China 346 80 70 10 23.0 20.2 2.8
ASEAN-5 732 216 176 40 29.5 24.0 5.5
lndonesia 281 74 62 12 26.3 22.2 4.1
Malaysia 131 57 26 31 43.3 19.8 23.5
Philippines 98 20 15 4 20.1 15.7 4.4
Thailand 177 52 56 -4 29.4 31.6 (2.2 )
viet Nam 46 14 16 -2 30.2 35.4 (5.2 )
Decade of Deve|opments
economy from three components: savings rates, capital/output ratios, and
growth rates (and specifically low, medium, and high assumptions for each).
The potential number of alternatives (324 = 3 × 3 × 3 × 12 countries) is
large, so we will analyze only the “all-medium” scenario and some extreme
outcomes, such as the aggregate scenario (over all countries and factors)
that leads to the highest net savings for Asia. Ranges constructed this way
are generously wide. For example, if scenarios were combined randomly
instead of selected to produce extreme outcomes, factors favorable to net
savings would be paired with others that are not, and countries with positive
savings outcomes would be combined with others that have negative ones. If
factors and countries do not move in parallel, the aggregates fall well within
the extreme range, as opposing effects offset each other.
After projecting net savings for Asian countries, we turn to explore their
viability in the global context (Section 2). Whether Asian projections are
feasible depends on the balances in the rest of the world. Even in 2020, Asia
will represent only one quarter of world output, so it could run a significant
net surplus or deficit—if the rest of the world is willing. But if Asia’s
projected net savings are inconsistent with rest-of-the-world borrowings,
then the scenarios will not be realized—some combination of market and
policy adjustments will have to “restore” the global savings and investment
More formally, we construct net savings projections for Asia using the
NS = (s−i)Y
, (1)
NS = net national (regional) savings,
s = savings rate,
i = investment rate,
g = growth rate,
Y = national (regional) income, and
subscript 0 indicates initial level (no subscript indicates 2020
The variables of this equation are the building blocks of the analysis
that follows. Considerable theoretical and empirical literature exists on the
determinants of these variables. That, in turn, provides a strategy for “pushing
back” the level of explanation to a deeper layer of (hopefully) exogenous
determinants, and thus for developing forecasts. This task is taken up in
Section 2.
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
2. Components of Asian Net Savings
We now implement the scenario approach by computing alternative values
for the three major components of Equation 1—namely savings rates,
investment rates, and growth rates—for the 12 Asian economies examined
in this chapter. Our strategy is to review the theoretical determinants of
each component and collect information on the likely evolution of these
deeper factors. At the end of this section, the results of the analysis are then
combined using Equation 1 to develop scenarios of net savings.
2.1 Sav|ngs Rates
Savings rates are predictable and well researched. Extensive applied work
in this area was recently reviewed in a World Bank “meta study” (Loayza,
Schmidt-Hebbel, and Servén 2000), which also filled gaps with new
research. That study identified the following factors as critical determinants
of savings rates:
• Persistence. Savings rates stay put over time. The inertial component
may reflect cultural or institutional factors. For example, in our Asian
dataset, the standard deviation of savings rates among economies was
approximately nine percentage points, while the standard deviation of
changes in the savings rate over a decade was only two percentage points.
• Income. Higher incomes lead to higher savings for low-income
economies. The relationship appears to plateau at higher incomes,
and is generally stronger for lower-income economies than for those
at middle incomes. In developing countries, a doubling of per capita
income generally leads to a 10-percentage-point increase in savings from
disposable income.
• Growth. More rapid growth increases savings. This is not predicted
by theory; consumption smoothing, for example, suggests higher
consumption from income (and hence lower savings rates) if incomes
are rising rapidly. The observed result more likely reflects consumption
inertia—people take time to regard higher incomes as permanent and to
adopt higher consumption levels. The World Bank survey concluded that,
on average, a one-percentage-point increase in the growth rate leads to a
one-percentage-point increase in the national savings rate.
• Demographics. Several channels connect the population structure with
savings, including lifecycle effects and changes in productivity and
dependency ratios. The effects also depend on how society supports the
Decade of Deve|opments
aged, and on other behavioral characteristics, such as the desire to leave
bequests. The World Bank survey concluded that a one-percentage-point
increase in the young-dependency ratio reduces savings by 0.3 percentage
points, and a one-percentage-point increase in the aged-dependency ratio
reduces savings by 0.6 percentage points.
• Uncertainty. General economic uncertainty, including income volatility
and inflation, contributes to higher savings rates. Uncertainty at the
individual level, due a lack of health or social insurance and other safety
nets, does so as well.
In addition to private savings (as discussed above), national savings
also include public savings. However, the latter may be offset by opposite
changes in private savings, to the extent that the population anticipates the
collective cost of servicing public debt. But this “Ricardian equivalence”
holds strictly only if individuals have infinite planning horizons, that is,
value the welfare of their children as much as their own. Empirical studies
find that public savings are offset partially, at rates varying from 30% to
These theoretical determinants of savings rates can be summarized in
the equation:
s = so
+ α (y − y
) /y
+ β (g − g
) + γ (d − d
) + δ (s
* − s
), (2)
s = savings rate,
y = per capita income,
g = growth rate,
d = dependency ratio,
α, β, γ, δ = constants,
subscript 0 indicates initial level (no subscript indicates 2020 level), and
superscript * indicates a convergence target.
The terms of the equation account for (i) persistence, through the effect
of the initial savings rate for 1999–2005, (ii) income changes, (iii) growth
changes, and (iv) changes in the dependency ratio. In addition, we include
a term that assumes some gradual “regression to the mean” of international
norms, as reflected in the region’s average savings rate. (We do not include
government savings because we know how to project them, and because
they may be offset by changes in private savings.)
Values for the parameters of Equation 2 can be derived from the World
Bank’s meta estimates. We assume: α = 0.1 for y < US$3,000, 0.05 for
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
US$3,000 < y < US$6,000, and 0 for y > US$6,000; β = 1; γ = -0.5; and
δ = 0.5. The value of δ is arbitrary, and assumes that half of the difference
between the nation’s initial savings rate and the target will disappear by
Values for independent variables are based on the following
• Income levels (y). Assumptions about income growth rates are described
below. In each projection scenario, savings rates are used in conjunction
with a particular income growth assumption, which is then used to
calculate the term (y – y
• Growth rates (g). As above, this term reflects the growth assumption
incorporated into a particular scenario.
• Dependency ratios (d). Asian demographic change is explored in detail
by Mason, Lee, and Lee (2007). They calculate an “economic support
ratio” (Figure 2.2) as the effective labor power of a population divided
by its effective consumption requirements. Both the labor power and
consumption requirements constructs are weighted averages of the age
distribution; labor power uses incomes as weights and consumption
requirements use consumption by age as weights. A rising index means
that labor power is increasing relative to consumption requirements.
Most of Asia’s demographic drama will unfold beyond the time horizon
of this study, sometime between 2020 and 2050 (Figure 2.2). Japan is an
exception: its economic support ratio peaked early in the 1980s and will
fall by a further 7% by 2020. The support ratios for Republic of Korea
and PRC are near their peak, but will not change significantly between
2005 and 2020. The support ratios for Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) members and India are still rising, and will increase by
about 10% by 2020.
Total dependency ratios (as used in the World Bank estimates) move
inversely with the support ratios calculated by Mason, Lee, and Lee and
are typically around 40%. For purposes of scenario analysis, we thus
calculate that over the next 15 years, demographic factors will (i) reduce
Japan’s average savings rate by 1.4 percentage points (=0.07*0.40/2),
(ii) increase ASEAN and Indian savings rates by 2 percentage points
(=0.10*0.40/2), and (iii) leave other Asian savings rates unaffected.
Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 2.2 Economic Support Ratio. Workers/Consumers
ASEAN = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons.
Source: Mason, |ee, and |ee 2007.
• Target savings rates (s*) National savings rates are assumed to converge
to international norms, defined in terms of the savings rates of peer
countries. We specify low, medium, and high convergence targets in
terms of the distributions of peer savings rates, as follows:
* = 25
percentile of peer countries = 15% for Japan, 26% for others
* = 50
percentile of peer countries = 19% for Japan, 30% for
* = 75
percentile of peer countries = 23% for Japan, 38% for others
Japan’s peer group is the G7 countries, while the 11 other Asian
economies comprise each other’s peer group. By these scenarios, savings
rates will fall to the lower quartile of the peer distribution, regress to its
mean, or rise to its upper quartile. Convergence to these different targets
provides a range of possible future rates.
These values for the parameters and independent variables of Equation
2 are then used to calculate three alternative savings rate scenarios, as
reported in Table 2.2.
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
Tab|e 2.2 Savings Rate Scenarios
ASEAN = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons, NlE = new|y |ndustr|a||z|ng economy.
Note: Reg|ona| va|ues are s|mp|e means.
The scenarios suggest that Asian savings rates will change relatively
little, overall, between now and 2020. But this constancy is the result of
substantial offsetting changes in the savings of different economies; there
will be substantial change in the composition of Asian savings (Table 2.2).
Japan’s savings rates, and to a lesser extent those of the PRC, are likely to
fall, while those of India and ASEAN are likely to rise. The assumptions
that lead to these results will be further discussed when overall regional net
savings are derived in Table 2.5.
2.2 Investment Rates
The other side of the net savings “scissor” consists of the investment rate,
which is in turn related to the productivity of capital and the country’s
growth rate. A simple accounting identity defines this relationship: the
investment rate (capital formation divided by gross domestic product [GDP])
is equal to a country’s expected growth rate multiplied by its incremental
capital-output ratio (ICOR, or capital per unit of additional output):
i = g * ICOR, (3)
i = investment rate = dK/Y,
g = growth rate = dY/Y, and
ICOR = incremental capital-output ratio = dK/dY.
Although ICORs vary substantially from year to year (the connection
between output and capital is subject to short-term variations in the
Actual Low Medium High
1999-05 Con>25% Con>50% Con>75%
As|a 31.3 30.7 31.6 33.4
Japan 26.9 22.6 23.5 24.5
Emerg|ng As|a 31.7 31.4 32.4 34.2
People's Republic of China 41.7 37.9 38.8 40.7
lndia 26.1 28.1 29.1 31.0
NIEs 33.4 31.6 32.6 34.5
Hong Kong, China 31.1 29.9 30.9 32.7
Republic of Korea 33.5 31.7 32.6 34.5
Singapore 45.3 40.5 41.5 43.4
Taipei,China 23.9 24.5 25.4 27.3
ASEAN-5 29.4 30.6 31.6 33.4
lndonesia 26.4 28.4 29.4 31.2
Malaysia 44.1 41.7 42.6 44.5
Philippines 18.2 22.2 23.2 25.1
Thailand 30.1 31.2 32.1 34.0
viet Nam 27.9 29.5 30.5 32.3
Decade of Deve|opments
utilization of capital), they tend to be much more stable over longer periods
of time and across countries. For example, the standard deviation of ICORs
across the 11 emerging Asian economies for the 1999–2005 period was only
0.4, but standard deviations for shorter sub-periods within this overall period
(e.g., for 1999–2001 and 2002–2005) were two to three times as high.
The determinants of ICORs can be derived from the production function:
dK/dY = (1 - f
dL/dY) / f
, (4)
L = labor,
= marginal product of labor,
= marginal product of capital, and
dK/dY =ICOR.
The numerator is the marginal income share of capital and the
denominator is the rental rate of capital. If global capital markets are
integrated and the rental rate is equalized, then ICORs will vary across
countries only with the marginal income share of capital. With a Cobb-
Douglas production function they would be constant. With imperfect capital
markets and less elastic production functions, ICORs would tend to be
higher in countries with lower rates of return. For scenario analysis, we
assumed that ICORs would converge to the low (25th percentile), medium
(50th percentile), or high (75th percentile) in the distribution of ICORs of
peer countries. The values of these calculations are reported in Table 2.3.
These values are later used together with growth assumptions in Equation 3
to derive alternative investment scenarios.
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
Tab|e 2.3 Incrementa| Capita|/Output Ratio Scenarios
ASEAN = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons, NlE = new|y |ndustr|a||z|ng economy.
Note: Reg|ona| va|ues are s|mp|e means.
The message of Table 2.3 is that ICORs do not vary much across
countries or scenarios, reflecting their stability in the historical data.
The only ICOR projected to change substantially is Japan’s, which was
very high due to the underutilization of Japanese capital during the “lost
decade.” Aside from Japan, ICORs play a modest role in distinguishing
scenarios’outcomes from each other.
2.3 Growth Rates
In autarky, savings rates and ICORs would play an important role in
determining growth rates. In an open economy, however, a country’s growth
rate is freed from this constraint, since capital flows permit investment and
growth rates to diverge. Thus growth is rather determined by perceived
investment opportunities—what John Maynard Keynes called the “animal
spirits” of investors, or what in current terminology is sometimes called
economic dynamism. This vague concept reflects the availability of
resources complementary to capital (including labor and know-how) and the
investment climate, which includes elements such as the macroeconomic
environment and the regulatory framework. Factors that will play an
especially important role in defining Asia’s investment opportunities in the
next decade will include:
• Dynamism of consumption demand (to take up potential slack in export
• Stability of financial and social conditions;
Actual Low Medium High
1999-05 Con>25% Con>50% Con>75%
As|a 5.8 5.2 5.4 5.6
Japan 17.3 12.4 12.8 13.6
Emerg|ng As|a 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.9
People's Republic of China 4.9 4.7 4.8 5.0
lndia 4.1 4.3 4.4 4.6
NIEs 4.9 4.7 4.8 5.0
Hong Kong, China 4.6 4.5 4.6 4.9
Republic of Korea 5.1 4.8 4.9 5.1
Singapore 4.6 4.5 4.6 4.8
Taipei,China 5.2 4.8 4.9 5.1
ASEAN-5 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.9
lndonesia 5.0 4.7 4.8 5.0
Malaysia 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.7
Philippines 4.2 4.4 4.5 4.7
Thailand 5.1 4.8 4.9 5.1
viet Nam 4.6 4.5 4.6 4.9
Decade of Deve|opments
• Manageability of environmental constraints;
• Investments in skills, knowledge, and innovation; and
• Sustained open global trading system.
These factors are captured in the equation:
g = g
+α(p - p
) +δ(g
* - g
), (5)
g = growth rate,
p = population growth rate,
α, δ = constants,
subscript 0 indicates initial level (no subscript indicates 2020 level), and
superscript * indicates a convergence target.
The target growth rate variable acts as a proxy for the “normal”
investment environment, and we assume that each country in the region will
approach it over time. As discussed below, the concept is operationalized
by selecting growth rates from the distribution of growth rates currently
observed in the region.
Values for the parameters and variables of Equation 5 are based on the
stylized facts of production functions and other estimates. We used α = 2/3
(labor’s share of output) for the newly industrializing economies (NIEs) and
Japan, and α = 1/3 for lower income economies. We set δ = 0.5. Population
growth rates were derived from ADB projections. The low, medium, and
high target growth rates—the tool used to differentiate the pessimistic,
median, and optimistic scenarios about the regional investment climate—
were set to the growth rates of the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles of the
distribution of the current growth rates of peer countries. These assumptions
were combined using Equation 5 and are presented in Table 2.4.
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
Tab|e 2.4 Growth Scenarios
NlE = new|y |ndustr|a||z|ng economy.
Note: Reg|ona| va|ues are gross domest|c product-we|ghted averages.
Overall Asian growth will be more rapid—under all scenarios—
than it was in 1999–2005.
This is so partly because Japan, the region’s
largest economy, is expected to recover, and because PRC and India, the
region’s fastest growing economies, are rapidly increasing their weight
in the Asian total. Of course, the current high level of optimism about the
region’s prospects is not likely to continue for another 15 years—there are
bound to be slowdowns and setbacks in Asia’s development as elsewhere.
Nevertheless, the fundamentals of Asian growth, as reflected in the several
parameter estimates in this study, appear to be strong, and the region is
increasingly relying on independent, regional engines of growth. Deepening
regional ties can be expected to reinforce this dynamism, further helping to
sustain the region’s exceptional growth in the intermediate future.
2.4 Net Sav|ngs
The building blocks of Asian net savings (Tables 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4) provide
a basis for constructing region-wide net savings estimates using Equation
2. The results are shown in Table 2.5. This table highlights a central finding
of this study, namely that Asia’s savings picture is likely to remain positive
through 2020. In the “all-medium” scenario, for example, every Asian
economy becomes a capital exporter by 2020. Even those scenarios that
Actual Low Medium High ADB
1999-05 Con>25% Con>50% Con>75% EPG
As|a 3.9 4.0 4.3 4.6 4.0
Japan 1.3 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.6
Emerg|ng As|a 6.6 5.7 6.1 6.5 5.7
People's Republic of China 8.5 6.6 6.9 7.3 6.6
lndia 6.3 5.5 5.8 6.2 5.5
NIEs 5.2 4.9 5.3 5.6 4.6
Hong Kong, China 5.1 4.8 5.2 5.6 4.7
Republic of Korea 5.8 5.2 5.5 5.9 4.7
Singapore 5.3 4.9 5.3 5.7 4.9
Taipei,China 3.9 4.2 4.6 5.0 4.0
ASEAN-5 4.7 4.7 5.0 5.4 4.9
lndonesia 4.2 4.4 4.7 5.1 5.2
Malaysia 5.4 5.0 5.3 5.7 5.6
Philippines 4.2 4.4 4.8 5.2 3.5
Thailand 4.9 4.7 5.1 5.5 4.6
viet Nam 7.0 5.8 6.1 6.5 5.4
Asian Development Bank also developed growth projections for a recent study. Its
scenario is very similar to the “low” growth scenario of this study, but since it was
prepared some time ago, ADB appears to have underestimated what appears to be the
accelerating dynamism of Asian economies.
Decade of Deve|opments
include assumptions biased against savings generate positive net savings for
the region as a whole.
Tab|e 2.5 Projected Savings and Investment, 2020
(Medium, Bi||. 2005 US$}
ASEAN = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons, GDOF = gross domest|c cap|ta| format|on,
GDP = gross domest|c product, NlE = new|y |ndustr|a||z|ng economy.
The PRC remains the region’s top capital supplier, but other countries
change places. India and the Republic of Korea, in particular, replace Japan
and Singapore as second and third top savers. India’s savings increase for
two reasons. First, at its low income, rapid growth and high per capita
income have a positive effect on savings. Second, India’s demographics—
with the country’s economic support ratio still rising—positively affect
savings, in contrast to middle- and high-income Asian countries, where
demographic changes have a neutral or negative impact. Coupled with
India’s large size, these factors help to make India an important source of
capital by 2020. Similar factors also operate in the lower income countries
of ASEAN, which also emerge as capital exporters.
At the other extreme, Japan’s net savings decline. This is partly because
Japan’s growth rate is projected to accelerate slightly (from the recent 1.3%
to 1.7% in the 2005–2020 period) and hence domestic investment grows,
and partly because its savings rate will be reduced by demographic changes
and by an assumed convergence toward developed-country norms (which
would imply a decline in the savings rate in Japan’s case). Singapore’s net
savings rate will also diminish for similar reasons, but in this case from very
high initial levels.
Net Net Sav.
GDP Savings GDCF Savings /GDP
As|a 18,223 5,665 4,831 834 4.6%
Japan 5,850 1,281 1,256 25 0.4%
Emerg|ng As|a 12,373 4,384 3,575 809 6.5%
People's Republic of China 6,068 2,318 1,995 323 5.3%
lndia 1,699 578 431 147 8.7%
NIEs 3,078 957 786 171 5.6%
Hong Kong, China 378 116 91 25 6.7%
Republic of Korea 1,769 558 480 78 4.4%
Singapore 253 95 62 34 13.3%
Taipei,China 678 188 153 35 5.1%
ASEAN-5 1,528 530 363 167 11.0%
lndonesia 563 196 129 67 12.0%
Malaysia 284 111 68 43 15.3%
Philippines 196 56 42 14 7.3%
Thailand 372 128 92 36 9.6%
viet Nam 113 39 32 7 6.0%
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
The range of outcomes is shown in Figure 2.3. The highest net
savings—US$1.7 trillion—are obtained when scenarios that yield high
savings (based on a high savings rate and a low ICOR) are combined with
relatively low growth rates. The lowest net savings are obtained when high
growth rates are combined with the low savings scenarios, but even in this
case the region’s overall net savings hover around zero rather than becoming
Figure 2.3 Asian Net Savings (¾ 2020 GDP}
GDP = gross domest|c product.
Interestingly, the “extreme” scenarios of Figure 2.3 are more likely than
some intermediate combinations. Consider, for example, the low growth/
high savings scenario. If Asian savings indeed remain high, then the region
is likely to lack the demand stimulus that would tend to drive a high growth
rate—in other words, high savings rates are likely to be associated with low
growth rates. And similarly, if Asian savings rates are low, then regional
consumption will likely stimulate more rapid growth. But regardless of the
detail, the analysis suggests that Asian savings are very likely to remain
positive (and substantially so under most assumptions); it would take an
unusual combination of assumptions, or put another way, a dramatic change
in policies or economic structure, to yield outcomes in which Asia has low
net savings.
Decade of Deve|opments
3. Asian Savings in GIobaI Context
Asia emerged as an exporter of capital under all but one scenario examined
in the previous section. But will the rest of the world absorb its savings?
And if so, what interregional capital flows will result? To answer these
questions, one would ideally need an analysis similar to that of Section 1
for the rest of the world. That is beyond the scope of this chapter, but this
section nevertheless tries to marry the Asian projections with at least rough
estimates for the savings position of other countries.
For the world outside Asia, we constructed scenarios using a simpler,
less information-intensive framework. We divided the world into
four regions (outside Asia) and assume that these (i) follow the Asian
Development Bank’s growth scenario, and (ii) will have net savings rates
consistent with their historical distribution of rates as observed since 1980.
We then defined the medium scenario for other regions as their historical
mean net savings rate; the low scenarios as the mean rate less one standard
deviation; and the high scenario as the mean rate plus one standard
deviation. From these assumptions net savings levels were derived and
compared to the Asian net savings brackets developed in Section 2 (Table
2.6). Note that the low and high scenarios constructed this way are extreme:
they envision all four regions experiencing relatively low (or high) savings
compared to their historical experiences, rather than the more probable mix
of low, medium, and high rates.
Tab|e 2.6 Asian and G|oba| Net Savings, 2020
GDP = gross domest|c product.
Notes: Reg|ona| net sav|ngs are |ndependent|y projected and do not add to zero.
Growth rates |exc|ud|ng As|aì are based on As|an Deve|opment Bank project|ons.
Savings and investment tend to be equal in Europe and emerging
countries (excluding Asia), and essentially fluctuate near zero. The net
savings rates of other advanced economies are usually positive, but their
relatively small scale limits their impact. The United States and Asia aside,
world net savings would be within plus or minus US$0.5 trillion, or within
plus or minus 1% of global income.
GDP (US$B) Net Savings/GDP (%) Net Savings (US$2005 Bill.)
2020 Low Medium High Low Medium High
World 72,097 - - - - - -
European Union 19,906 -0.8 -0.1 0.5 -155 -27 101
United States 19,944 -4.7 -3.1 -1.6 -941 -625 -310
Other Advanced (ex Asia) 3,033 -0.7 3.3 7.3 -21 101 222
Emerging (ex Asia) 10,991 -2.4 0.0 2.5 -267 4 274
World (ex Asia) -1,383 -548 287
Asia 18,223 -0.1 4.6 9.2 -12 834 1,673
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
The United States runs potentially large deficits of US$0.3–0.9 trillion.
But this is derived from historical data that may not be predictive. Recent
US deficits are not sustainable indefinitely, so the low end of the historical
range represents the most likely future outcome. With the US included,
global net savings (excluding Asia) would range from negative US$1.4 to
positive US$0.3 trillion, with the upper end being more probable.
The Emerging group includes most oil-exporting economies, and might
be expected to have high savings. The scenarios do not fully capture this,
except in the “high” case, since the historical period from which the savings
rate scenarios are drawn covers a period when oil prices were generally low.
Thus the Emerging group, like the US, is more likely to be on the “high”
savings end of its alternatives, assuming, as is likely, that oil prices will
remain at current high levels.
What combinations of Asian and rest-of-the-world scenarios add up to
a rough balance for the world as whole? Of all combinations reported in
Table 2.7, world savings are roughly balanced along the diagonal that runs
from the lower-left to the upper-right corner of the table, in which each
combination generates a relatively small US$0.3 trillion notional world
surplus. (A surplus on this scale can be avoided with modest market-driven
Tab|e 2.7 Potentia| Wor|d Savings (US$2005 Tri||ion}
Major global adjustments would be required if some combinations of
scenarios materialized, including especially the upper-left and lower-right
corners. In the lower-right corner, high Asian savings are paired with high
rest-of-the-world savings (say, because the United States reduces its deficit
and high oil prices lead Emerging economies to relative high savings),
and the result is a notional world surplus of US$2 trillion, or 3% of world
income. By historical standards, this is a “savings glut” three times as large
as the one the world is experiencing today. Similarly, the low-low scenario
would represent a capital shortage of US$1.4 trillion, or 50% larger than the
savings decline of the 1990s.
The outcomes of various scenario combinations are, of course, not
equally probable. For example, the low and high rows and columns are less
likely than the middle ones, since different countries in each group are likely
Rest-of-the-World Net Savings
Low Medium High

Asian net

Low -1.4 -0.6 0.3

Medium -0.5 0.3 1.1
High 0.3 1.1 2.0
Decade of Deve|opments
to have offsetting savings results. All else equal, the right-hand column
(high rest-of-the-world savings scenarios) is also more likely than others,
given the probable reduction of the US deficit and continued high oil and
other raw material prices. Using such impressionistic judgments, subjective
probabilities can be assigned to each cell—as shown, for example, in Table
2.8. With this particular set of probability assignments, Asia would have an
expected savings surplus of US$0.8 trillion, and the rest of the world would
have an expected savings deficit of US$0.5 trillion, yielding a net global
surplus of around US$0.3 trillion. This is an increase in notional global
savings—and so should be considered additive to the “balance” reflected in
current conditions—over what is already widely regarded as a situation of a
“savings glut.”
Tab|e 2.8 Subjective Probabi|ities of Wor|d Scenarios
The outcomes also differ in terms of the economic and political
adjustments they would require. For example, scenario combinations
toward the lower-left corner of the table involve much larger cross-regional
transfers (high Asian savings financing rest-of-the-world deficits) and
therefore greater economic and political tensions. The lower-left corner, for
example, although globally balanced, implies cross-regional capital flows
of US$1.6 trillion, or 2% of world income. Such flows would dwarf current
Asian investments, which already generate ample tension on issues such as
the accumulation of foreign reserves, investments in “strategic” corporate
assets, and the regulation of sovereign wealth funds.
4. ConcIusion and lmpIications
This chapter has attempted to put the financial requirements of sustained,
rapid Asian growth into global perspective. Its innovation was to bring
disparate data sources on savings and investment together into a common
global framework, and to project the resulting dataset with parameters
based on previous research and past distributions of various parameters.
The scenarios derived in this process do not identify a single outcome,
but present a range of plausible outcomes, and thus highlight the market
pressures that are likely to emerge in 2020. The following conclusions stand
Rest-of-the-World Net Savings
Low Medium High

Asian net

Low 7% 11% 10%

Medium 13% 21% 19%
High 5% 8% 7%
(i) The savings needed for optimistic scenarios of Asian economic
growth are likely to be available. High Asian savings, coupled with
improvements in the net savings of the United States and other
countries, will lead to relatively ample global supplies of capital.
(ii) Even with fast growth, Asian net savings will remain high, implying
substantial resource flows to other regions. This will have complex
economic and political consequences. Will Asian investors remain
confident enough in other economies to make those investments?
Will other economies continue to accept increasing Asian ownership
of their assets?
(iii) A significant part of the demand for Asian output will have to
originate elsewhere. Because other regions also need to improve
net savings, these pressures could also lead to tensions in trade and
macroeconomic policies. Ideally, the necessary adjustments will
happen gradually, and not as sudden, crisis-driven transitions.
(iv) The country composition of savings within Asia will shift toward the
region’s “newly accelerating” economies. Countries like Japan and
Singapore will save less (due to demographic and other changes),
while PRC, India, and ASEAN will save more (due to growth,
higher incomes, and more positive demographics).
Taken together, these findings suggest that the problem of “financing
Asia’s future” is not one of finding sufficient resources to meet investment
needs. Rather, it revolves around the implications of sustained excess
savings, or capital exports. In the macroeconomic realm, this raises the
question of whether world demand can be sustained. In the policy realm,
it suggests growing tensions about trade balances and increased Asian
ownership of assets in other regions.
If these speculations turn out to be accurate, policymakers in Asia
will face very different problems from those they faced in the past, and
from those that policymakers face in other regions. Their macroeconomic
challenge will be to raise consumption in order to create “regional” engines
of growth—that is, to develop regional consumption and investment in
order to offset declines in demand and investment in other regions. Policy
measures that could accomplish this include reducing the uncertainty faced
by individuals (e.g., through social insurance), improving financial markets
(e.g., relaxing the constraint of inconsistent income and consumption
streams), and keeping prices low through exchange rate appreciation and
other policies.
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
Decade of Deve|opments
Asia will need sophisticated new policies to manage its growth and the
consequences of its increased role in the global economy. While Asia has
ample resources for financing its growth, its institutions for investing its
savings and managing its relations with the rest of the world are in their
early stages of development. These will need to improve rapidly, lest they
become the binding constraint on Asian development.
ADB (Asian Development Bank). 2007. Key Indicators. Manila.
IMF (International Monetary Fund). 2007. World Economic Outlook
Database. Washington, DC.
Loayza, N., K. Schmidt-Hebbel, and L. Servén. 2000. Saving in Developing
Countries: An Overview. World Bank Economic Review 14 (3):
Mason, A., S-H. Lee, and R. Lee. 2007. Asian Demographic Change: Its
Economic and Social Implications. Processed. Asian Development
ll. F|nanc|ng As|an Growth
III. As|an Cr|s|s Ten Years On:
Po||cy Perspect|ves
Mohamed Ariff
Azidin Wan Abdul Kadir
1. lntroduction
It has been ten years since the Asian crisis occurred in 1997–1998, and the
countries severely affected by the crisis have recovered, though not to the
past level of performance. The four Asian countries most adversely hit by
the crisis, namely Thailand, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, and Malaysia,
have all bounced back to a more moderate economic growth closer to
potential growth rates. Griffith-Jones and Gottschalk (2006) estimated that
the foregone output in these four countries collectively reached US$917
billion between 1997 and 2002, or US$150 billion per year. If indirect
effects are accounted for, the costs of the crisis would be even larger.
There have been small or mini crises since the 1998 crisis, such as
the speculative pressures on the Thai baht in late 2006, and the market
volatility caused by the United States (US) subprime mortgage turmoil. The
US dollar continues to weaken against major currencies, including Asian
currencies, and there are concerns that this will have an impact on export
competitiveness. This could also be the adjustment process taking place to
correct the huge global imbalances.
Reforms have been carried out in the banking and corporate sectors,
changing the financial landscape in these four crisis-hit countries. It is hard
to judge the extent and effectiveness of these reforms, as the glass can be
seen as half-full or half-empty, but there is undoubtedly room for further
improvement. Distressed companies had to seek new partners or close down,
while smaller banks were taken over by stronger and larger banks or even
by foreign investors through mergers and acquisitions (M&As). Exposure to
foreign debts has been pared down and foreign borrowing is managed more
prudently, with greater risk management and prudential regulations being
With the sizeable trade surpluses and the resumption in inflows of
foreign direct investment (FDI), these countries have amassed an increasing
amount of foreign reserves. This is seen as a precautionary move to self-
insure or protect against another crisis whenever there is a large outflow
The authors wish to thank Akira Ariyoshi and Chia Siow Yue for their helpful comments.
Decade of Deve|opments
of portfolio funds. As they are highly open economies, Asian countries
continue to face the scary possibility of massive capital reversals.
2. Some Lessons from the 1997~199S Crisis
This section reviews some interesting studies that have discussed lessons
from the 1997–1998 crisis. Kawai, Newfarmer, and Schmukler (2005)
derived some lessons and prescriptions for policy guidance from the crisis.
To reduce the risk of a crisis, one obvious lesson pointed out by Kawai
(2005) was to adopt sound macroeconomic management, which may not
always be an easy task. This involves pursuing non-inflationary monetary
policy, maintaining sound fiscal policy, reducing cycles of boom and
busts, and managing public and foreign debt more prudently. Generally,
Asian countries have fared fairly well in terms of broad macroeconomic
management, but the main concerns are in the areas of managing capital
flows and strengthening fragile financial institutions (Grenville 2006).
Kawai et al. (2005) pointed out the need to strengthen the monitoring
of short-term capital flows while securing adequate foreign reserves and
avoiding an overvaluation of the currency. His crisis-prevention advice
included an orderly capital account liberalization. Asian countries should
also adopt a viable exchange rate regime that is in line with monetary policy
objectives. There is a need to build a resilient financial system and improve
corporate governance. This calls for, among other things, stronger regulatory
and supervisory frameworks of financial institutions, sound risk management
tools, and greater competition in the financial markets. Progress has been
made in the crisis-hit countries regarding these areas, but there are grounds
for further improvement. Kawai et al. (2005) noted that the crisis-hit countries
have moved quickly to implement mechanisms to remove bad loans and
recapitalize the banking sector. This has partly contributed to faster recovery
in the banking sector by allowing the resumption of lending activities.
There was also a sense of urgency in sorting out corporate insolvencies. In
managing the crisis, except for Malaysia, whose problems were considerably
smaller, the other three crisis-hit countries were forced to seek assistance
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and had to comply with strict
and painful conditionality, which was seen as excessive at times.
One lesson learned is that capital flows are very different from trade
flows. Capital flows are more volatile and less predictable. Therefore, the
liberalization of capital flows has to be done with greater care than trade
liberalization; it needs to be carried out based on the financial readiness and
robustness of the financial system. Proper regulations and monitoring are
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
also required to prevent excessive borrowing and imprudent use of foreign
In broad terms, in all four countries, excessive and imprudent corporate
activities have been seen as one of the key causes of the crisis. This was
compounded by the government’s support of these excesses. Thailand
was the center of the crisis, but Indonesia suffered the worst hit due to the
political crisis that followed. After a brief period of tight fiscal and monetary
policies that strangled their economies, all four economies reverted to
expansionary policies. Malaysia was not forced to seek IMF assistance
owing to its relatively smaller external debt exposure and sufficient external
reserves. Malaysia opted for the fixed exchange but this was seen as really
unnecessary and redundant due to its late timing, executed 15 months after
the breakout, when regional currencies were already stabilizing (Ariff
The difficult question to answer is whether the exchange rates of Asian
countries have become more flexible. There are some indications of more
flexibility in the exchange rates, but as Asian countries are mainly export-
oriented countries, the active management of the exchange rate is still
considered an important thrust of their macroeconomic policies. In most
cases, the level of flexibility has shown very little change, as measured in
terms of volatility.
The “fear of floating,” or the fear of volatility in exchange rates, is still
present in Asian countries because there is concern that the currency may
become overvalued and undermine export competitiveness. In the cases
of People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Malaysia, the fixed exchange
rate regime was converted to a managed float system on a tight leash.
What is more important is to monitor and deter a currency from becoming
overvalued. Asian currencies had become overvalued prior to the crisis due
to informal pegging to the US dollar, reminiscent of exchange rate targeting.
The recent weakening in the US dollar has posed a different challenge in
that Asian currencies have appreciated against the greenback. Coupled with
the faltering US economy in late 2007, there is worry that this may affect
export competitiveness and affect future growth rates.
As a precautionary move to protect against speculative attacks, Asian
countries have been accumulating large amounts of foreign reserves. The
large reserves are not optimal and involve some costs if the returns on
them are less than debt servicing. After experiencing the pain of strict
conditionality of the IMF and the limited regional assistance during the
crisis, Asian countries resorted to storing reserves as self-insurance against
Decade of Deve|opments
large exchange rate swings. Most of these reserves are investment in US
treasury papers. There are calls for central banks to diversify their reserve
holdings and to invest in higher return ventures.
Does having larger reserves reduce the vulnerability of these countries
to another crisis? The answer is yes and no. Much would depend on the
nature of the next crisis. Large reserves would help if the next crisis were to
witness large capital outflows. But large reserves could be a problem rather
than a solution, to the extent that such reserves attract speculative attacks
that can drain them (Ariff 2007b).
One of the causes of the 1997–1998 crisis was the rapid liberalization
of capital accounts and financial markets, when the local financial sector
had not developed sufficiently to handle large inflows of foreign money.
Asian countries have consented to and benefited from trade and investment
liberalization with open arms, but having an open capital account would
pose different kinds of challenges and risks. The capital accounts of
East Asian countries were liberalized without having proper prudential
regulations and effective supervision in place. This led to imprudent foreign
currency borrowing by local banks to fund excessive investment in property,
which is seen as a less productive investment than manufacturing. This
exercise was encouraged by the fact that currencies were largely tied to the
US dollar, which was riding high prior to the crisis. Large inflows of funds
through the capital accounts had also led to appreciation of the currencies
and overvaluation. The misalignment in currencies and the large exposure to
short-term foreign borrowing made these countries vulnerable to crisis.
3. A Review of the Macro lndicators
In this section, we review the trends of some of the major indicators, which
mainly reflect the macroeconomic conditions in these countries. It is easier
to conduct analysis on macro data, which are readily available across the
crisis-affected countries. We also look at indicators of banking and corporate
reforms whenever they are available.
Some of the questions discussed in the chapter are:
• The quasi-peg to the US dollar was said to have led to overvalued
currencies. Have the exchange rates become more flexible ten years after
the crisis?
• Asian economies have accumulated large amounts of reserves. What is
the motivation behind this buildup? Is it good to maintain large reserves?
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
• How far have reforms progressed in the banking and the corporate
• What has happened to private investment? Is the current level acceptable
or do these countries need more investment to raise their growth rates?
• The US dollar has been weakening against major currencies including the
Asian currencies. Is this progressing as a corrective mechanism on global
• What is the impact of higher oil prices?
The following descriptive data analysis is aimed at assessing whether
there has been improvement in the macro fundamentals of these countries.
Other indicators will be sought to assess the progress in banking and
corporate governance reforms. In general, the macroeconomic indicators
in these four crisis-hit countries have improved since the crisis. There are
concerns over the lower investment level and its impact on growth capacity
over the medium term. This also means that countries have to raise their
productivity levels to more than offset the lower investment rate in order
to gain better growth. There is little doubt that exports have contributed
significantly to the economic recovery of these countries.
3.1 Gross Domest|c Product Growth
Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth has stabilized after the recession
in 1998 and all countries have recovered toward a more moderate growth
path from the “above-potential” or “overheating” growth rates prior to the
crisis (Table 3.1). There appears to be some convergence in the growth rates
to around 5.0% to 6.0%, which pales in comparison to the pre-crisis rates.
The strong export growth, particularly in electronics and commodity exports,
has enabled the crisis-hit countries to recover faster, underpinned by the
steady global economic expansion. Fiscal expansion has been limited in the
three countries assisted by the IMF, but this was less the case for Malaysia,
which has the largest fiscal deficit among the four countries. Despite strict
IMF conditionality, the Republic of Korea’s GDP contraction in 1998 was
relatively smaller than the others. Although Malaysia implemented capital
controls temporarily and reverted to a fixed exchange rate regime, its
recovery trend was not particularly different from the three others.
Decade of Deve|opments
Tab|e 3.1 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries. Rea| GDP Growth (¾}
GDP = gross domest|c product.
Source: ADB var|ous years. +EY)NDICATORS.
An interesting point is why the Republic of Korea recovered so fast
and so impressively compared to the other countries. One major reason
behind its fast recovery was greater political will to undertake reforms. The
country also had less denial than the others toward the economic turmoil
it was confronting. In contrast, some of the other countries were still in a
denial mode, blaming the rest of the world without faulting themselves.
The Republic of Korea responded quickly and positively when others were
unsure what to do.
3.2 Exchange Rate
The nominal effective exchange rate (NEER) showed rather mixed trends
among the four countries (Figure 3.1). The Korean won appreciated by
12.7% during the period 2000–2006, while the rupiah and the ringgit
depreciated by 15.2% and 1.5%, respectively. The Thai baht remained
roughly flat during the reference period. The real effective exchange rate
(REER) of the four countries also exhibited somewhat mixed trends during
the period 2000–2006 (Figure 3.2). Indonesia’s and the Republic of Korea’s
REER rose sharply by 34.0% and 20.6% during 2000–2006, respectively,
raising questions of whether exports had been affected by the stronger
REER. In the case of Indonesia, the return of a stable political and economic
situation may have contributed to the stronger rupiah.
The Thai baht’s REER increased by 5.3%, but despite the moderate rise,
it was surprisingly hit by speculative attacks in late 2006. The Malaysian
ringgit, which was fixed against the US dollar up until July 2005, saw its
REER falling 1.2% during 2000–2006. However, with further weakening
of the US dollar in 2007, it was expected that the trade-weighted exchange
rates of these economies would continue to rise in 2007.

Year lndonesia Malaysia Thailand
Republic of
1997 4.7 7.3 -1.5 5.0
1998 -13.1 -7.4 -10.5 -6.7
1999 0.8 6.1 4.4 10.9
2000 4.9 8.5 4.8 9.3
2001 3.8 0.3 2.2 3.8
2002 4.5 4.4 5.3 7.0
2003 4.8 5.5 7.1 3.1
2004 5.0 7.2 6.3 4.7
2005 5.7 5.2 4.5 4.0
2006 5.5 5.9 5.0 5.0
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
Figure 3.1 Nomina| Effective Exchange Rate (2000 = 100}
Source: Bank for lnternat|ona| Sett|ements |BlSì.
Figure 3.2 Rea| Effective Exchange Rate (2000 = 100}
Source: Bank for lnternat|ona| Sett|ements |BlSì.
Studies (McCauley 2002) have shown that the volatility of Asian
currencies increased after the 1998 crisis. This is sometimes taken to
suggest greater flexibility in their exchange rate movements, although some
think that the increase is minor and does not represent more flexibility.
The data do illustrate a rise in volatility, but it is arguable whether there is
any significant change in Asia’s exchange rate regimes (Table 3.2). These
exclude the exceptional case of Malaysia, which reverted to a managed float
regime from a US dollar peg regime, and the PRC’s policy to widen the
band of the Chinese yuan.
Decade of Deve|opments
In general, exchange rates have become more flexible than before, with
greater convergence in the sense that movements are somewhat parallel. But
in terms of daily variability or volatility, the picture now is not very different
from before the crisis. What makes it converge in terms of movement?
This is largely due to the US dollar depreciation against nearly all major
currencies. What makes it more flexible? The exchange rate targeting that
was widely practiced prior to the 1997–1998 crisis is no longer practiced.
Tab|e 3.2 Exchange Rate Vo|ati|ity of Crisis-hit Countries
(Annua|ized Standard Deviation}
Source: B|oomberg; Oomputed by Ak|ra Ar|yosh|.
3.3 Investment Trends
One of the main reasons behind the more moderate GDP growth pace has
been attributed to the lower level of domestic investment. In 1997, the
investment rate was generally more than 30% of GDP for the crisis-hit
countries, and was at a high of 43% in the case of Malaysia. Since the crisis,
the investment level has dropped quite markedly, from the “over-investment”
in the pre-crisis period to a lower investment level after the crisis (Table 3.3).
Some explanations for this could be the more cautious investment among
businesses and prudent risk management practices among banks. Banks are
wary of lending to big firms but appear more willing to finance collateralized
household loans.
Republic of
lndonesia Philippines Thailand
1997 41.80 37.19 21.91 33.53
1998 24.32 80.26 18.91 24.88
1999 7.04 32.63 6.46 8.39
2000 6.71 16.23 8.93 7.37
2001 7.79 21.38 12.69 4.72
2002 6.77 10.81 4.90 5.63
2003 6.67 6.42 4.21 4.47
2004 6.28 8.26 2.64 4.55
2005 6.62 8.88 4.56 4.66
2006 6.64 10.02 4.90 6.65
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
Tab|e 3.3 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries. Domestic Investment (¾ of GDP}
GDP = gross domest|c product.
Source: ADB var|ous years. +EY)NDICATORS.
Studies have shown that the decline in the investment rate is related to
the relatively lower rate of return on investments and the fall in the domestic
credit-to-GDP ratio (Felipe, Kintanar, and Lim 2006). Also, there is still
excess capacity in the system, as indicated by the capacity utilization rate
that has not recovered to the pre-crisis level. Another probable reason is that
capital is now used more efficiently, and it is also likely that GDP growth
has become increasingly productivity-driven and not just input-driven.
The underdeveloped capital market in Asia is making Asia’s capital go
elsewhere for investment. Investors are looking outside Asia for investment
destinations rather than within the region. With the lower investment rate,
the growth capacities of these countries will be affected due to the lower
contribution of capital. Not surprisingly, with substantial current account
surpluses in the balance of payments, savings do exceed investments.
FDI inflows to these four countries have been affected only temporarily
by the crisis (Table 3.4). The amount of FDI dropped noticeably in Malaysia
and Indonesia in 1998, suggesting that “new/greenfield” FDI was falling. But
in the case of Thailand and the Republic of Korea, FDI rose somewhat after
the crisis, which implies that the inflows could be targeted for M&A rather
than new investments. Since 2003 or so, the level of FDI has improved in
all four countries, though more gradually in the case of Indonesia. Most
countries have regained much of their attractiveness for FDI, except for
Indonesia, which continues to struggle for more foreign capital. Despite
rising competition from the PRC, these countries will continue to make
efforts to pull in FDI because it has been an important source of technology
and jobs. With the opening up of the services sector, more FDI in services is
likely to be seen in addition to manufacturing investment.
Year lndonesia Malaysia Thailand
Republic of
1997 31.8 43.0 33.7 36.0
1998 16.8 26.7 20.4 25.0
1999 11.4 22.4 20.5 29.1
2000 22.2 27.3 22.8 31.0
2001 22.0 23.9 24.1 29.3
2002 21.4 24.0 23.8 29.1
2003 25.6 21.6 25.0 30.0
2004 24.1 22.7 26.8 30.4
2005 24.6 19.9 31.5 30.1
2006 24.6 20.0 27.9 30.2
Decade of Deve|opments
Tab|e 3.4 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries.
Foreign Direct Investments (US$ Bi||ion}
Source: ADB var|ous years. +EY)NDICATORS.
The plunge in the currencies of these countries saw their inflation rates
surge in 1998, but they came down by 2004 (Table 3.5). The trend reversed
after that due to the jump in global oil prices. The surge in global oil prices
has led to the rise in transportation costs and, subsequently, inflation rates.
The transmission of higher oil prices came through either imported inflation
or the reduction in oil subsidy. With oil prices persistently hovering at high
levels, the risk of higher inflation remains in sight. On the positive side,
the appreciation of the currencies of these countries can reduce the cost of
imports, partly mitigating the inflationary pressures.
Tab|e 3.5 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries. Inñation Rate (¾}
Source: ADB var|ous years. +EY)NDICATORS.
3.4 Current Account Ba|ance
After recording mostly current account deficits during the mid-1990s, these
countries saw their current accounts reverting from a deficit to a surplus
beginning in 1998 (Table 3.6). The trade surplus has largely contributed
to the current account surplus, which also led to higher foreign exchange
reserves. On the other side of the equation, the fall in the investment level
has resulted in the widening of the saving–investment gap, reflecting the
Year lndonesia Malaysia Thailand
Republic of
1998 58.5 5.1 8.1 7.5
1999 20.5 2.8 0.3 0.8
2000 3.7 1.6 1.6 2.3
2001 11.5 1.4 1.6 4.1
2002 11.9 1.8 0.6 2.8
2003 6.8 1.1 1.8 3.4
2004 6.1 1.4 2.8 3.6
2005 10.5 3.0 4.5 2.8
2006 13.1 3.6 4.6 2.2
Year Malaysia Thailand lndonesia
Republic of
1997 6.79 3.30 4.53 -1.61
1998 2.71 7.36 -0.36 0.67
1999 2.47 5.74 -2.75 5.14
2000 1.76 3.37 -4.55 4.29
2001 0.29 3.54 -2.98 1.11
2002 3.20 3.16 0.42 2.39
2003 2.47 4.61 0.42 3.53
2004 4.62 5.79 0.45 9.25
2005 3.97 8.41 0.50 6.31
2006 5.15 8.84 0.65 3.65
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
lackluster domestic demand that is not dynamic enough to utilize excess
savings. Some of the savings have been channeled to US assets, which is
unhealthily feeding a consumption frenzy in the US economy.
Tab|e 3.6 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries.
Current Account Ba|ance (¾ of GDP}
GDP = gross domest|c product.
Source: ADB var|ous years. +EY)NDICATORS.
Owing to the current account surplus and FDI inflows, including the
volatile portfolio inflows, the foreign reserves of these countries have
risen significantly since the crisis (Table 3.7). The inflow of funds has also
resulted in the rise in liquidity in the financial system, forcing central banks
to absorb excess liquidity to prevent the rise in inflationary pressures and to
stabilize interest rates. Too much liquidity in the banking system could lead
to reckless lending if prudential procedures are not observed. In 1997, the
differences in the level of reserve holdings were not too divergent among
the four countries. But, since then, all the countries have accumulated large
foreign reserves, possibly driven by the precautionary motive to ward off
speculative attacks. Large reserves also act as a cushion against the large
movements of capital in and out of the country. With little change in the
global financial system, Asian countries have to depend on their reserves as
a first line of defense.
Year lndonesia Malaysia Thailand
Republic of
1997 -2.4 -5.9 -2.1 -1.7
1998 4.3 13.2 12.8 12.7
1999 4.1 15.9 10.2 6.0
2000 5.3 9.4 7.6 2.7
2001 4.8 8.3 5.4 2.0
2002 4.0 8.4 3.7 1.0
2003 3.5 12.8 3.4 2.0
2004 0.6 12.6 1.7 4.1
2005 0.1 15.3 -4.5 1.9
2006 2.6 12.8 1.6 1.0
Decade of Deve|opments
Tab|e 3.7 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries.
Foreign Reserves (US$ Bi||ion}
Source: ADB var|ous years. +EY)NDICATORS.
At the regional level, the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) is seen as a step
forward in functioning as a regional arrangement to assist troubled countries.
However, the amount available for rescue missions is said to be limited
when compared to the potential size of speculative funds. A wise move for
countries facing financial difficulties would be to seek assistance under
the CMI if their own measures are no longer effective. At the very least,
countries do not have to go to the IMF as an initial move since regional help
has become available. The experience of having to comply with tough IMF
conditions was not a pleasant memory that many countries want to repeat.
Larger reserves could help cushion the economy when there are large
reversals of capital. With the large import cover and lower exposure to
foreign debts, Asian countries have been able to face the contagion from
the US subprime turmoil without much difficulty since July 2007. There are
opportunity costs involved in maintaining high reserves because the foreign
exchange could be used to pay off external debts. There are suggestions to
make use of the reserves for purposes such as infrastructure spending or
even investments with higher potential returns rather than parking them in
US assets. Among the four countries, the Republic of Korea accumulated
the most reserves since 1997, far ahead of the others (Table 3.8).
Year lndonesia Malaysia Thailand
Republic of
1997 17.4 21.0 27.0 20.4
1998 23.8 25.3 29.5 52.0
1999 27.1 30.9 34.8 74.0
2000 29.4 29.9 32.7 96.1
2001 28.0 30.8 33.0 102.8
2002 32.0 33.7 38.9 121.3
2003 36.3 44.2 42.1 155.3
2004 36.3 66.2 49.8 199.0
2005 34.7 70.2 52.1 210.3
2006 42.6 82.2 67.0 238.9
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
Tab|e 3.8 Major Foreign Ho|ders of US Treasury Securities,
Ho|dings at End of May 2007 (US$ Bi||ion}
Source: ÜS Department of Treasury 2007.
To counter the large inflows of funds that resulted in the buildup in
reserves and contain the appreciation of their currencies, Asian countries
have relaxed some rules and allowed more local funds to be invested abroad.
The outflow of funds could offset some of the liquidity buildup in the system
and relieve pressures on the currency. Some caution has to be exercised to
ensure that the outflows are of a reasonable amount that does not lead to a
threatening decline in the reserves.
3.5 Monetary and F|sca| Po||cy
Monetary policy was tightened during the initial period of the crisis. A short
while later, when this was seen as aggravating or deepening the recession,
monetary policy was relaxed. Analysts have remarked that the IMF took a
wrong turn by imposing tight policies initially. The subsequent relaxation
of policies, coupled with strong export growth, allowed the crisis-hit
economies to recover steadily. The strong export growth has been critical
in pulling the crisis-hit countries out of the recession at a quicker pace than
expected. The IMF had consented to fiscal deficits in three countries, but it
was still relatively tighter when compared to Malaysia’s case. Malaysia’s
fiscal deficit is the largest among the four countries (Table 3.9) at –3.5%
of GDP in 2006, compared to the Republic of Korea’s –2.4% of GDP.
Initially, interest rates were raised with the aim of arresting the decline in
the exchange rate but the costs in terms of output were too severe. Interest
rates were reduced gradually to encourage the recovery in consumption and
investment, underpinned by strong export growth. There is some correlation
between the interest rates of these four crisis-hit countries and the US
Rank Country $US Bill. % share
1 Japan 615.2 28.2
2 People's Republic of China 407.4 18.7
3 United Kingdom 167.6 7.7
4 Oil Exporters 121.3 5.6
5 Brazil 81.6 3.7
6 Luxembourg 62.1 2.8
7 Hong Kong, China 58.7 2.7
8 Taipei,China 57.4 2.6
9 Republic of Korea 52.1 2.4
10 Germany 51.4 2.4
11 Caribbean Banking Centers 48.0 2.2
12 Mexico 35.5 1.6
13 Singapore 34.4 1.6
19 Thailand 18.7 0.9
28 Malaysia 10.9 0.5
Decade of Deve|opments
Federal Reserve funds rate (Table 3.10), as they possibly wanted to avoid
the widening of interest rate differentials.
Tab|e 3.9 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries.
Fisca| Ba|ance (¾ of GDP}
GDP = gross domest|c product.
Source: ADB var|ous years. +EY)NDICATORS
Tab|e 3.10 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries.
Interest Rates (6-months Fixed Deposit, ¾}
Source: ADB var|ous years. +EY)NDICATORS.
3.6 F|nanc|a| Sector Stab|||ty
The reforms and restructuring in the banking and corporate sectors have
made them both more resilient to future crises. Nonetheless, there is
room for further improvement. The landscape in the banking sector has
changed dramatically due to mergers and acquisitions by both locals and
foreigners. Efforts have been made to diversify the structure of the financial
system, with greater financing raised through the bond market (Table 3.11).
The banking sector is sounder and healthier as indicated by the stronger
capitalization base, higher profitability, and better asset quality. Non-
performing loan (NPL) ratios have been reduced significantly through
special purpose vehicles (Tables 3.12 and 3.13). Bad loans were resold at
Year lndonesia Malaysia Thailand
Republic of
1997 0.5 2.4 -1.9 -1.5
1998 -1.7 -1.8 -2.5 -4.2
1999 -2.5 -3.2 -2.9 -2.7
2000 -1.3 -5.8 -2.4 1.3
2001 -2.3 -5.5 -2.1 1.3
2002 -1.3 -5.6 -2.2 3.9
2003 -1.7 -5.3 0.6 -1.7
2004 -1.1 -4.3 0.3 -2.5
2005 -0.5 -3.8 0.2 -2.5
2006 -1.0 -3.5 0.1 -2.4
Year lndonesia Malaysia Thailand
Republic of US Federal
Korea Funds
1997 16.0 9.2 10.8 10.8 5.46
1998 36.8 5.8 6.0 13.7 5.35
1999 14.3 3.8 3.8 7.5 4.97
2000 13.3 3.5 3.0 7.5 6.24
2001 16.2 3.2 2.4 5.6 3.89
2002 13.8 3.2 1.8 4.9 1.67
2003 8.3 3.0 1.0 4.3 1.13
2004 7.1 3.0 1.0 3.8 1.35
2005 10.2 3.0 2.8 3.6 3.21
2006 10.7 3.3 4.1 4.4 4.96
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
discounted prices to at least recover the funds partially rather than suffer
complete losses. Central banks had to take drastic reform measures to ensure
that the systemic effects of a bank run could be contained. Regulations have
been improved, and lending practices have become more prudent. Better
risk management practices have been put in place in preparation of Basel II
requirements, which are more demanding on the assessment of risk.
Tab|e 3.11 Structure of Financia| Sector (¾ of GDP}
GDP = gross domest|c product
Source: Ghosh 2006.
Tab|e 3.12 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries.
Non-performing Loan Ratios (¾}
Sources: Ghosh 2006; ADB |2007ì & Bank Negara Ma|ays|a |BNMì.
Tab|e 3.13 1997-1998 Crisis-hit Countries.
Capita| Adequacy Ratio (¾}
Source: Ghosh |2006ì.
Bank assets
Equity market Bonds

capita|ization outstanding
1997 2005 1997 2005 1997 2005
lndonesia 31.1 49.8 12.2 28.9 1.9 19.6
Republic of Korea 37.9 93.5 8.1 91.2 25.2 76.2
Malaysia 100.9 159.4 93.2 138.0 57.0 88.0
Thailand 79.7 103.6 15.1 70.1 7.1 40.8
Philippines 56.1 63.2 37.7 40.4 22.4 36.7
Singapore 122.0 185.4 110.8 220.4 24.7 68.2
Year lndonesia Malaysia Thailand
Republic of
1998 48.6 13.6 45.0 7.3
2000 18.8 9.7 19.5 8.7
2001 31.9 11.5 11.5 3.4
2002 24.0 10.2 16.5 2.4
2003 19.4 8.9 13.5 2.6
2004 14.2 7.5 11.9 1.9
2005 15.6 5.8 9.1 1.2
2006 16.0 4.8 8.9 0.9
Year lndonesia Malaysia Thailand
Republic of
1998 -15.7 11.7 10.2 8.2
2000 2.1 12.2 12.2 10.5
2001 18.9 12.8 12.8 10.8
2002 22.4 13.2 13.2 10.2
2003 19.4 14.0 14.0 10.4
2004 19.4 14.3 14.3 11.3
2005 19.3 13.1 13.1 13.0
Decade of Deve|opments
3.7 Bank|ng Sector Reforms
Bank consolidation exercises, which are mostly market-driven, have taken
place and are still progressing. Better banks have taken over troubled banks.
In some cases, mergers were encouraged as a policy move to enlarge and
strengthen domestic banks to face greater liberalization. Larger banks have
a bigger capital base to withstand another crisis and more funding to invest
in better management practices as well as training, information technology
infrastructure, and risk management practices. In cases where no locals are
interested, foreigners have taken the opportunity to take over troubled banks.
However, having been seen as one of the causes of the crisis, financial sector
liberalization has been conducted cautiously for fear of repeating the same
mistakes. The huge buildup of foreign reserves may have made countries
feel more secure and they are reluctant to introduce greater uncertainty by
opening the financial system further.
The banking sector landscapes in the four crisis-affected countries have
changed dramatically. Ghosh (2006) remarked that the countries’ banking
sectors had undergone significant structural changes. Closures and the
consolidation of banks have occurred. In general, the number of commercial
banks has been reduced (Table 3.14) due to mergers and takeovers. The large
banking assets relative to GDP show the importance of the banking sector
funding relative to other sectors, and this has remained true even after the
crisis. The share of state ownership has declined noticeably, while the share
of foreign ownership has risen significantly in Indonesia. It is interesting
to note that even in more liberalized settings in the Republic of Korea and
Thailand, the foreign equity shares in the top ten banks of these countries
have never been higher. The foreign share was higher in Malaysia in 2004,
in spite of the 30% limit on foreign equity.
Tab|e 3.14 Changes in the Structure and Ownership of Commercia| Banks
GDP = gross domest|c product
Source: Ghosh 2006.

Number of Banking sector
Average state Average foreign


banks assets (¾ of GDP}
ownership in ownership in
top 10 banks (¾} top 10 banks (¾}
1997 2004 1997 2004 1997-99 2004 1997-99 2004
lndonesia 222 134 85 62 73.8 51.3 0.0 16.7
Malaysia 36 25 170 169 10.9 3.5 15.9 26.2
Republic of Korea 16 8 98 106 37.2 5.8 12.2 21.3
Philippines 51 24 104 70 7.8 5.8 11.3 9.0
Thailand 16 12 156 113 1.3 29.3 8.1 11.7
Singapore 152 113 204 221 0.0 4.0 8.3 15.6
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
Ghosh (2006) observed that banks in the region have increased their
efficiency since the crisis, as measured by the ratio of operating costs
to assets. Indicators of bank soundness, particularly NPLs, have shown
significant improvement from the worst readings during the crisis. The
NPLs in Indonesian banks peaked at 48% in 1998, improving to 15.6% in
2005. The bad loans were sold to the national asset management company—
Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency—in exchange for government
The initiative was similar in the three other countries, where asset
management companies were set up to buy up bad loans at discounted rates
from the banking sector. This has allowed banks to resume their role as
financial intermediaries. The NPL ratio for the Republic of Korea dropped
to 1.2% in 2005, the lowest among the four countries, due to a sizeable
disposal of bad loans to the asset management company KAMCO. Still,
excessive and imprudent credit card lending led to a small crisis in the
Republic of Korea in 2000–2002, suggesting that many banks in the region
still have difficulty identifying, monitoring, and managing risks (Ghosh
2006). The challenge to the Asian banking sector is how to promote healthy
competition that will lead to an increase in efficient and effective risk
management and supervision, plus the implementation of Basel II, which
will incorporate a more stringent risk management system.
3.8 Corporate Governance
On the aspects of corporate governance, some progress has been made in
increasing corporate transparency and raising the standards of financial
reporting. However, it is difficult to judge how far reforms in the corporate
sector have progressed, as evidence and data are scarce. Admittedly, the data
is incomplete, but the crisis-hit countries have tried to raise the standards of
information disclosure, shareholders’ rights, and accounting standards to be
closer to international standards.
Scoring data from the Asian Corporate Governance Association
(2007) in Table 3.15 indicates that while the crisis-hit countries may have
implemented corporate governance reforms, they are still some way from
the benchmarks of Singapore and Hong Kong, China. Thailand scores
relatively better in terms of rules and practices, while Indonesia still has a
lot more catching up to do. In terms of enforcement, Indonesia lags behind
the other three countries.
Decade of Deve|opments
Tab|e 3.15 Scores on Corporate Governance
OG = corporate governance, lGAAP = |nternat|ona| genera||y accepted account|ng pract|ces.
Note: |arger scores are better.
Source: As|an Oorporate Governance Assoc|at|on 2007.
Analysts have used data from the World Competitiveness Yearbook
that compares the transparency of financial institutions among countries.
The data shows that the transparency of the corporate sector in the region
has improved little (Park 2006). According to Ghosh (2006), the Republic
of Korea and Malaysia, with Thailand not far behind, have made progress
in reforms of their rules, regulations, and practices. In East Asia, the
benchmark for best practices in corporate governance is Singapore. The
crisis-hit countries have much more catching up to do to measure up to
Singapore’s standards in enforcing rules and regulations, protection of
minority shareholders, and disclosure and quality of financial reporting.
3.9 Some Factors Contr|but|ng to the Recovery
One question asked is how the crisis-hit countries managed to recover from
the severe 1997–1998 crisis relatively quickly. Aziz (2007) discussed some
of the key elements that contributed to the relatively fast recovery. In short,
in her view, three elements—economic flexibility, stronger fundamentals,
and improvements in the financial and corporate sectors—supported a
relatively swift recovery.
Asian economies are flexible in the sense that labor and capital can
adjust according to changing market conditions. In their export-led
development strategy, they have been flexible enough to adapt to and take
advantage of globalization. As the crisis-hit countries went through the
painful adjustments forced by the crisis, excess capacity and non-core
businesses had to be disposed of. Policies have also been flexible enough
to respond to changing economic conditions. Domestic demand is playing
a greater role in supporting growth and reducing dependence on exports as
export performance can be weak at times. Although prudence is still called
CG Rules & Enforcement Political/
lGAAP CG Culture
Practices (public/private) Regulatory
Hong Kong, China 60 56 73 83 61
Singapore 70 50 65 88 53
Republic of Korea 45 39 48 68 43
Malaysia 43 35 56 78 33
Thailand 58 36 31 70 39
People's Republic of China 43 33 52 73 25
Philippines 39 19 38 75 36
lndonesia 39 22 35 65 25
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
for, their traditionally high saving rates have given Asian economies the
flexibility of boosting spending through domestic funds.
The strengthening of economic fundamentals has enabled governments
to play a more active role in the economy. The exchange rates have become
fairly more flexible, with the large foreign reserves acting as defensive
backup. Though still a work in progress, the reform and restructuring of the
banking and corporate sectors has started to bear fruit. A stronger financial
sector has raised investor confidence and allowed lending to resume. This
has enabled private investment to recover after contracting steeply during
the crisis. The bond market has been developed further to provide alternative
financing and reduce mismatches in lending terms.
3.10 Reg|ona| Integrat|on and Strengthen|ng Cooperat|on
The pace of regional integration in trade and investment has not slowed
down despite the 1997–1998 crisis. The large and rapidly growing
economies, such as PRC and India, are helping to enlarge Asia’s export
markets. This will reduce the over-dependence on the traditional markets
of the US, Japan, and Europe. Intra-Asian trade has been rising rapidly and
accounts for more than half of total trade in Asia. The greater integration
in the financial sector will facilitate trade and investment activities across
countries. The strengthening regional economic cooperation can provide
support during gloomier times in major developed markets. The same trend
is observed in investment flows where intra-Asian investment has been
rising as well.
An ADB study (2007) estimates that about 60% of Asia’s total exports
are ultimately destined for the big G3 markets, namely, the US, Japan,
and Europe. Only about 21.2% of exports are estimated to be for final
consumption in Asia. This shows that Asia’s export performance is still
largely dependent on demand from G3 countries, at least for now. In this
sense, Asia has not decoupled itself from North America and Western
Europe, and hence remains vulnerable to US slowdown and recession.
However, with rising incomes in Asia and the increasing consumption
culture, there is little doubt that Asia’s demand for imported finished
products will rise. There is a conscious policy effort to encourage domestic
spending to become a larger contributor to economic growth. The export
market in Asia will expand with the rapid growth in Asian economies and
the emergence of large economies such as PRC and India.
Increasing trade and investment linkages will reinforce greater financial
integration in the region, making the region more resilient to external
Decade of Deve|opments
disturbances. Asia is also strengthening its ties with other emerging regions
such as the Middle East, which is getting windfall gains from oil dollars (Aziz
2007). The Gulf States are showing interest in some Asian countries by
making investments in Islamic financial services and making Asia a tourist
At the regional level, Malaysia is a member of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and is involved in the CMI, which
has set up a “collective fund” from which member countries can seek
assistance. The CMI is intended to address short-term liquidity problems
and complement international financial facilities. Malaysia has a financial
commitment of US$300 million in the move to raise the funds of the
ASEAN Swap Arrangement (ASA) to US$2 billion. However, the amount
allocated may not be large enough to handle crises of larger proportions.
Nonetheless, it is a starting scheme toward having a regional assistance
mechanism that could evolve into an institutional form with greater caliber.
During the crisis, there was no regional facility that could assist the
affected countries. Each country had to resort to its own policy to stabilize
the domestic economy. During the ten years since the crisis, efforts have
been made to strengthen regional surveillance by setting up arrangements
with the objective of deterring future crises. As Asia proceeds with greater
regional integration and cooperation, more constructive engagement with
multilateral agencies is essential. Asia’s increasing presence in the global
economy means that its views and representation in the global setting should
gain greater clout.
4. Financing Future Growth
Asia’s savings-investment surplus is creating a savings glut, but the bulk
of Asia’s savings are going elsewhere. Intra-Asian investment in stocks
amounts to only 5.8% of the total, compared to 64.2% for intra-European
Union, according to estimates from Kwan and Cheung (2006a). In the case
of FDI flows, Kwan and Cheung (2006b) have estimated that intra-Asian
FDI flows constitute about 40% of Asia’s total FDI inflows in 2004. Asia
depends on G3 not only for merchandise exports, but also capital exports.
If Asia’s savings are invested within the region, Asia can grow faster, and
demand for each other’s exports can be created.
4.1 Cha||enges Ahead for As|a
The deepening globalization is creating new challenges for Asian countries.
The emergence of PRC and India are opening up new opportunities, but
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
there are risks as well. The greater global integration means that countries
are more exposed to external shocks and are also vulnerable to destabilizing
capital movements. Greater regional integration means easier transmission
of volatilities. Although countries are benefiting from deeper integration,
there are many challenges that they will face. Countries have to be prepared
to cope with external shocks that can come unexpectedly. Some of the
challenges of globalization to Asia in general are discussed below.
Vo/aI//e and DesIab///z/ng Cap/Ia/ F/ows
One such challenge is the unstable capital flows that have intensified
from the increased financial integration among countries (Burton and
Zanello 2007). The high growth in Asia has been attracting foreign portfolio
funds from all over the world, and this has become overwhelming at
times, flushing the local market with plenty of liquidity. Rapid inflows
could lead to an unstable appreciation of the currency, asset price inflation,
and imprudent lending by the banking sector. The crisis-hit countries
experienced sudden surges in capital outflows during the 1997–1998 crisis
as investors rushed for the exit door when confidence was collapsing.
Although there are domestic and external factors contributing to the loss of
confidence, such sudden and herd-like outflows of capital led to a plunge in
regional currencies. Even after making efforts to reform their economies,
East Asian countries continue to face volatile swings in capital movements.
While Asian countries are continually exposed to the threat of volatile
capital flows, there are no policies that can totally insulate a country from
this threat. Having consistent and transparent policies in place can reduce
chances of reversals in flows, but external pressures and contagion can
lead to sudden outflows as well. Making efforts to strengthen the macro
fundamentals can increase the resilience of a country. Market overreaction
or overshooting is a feature in the global financial sector that many will have
to live with. Raising interest rates to high levels has not been very effective
in deterring outflows (Grenville 2006). Having a broad-based economic
structure and diversified export markets can mitigate painful external shocks
to some extent. Strengthening the domestic sector by encouraging household
consumption has been a strategy to reduce the vulnerability to external
weakness. This could be achieved by lowering the already high savings
rate and putting those savings to good use. The level of investment, which
decreased after the crisis, could be cautiously stepped up in productive
sectors through fiscal spending. Unhealthy and excessive investment in
property should be avoided.
Decade of Deve|opments
lncreas/ng lneqµa//Iv
The wave of globalization has increased the demand for technology and
skilled workers, while labor-intensive industries are shifting to lower-cost
countries. This has the consequence of widening the income gap between
the skilled or highly qualified workers and the less skilled workers, hence
raising income inequality. The trend is observed across many developing
countries. If left unattended, rising inequality could lead to social problems
and undermine the political stability of a country. This could affect the
longer term economic stability of the country. To reduce income inequality,
the fruits of growth should be widely dispersed and the poor should be given
education and opportunities to live a better life. Education and training
infrastructure should be made available for the poor so that they can gain
skills for better employment. Financial assistance could be given to the poor
to assist start-ups and small businesses.
The R/sks of G/oba/ lmba/ances
The large US current account deficit of more than 6% of GDP continues
to pose the risk of global turmoil should the dollar collapse. The huge US
current account deficit implies that, over the medium term, further exchange
rate adjustments to reduce the global imbalances are inevitable. The fear is
that there is a chance the adjustment could become disorderly and highly
disruptive to the global economy. The US dollar has weakened following the
Federal Reserve’s decision to cut the interest rate in September 2007. The
slide in the US dollar could accelerate if the US Federal Reserve decides to
cut interest rates further to prop up the softer US economy, while Europe
and Japan experience sustained growth with further increases in interest
rates. Managing the exchange rate will be challenging in the wake of a US
dollar weakness, as this will consequently strengthen most Asian currencies.
The Sµrge /n O// Pr/ces
The high oil prices reaching US$100 per barrel are no longer simply a
cyclical event but could also characterize in part structural changes, driven
by rising demand from emerging markets such as PRC and India. Although
the impact has been mild so far, this could change if oil prices remain
persistently high. Coupled with the rise in commodity prices, this could
eventually lead to increased inflationary pressures worldwide. With the
PRC’s growth projected to remain robust, and without peace in the Middle
East, oil prices will likely remain high. This will raise the risks of higher
inflation is the situation is prolonged.
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
Ag/ng Popµ/aI/on
Populations have been aging in a number of Asian countries including
Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, China and this has implications on the
household savings rate. The spending pattern of the younger generation,
which involves credit cards, among other methods, may exacerbate this
problem. This could reduce the savings pool for investment and social
expenditure. The elderly will also require assistance in health care and
income support, and this will require greater fiscal outlays.
C//maIe Change and Env/ronmenI
There is greater awareness that environmental protection is important
to human well-being and sustainable development. Pursuing development
without caring for the environment will harm the quality of life of future
generations. Unmanaged and widespread pollution will affect health and
living conditions, which will translate into large sums in monetary terms.
Climate change is a global problem that requires concerted efforts from
various parties if further progress is to be made.
5. ConcIusion
The 1997–1998 crisis has been a catalyst to reforms in the banking and
the corporate sectors. The prudential supervision standards have seen
some upgrading although there is room for further improvement. Better
risk management systems are now in place and deposit insurance schemes
have been implemented. Nonetheless, some analysts view the reforms as
incomplete and still requiring more work.
Efforts and initiatives have been taken to make Asia more resilient and
to reduce the probability and intensity of another crisis. Although policies
may not be able to guarantee that a crisis will not happen, having sound
macro policies can reduce the intensity of the impact. Asian countries have
taken measures to reduce domestic credit growth, enlarge foreign reserves,
and prevent overvaluation of the currency. This is not to say that everything
is running well, but progressive improvement is critical to ensure investor

Decade of Deve|opments
Ariff, M. 2007a. Comment on “Asian Currency Crisis and the International
Monetary Fund, 10 Years Later: Overview.” Asian Economic Policy
Review 2(1): 50–51.
——. 2007b. Economic Openness, Volatility and Resilience: Malaysian
Perspectives. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Institute of Economic Research.
Asian Corporate Governance Association. 2007. CG Watch 2007
presentation. Available: www.acga-asia.org.
ADB (Asian Development Bank). 2007. Asian Development Outlook 2007.
Hong Kong, China: Oxford University Press for ADB.
——. Various years. Key Indicators. Manila: ADB.
Aziz, Z.A. 2007. Asia’s Decade of Transformation. Finance and
Development 44(2, June).
Burton, D., and A. Zanello. 2007. Asia Ten Years After. Finance and
Development 44(2, June).
Felipe, J., K. Kintanar, and J.A. Lim. 2006. Asia’s Current Account Surplus:
Savings Glut or Investment Drought? Asian Development Review 23(1):
Ghosh, S. 2006. East Asian Finance: The Road to Robust Markets.
Washington, DC: World Bank.
Grenville, S. 2006. Ten Years After the Asian Crisis: Is the IMF Ready
for the “Next Time”? Analysis Series. Sydney: Lowy Institute for
International Policy. August.
——. 2007. Regional and Global Responses to the Asian Crisis. Asian
Economic Policy Review 2(1): 54–70.
Griffith-Jones, S., and R. Gottschalk. 2006. Financial Vulnerability in
Asia. In Asia 2015: Sustaining Growth and Ending Poverty, edited by
M. Robinson and J. Farrington. IDS Bulletin 37(3, May).
Kawai, M., R. Newfarmer, and S. Schmukler. 2005. Financial Crises: Nine
Lessons from East Asia. Eastern Economic Journal 31(2, Spring):
Kwan, N., and F. Cheung. 2006a. Asia Focus: Intra-Asia Portfolio Flows, A
Weak Link. Standard Chartered, September 13.
lll. As|an Or|s|s Ten Years On: Po||cy Perspect|ves
Kwan, N., and F. Cheung. 2006b. Asia Focus: Intra-Asia Investment
Reinforces Integration. Standard Chartered, June 21.
McCauley, R.N. 2002. Setting Monetary Policy in East Asia: Goals,
Developments and Institutions. The South East Asian Central Banks
Research and Training Centre (SEACEN), Occasional Paper No. 33.
Park, Y.C., and C. Wyplosz. 2007. Financial Vulnerability in Asia. In Asian
Tigers: New Vulnerabilities to Crisis, edited by S. Griffifth-Joines and R.
Gottschalk. IDS Bulletin 38(4, July).
US Department of Treasury. 2007. Major Foreign Holders of Treasury
Securities. http://www.ustreas.gov/tic/ticsec2.shtml.
Decade of Deve|opments
Akira Ariyoshi
The two chapters give us an excellent perspective on Asia today. The one
by Mr. Ariff and Mr. Kadir looks back to the Asian crisis, while Mr. Petri’s
looks forward into the future.
Regard|ng Chapter III
There is not much to add to Mr. Ariff and Mr. Kadir’s chapter. Immediately
after the Asian crisis, there was some debate as to whether this was an
inevitable outcome of crony capitalism or was unnecessary suffering caused
by a malicious attack by hedge funds that was aggravated by the wrong
response, including that by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Ten
years later, the world has arrived at a more balanced consensus. Countries
have taken a pragmatic attitude to addressing potential vulnerabilities and
have made significant headway, and Asia is in a much stronger position, as
the Ariff-Kadir chapter demonstrates, although challenges remain.
Are there chinks in the armor? One risk that the authors note and which
is shared by many policymakers in Asia is the large inflows of capital. Asia
has been again experiencing a period of rapid capital inflows. This is not
a phenomenon that is unique to Asia. Recent years have seen a surge of
capital flows into emerging and developing market economies. Overall, Asia
has managed the inflows well, and the signs of overheating and buildup
of vulnerabilities of the sort that we saw prior to the Asian crisis appear
limited. Still, Asian countries have been concerned about the inflows,
particularly over the effects of the inflows on exchange rates and hence on
The authors suggest that the increase in exchange rate flexibility may
not be as large as touted and that there is still “fear of floating.” When
comparing the daily volatilities between the pre-crisis period and today,
there is some increase, particularly when compared with 1996, but the
increase is not particularly large. However, when one compares the overall
movements in the exchange rates, they do seem to show more variability
over the medium term.
While this points to the increase in the overall flexibility of the exchange
rate, many countries still resort to exchange market intervention to stabilize
the exchange rate—and this is notwithstanding the adoption of inflation
targeting as a monetary policy regime in many countries. With already large
reserves, the argument that more reserves are needed as insurance is less
convincing today, although intervening to counter short-run hot-money
inflows does make sense to some extent. Moreover, a significant portion of
the exchange market pressure has come through the current account surplus.
Moreover, the authors note the increase in oil prices pose a new
challenge in this context. Asia has been able to maintain stable inflation and
inflationary expectations, at least a part of which should be attributable to
credibility of the monetary policy framework. However, the combination
of increased input prices, not just of oil but of commodities more broadly,
and the desire to limit exchange rate appreciation may not be conducive to
maintaining the credibility of monetary policy.
These considerations, as well as the risk of disorderly unwinding of
global imbalances, seem to point to the desirability of pursuing more
flexibility in exchange rates.
With regard to more generally what needs to be done to reduce the
risks from large capital inflows, the IMF has recently published a study in
the World Economic Outlook, which looks at the episodes of large capital
inflows to see what policies would help to reduce the risk of post-inflow
recession and crisis. It shows that the only policy that seems to work to
reduce the risk is to be conservative with regard to the growth of government
expenditures during the inflow period. How this advice should be seen in
the Asian context is not straightforward, given Asia’s large current account
surplus, the level of investment, which has declined since the Asian crisis,
and the need to build up public infrastructure.
In fact, Asian governments have generally been quite conservative
with respect to fiscal policy. Even in the aftermath of the Asian crisis,
notwithstanding the common criticism about fiscal austerity in IMF
programs, the fact of the matter was that Asian crisis-hit countries could not
or did not wish to deliver too much fiscal stimulus. Indonesia’s fiscal deficit
outcomes undershot the program significantly, and in the Republic of Korea
the IMF urged the government to let automatic stabilizers come into play in
the event of economic slowdown and revenue shortfall.
Regard|ng Chapter II
Looking into the future, given the increasing weight of Asia in the world
economy, it is clear that Asia cannot be analyzed in the framework of a
small open economy. Mr. Petri makes a valuable contribution by putting
the outlook for Asia’s investment-saving balance in a global context. One
is often tempted to look at only country-specific factors in considering the
Oomments on Ohapters ll and lll
Decade of Deve|opments
important nexus between savings, investment, and growth, but clearly, given
that Asia is providing a large portion of global net savings, the compatibility
with the global picture is important. The extreme scenario of continued very
large net saving in Asia appears possible only with a continuing very large
deficit in the United States (US). Even though the world has been able to
live with this global pattern of savings and investment for some time, it is
difficult to see this continuing for another decade.
To see what could drive the economies along different paths and to
understand the potential interactions between regions, a structural model
would be useful. One such is the INGENUE model that was referred to
in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Chapter on Economic Impact of
Demographic Changes (September 2004). This is somewhat dated, but it
provides an internally consistent simulation result that projects the evolution
of savings, investment, growth, and current account balances of the various
groups of countries from 2000 onwards. The main driver of the projection
is demographics, and some of the results are consistent with Mr. Petri’s
scenarios, including a projection that emerging countries’ net savings will
However, the actual outcome over the last several years has deviated
significantly from the projections, in particular the massive increase in
the US deficit, the small increase in the Japanese current account surplus
(as opposed to the predicted large decline), and a rise in the net savings of
emerging market countries.
The lesson to be taken away is that these long-term projections are
subject to large margins of error, and also show the value of the scenario
approach taken by Mr. Petri, which though simple in its framework, provides
a clearer idea of where the pressure points may appear. The scenarios clearly
point to the need for resolving global imbalances before markets force
them to correct in a potentially disorderly fashion. For Asia, this means
rebalancing demand, including through exchange rate adjustments.
The microeconomics of how assets holdings will be distributed is more
difficult to analyze. For the projection to 2020, I am not sure whether I
understood Mr. Petri’s analysis correctly, but the projection seems to rest on
the assumption of applying current patterns of holdings. The diversification
of portfolios in Asia could proceed much more quickly. Recent steps to
liberalize capital outflows have resulted in considerable surges in capital
outflows, the destination of which could be much more diversified than
before, where accumulation of foreign assets often took the form of reserve
accumulation that would be placed largely in US government debt. Capital
inflows have also been liberalized, and the World Trade Organization
accession of the People’s Republic of China has provided a further boost.
I fully agree with the observation that Asia needs to develop its financial
markets, but as this proceeds, together with capital account opening and
reduction in home bias, we will likely see a much more rapid growth in
international asset holdings as well as greater diversity of such holdings,
leading to much larger intra-Asia cross holdings of assets. Indeed, the large
holdings of European assets by European investors reflect the economic
union and the adoption of a common currency, which has reduced obstacles
and increased incentives for cross-border investment. The large size of intra-
European investment could be interpreted as a wider form of home bias.
Chia Siow Yue
Regard|ng Chapter II
In trying to predict Asia’s future financing needs, Mr. Petri has focused
on growth, savings, and investment trends to draw on future scenarios.
Predicting the future on the basis of present data and past experiences is
always risky. For example, in the late 1950s, the United Nations Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) (then known
as the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, or ECAFE) tried
to predict economic outcomes 25 years on. The study predicted rosy
development of the Philippines and Myanmar and regarded the Republic of
Korea as a basket case. Likewise, the World Bank’s East Asian Economic
Miracle and many other studies predicted a rosy picture for East Asia; the
advent of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 was totally unexpected.
My specific comments on projected trends in growth, savings, and
investment rates:
(i) Growth rates. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates have
recovered rapidly after the financial crisis, but for many economies,
they have not regained their pre-crisis trajectory. At present,
economic growth in Asia has been uneven and has been dominated
by the super-growth of the People’s Republic of China and India.
It remains to be seen whether the People’s Republic of China and
India will be able to act as growth engines for the rest of Asia.
East Asia has not decoupled from its dependence on the United
States (US) and European economies for markets, investments, and
technologies. The possibility of a US recession in 2008 and growing
Oomments on Ohapters ll and lll
Decade of Deve|opments
protectionism in the US and Europe will dent Asia’s growth
prospects in the coming years.
(ii) Savings rates. It is not entirely clear that savings rates in East Asia
will remain high, due to two developments. First, demographic
aging in Japan; People’s Republic of China; Republic of Korea;
Hong Kong, China; and Singapore will affect the savings rates of
households. Second, the widespread use of credit cards in East Asia
has changed the spending patterns of the younger generation.
(iii) Investment rates. These have been low in the post-financial crisis
period, contributing to the high net savings scenario. The low
investment rates may be explained by over-investment during the
pre-crisis years and the huge excess capacities that resulted from
the crisis; these are particularly obvious in the real estate and
infrastructure sectors, but also to some extent in manufacturing
capacities. Only in the past two to three years are investment
rates rising again, particularly with new huge investments in
infrastructure projects.
Every economy in East Asia has been enjoying growing net savings
since the financial crisis. Many economists have analyzed how East Asia
could resolve the global imbalance. The mantra for East Asia is to consume
and import more. Another recommendation is for East Asia to use its
abundant savings to finance East Asian economic development through
various proposals of financial and monetary cooperation, including the
expansion of the Chiang Mai Initiative, development of the Asian Bond
Market, and the establishment of infrastructure funds. Perhaps Mr. Petri’s
chapter could critique these various proposals on financing Asia’s future
In the coming years, Asian economies will increasingly be engaged
in outward investments at the same time that they are receiving foreign
investments. A flood of Asian investments in Western countries, particularly
in the form of mergers and acquisitions, could invite a protectionist backlash.
This is already evident in the negative reactions to investments by sovereign
wealth funds (SWFs). An Economist article in May 2007 highlighted the
rapid growth of SWFs managing money drawn from countries’ reserves
and natural resource earnings. The funds are usually held separately from
the countries’ foreign reserves and administered separately. The estimated
size of SWFs is expected to reach US$2.5 trillion by end-2007 and could
swell to US$12 trillion by 2015. SWFs have typically invested in bonds,
dollars, and bank deposits, but they are also increasingly buying up bonds
and shares. There is growing concern in the US and Europe that SWFs
from the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, and Russia would
be buying up their strategic assets and undermining national security. The
G7 has called for studies by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the
establishment of “codes of conduct” that would include transparency and
accountability in the operations of these SWFs. Sensitivity to investments
by SWFs is not confined to the West. For example, Singapore’s Temasek
Holdings has encountered difficulties in some of its investments in Thailand
and Indonesia. Mr. Petri’s chapter could perhaps analyze the character and
impacts of such state-led foreign investments.
Regard|ng Chapter III
I will not comment on financial issues, particularly exchange rate
movements, but on other aspects of the chapter.
The chapter illustrates very clearly what has happened in the ten years
after the onset of the Asian financial crisis. There are two ways of evaluating
the performance—either the cup is half-full or it is half-empty. The authors
reached positive conclusions but critics could argue that much remains to be
The authors’ positive assessment does not apply to post-crisis investment
rates, as investment rates remained way below pre-crisis levels. I proffer two
explanations. First, there have been excessive investments in the pre-crisis
years, resulting in the problem of excess capacity, particularly in the real
estate sector. Second, for several Southeast Asian countries, the investment
climate has remained negative, due to political and social turbulence and
uncertainties, hence deterring both local and foreign investments.
In assessing performance over the past ten years, perhaps Kawai’s 2007
paper could be used as a benchmark. Kawai lists national, regional, and
global measures to reduce risk through sound macroeconomic management,
adopting sustainable exchange rate regimes, managing risks in national
balance sheets, and managing risks in the financial and corporate sectors;
to manage effectively through mobilizing timely and adequate external
liquidity, tailoring macroeconomic and structural policies to crisis specifics,
and bailing in private international investors; and to resolve systemic
consequences through resolving impaired assets and corporate liabilities
and supporting vulnerable groups through social sector policies. It has been
reported that while national policy responses were robust in the early post-
Oomments on Ohapters ll and lll
Decade of Deve|opments
crisis years, the reforms (particularly those pertaining to governance) slowed
down once the economies regained their recovery paths.
Mr. Ariff and Mr. Kadir focus on lessons from the crisis for the crisis-
affected countries. However, two other lessons deserve mention. First,
the IMF has learned to be more discerning in its policy prescriptions and
conditionalities and not treat all crises with the same remedies. In the case
of the Asian crisis, the severity of IMF measures helped send the crisis
economies into severe recession and the IMF had to modify its policies soon
after. Second, economists and policymakers have been more aware of the
differences between trade liberalization and capital account liberalization.
The latter could produce large and volatile capital flows with negative
effects and should not be embarked on unless the domestic financial and
regulatory systems are robust.
While all crisis-hit economies have recovered, some have been more
successful than others. In particular, the Republic of Korea has achieved
spectacular recovery but Indonesia has been somewhat of a laggard.
What accounts for the differences in recovery, since both (as well as the
Philippines) received the IMF aid package? What lessons can be drawn from
the Republic of Korea’s recovery experience?
The authors have listed some challenges facing Asia. Will there be
another crisis facing East Asia? The 1997–1998 crisis took the countries,
as well as foreign observers and specialists, by surprise with its timing,
severity, and rapid contagion. Since then, the region has sought to strengthen
its weaknesses, notably by accumulating huge foreign exchange reserves.
However, the volatility of international capital flows could give rise to other
types of financial crises unless the regulatory and financial systems are
robust. The ongoing subprime mortgage crisis in the US is a case in point. In
the years ahead, Asia faces many other challenges, including environmental
sustainability, rising inequalities and demands for inclusive economic
growth, demographic changes and their impact on labor markets and
migration, and structural adjustments to the economic rise of the People’s
Republic of China and India.
Part II
Poverty Reduct|on for
an Inc|us|ve and Equ|tab|e As|a
IV. Poverty Reduct|on, Inc|us|ve Growth, and
Deve|opment Strateg|es
Justin Yifu Lin
1. lntroduction
When the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) was established in
1997, I had the honor of being a member of its advisory council. I would
like to take this opportunity to congratulate ADBI for having achieved its
intended goal of becoming a leading knowledge production and sharing
institution in Asia under the leadership of its deans and with joint efforts of
its staff and other partner institutions throughout Asia.
ADBI was established at the advent of Asian financial crisis. Asia has
recovered robustly from that crisis, and once again become the fastest
growing region in the world. However, according to the World Bank’s World
Development Indicators, the per capita gross national income in East and
South Asia and the Pacific in 2004 was US$1,056, which was just 16%
of the world average. Moreover, in 2002, 11.6% of people in East Asia
and the Pacific and 31.2% of people in South Asia still lived on less than
US$1 a day. If we use a higher poverty threshold of US$2 a day, then the
percentage of people living in poverty in those two regions jumps to 40.7%
and 77.8%, respectively (World Bank 2006). Therefore, how to further
facilitate economic development, and how to achieve inclusive growth that
may help the poor to escape poverty, are still challenging issues in Asia and
the Pacific.
ADBI was established in 1997 in response to the needs for identification
of effective development strategies and improvement of the capacity for
sound development management of agencies and organizations in the Asian
Development Bank’s developing member countries. Poverty reduction is
one of ADBI’s four priority research theme areas. I am delighted to have
the opportunity to contribute to the session on poverty reduction for an
inclusive and equitable Asia at the tenth anniversary conference, and to
report the research findings based on my studies over the past decade. The
major finding is that, during the process of economic development, the
This chapter draws heavily on the author’s Marshall Lectures, entitled “Development and
Transition: Idea, Strategy and Viability,” delivered at Cambridge University in 2007 and
ADB’s Distinguished Speakers’ Lecture, entitled “Development Strategies for Inclusive
Growth in Developing Asia,” in 2004. The author is most grateful for helpful comments
by Yasuyuki Sawada and Iwan Azis and other participants of the conference.
Decade of Deve|opments
development strategy of a government plays a pivotal role in determining
whether or not a developing country can achieve sustainable, dynamic,
inclusive, and equitable growth. If an appropriate development strategy is
adopted, then a developing country will achieve fast and healthy economic
development and the poverty will eventually be eliminated.
My main arguments are as follows: A continuous flow of technology/
industrial innovation is the key to the sustained dynamic growth of any
country. Developing countries have the “advantage of backwardness,” as
they can borrow technology/industry from developed countries. In this
way, the developing countries will be able to achieve much faster growth
than developed countries and realize convergence to developed countries.
However, in an open, competitive market, the optimal technology/industrial
structure of a country is endogenously determined by the country’s
endowment structure, which is given in each specific development phase of
an economy. The optimal technology and industry will be either labor- or
resource-intensive as developing countries are rich in either labor or natural
endowments. Therefore, to benefit from the advantage of backwardness,
a developing country needs to have an appropriate strategy that guides its
technology/industrial borrowing from developed countries. However, the
governments in most developing countries after World War II adopted an
inappropriate development strategy that attempted to defy their comparative
advantages, determined by their endowment structures, for the purpose
of building up the developed country’s capital-intensive industries on a
relatively capital-scarce endowment structure. This strategy made firms
in the priority sectors nonviable in an open, competitive market and
was responsible for many policy distortions in the developing countries.
Consequently, the developing countries failed to catch up with developed
countries and to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth. A transition to
a policy regime that facilitates industrial development along the countries’
comparative advantages is necessary for the developing countries to improve
their growth performance and to allow the poor to benefit from the growth.
This chapter is organized as follows: Section 2 discusses two mutually
exclusive development strategies, the comparative advantage-defying
strategy (CAD) and the comparative advantage-following (CAF) strategy,
and explores the effects of a country’s development strategy on the
institutions, growth performance, and income distribution. Section 3 tests
several hypotheses derived from Section 2. Some concluding remarks are
provided in Section 4.
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
2. DeveIopment Strategies. lnstitutions. and
Most economists now believe that developing countries failed to catch up
with developed countries because of bad institutions due to the government’s
interventions and regulations, including widespread corruption, weak
protection of investors, and a high degree of social conflict (Shleifer and
Vishny 1998; Rodrik 1998; Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson 2001a,
2001b; Acemoglu and Robinson 2002; Acemoglu 2002; Djankov et al.
2003). As Rodrick (2003: 7) stated, “institutions have received increasing
attention in the growth literature as it has become clear that property rights,
appropriate regulatory structure, quality and independence of the judiciary,
and bureaucratic capacity could not be taken for granted in many settings
and that they were of utmost important to initiating and sustaining economic
Several studies have explored how government intervention and
regulation occur. Shleifer and Vishny (1993, 1998) and Grossman and
Helpman (1996, 2001) proposed a “grabbing hand” hypothesis and argued
that the government adopts interventions for the benefits of politicians
and bureaucrats. Politicians use regulations to favor friendly firms and
other political constituencies, and thereby obtain campaign contributions
and votes. A recent paper presented by Djankov et al. (2002) provided an
empirical test on the theories of “grabbing hand;” for example, barriers
for business entry might arise from the corruption of bureaucrats.
economists attribute government intervention and regulation to legal
origins (La Porta et al. 1998, 1999) and colonial institutional inheritances
This grabbing hand hypothesis may not be appropriate for most interventions and
regulations in developing countries. Supposing that the government’s regulations in the
developing countries could arise from the grabbing hand of government, or political elites,
the unsolved question in the literature is how to understand the evolution of institutional
structure under the government’s interventions. In the developing countries, the
institutional structure shaped by the government’s interventions is extremely complicated.
We wonder what are the incentives for political leaders to design such complicated
systems, because the increase of costs of expropriations and political control due to the
complexity of institutions would diminish the gains of the grab. Corruptions induced by
the special interest groups might not be a good answer for this question either, because
the benefited groups are often taxed or suppressed along with the protections/subsidies.
Moreover, many interventions do not have obvious beneficiary groups.
Decade of Deve|opments
(Acemoglu, Johnson, and Robinson 2001a, 2001b; Engerman and Sokoloff
I agree that inappropriate intervention and regulation are attributable to
the poor economic performance in developing countries. However, I would
like to propose an alternative hypothesis for the existence of government
intervention and regulation in developing countries. My argument is
based on the conflicts between the government’s development strategy in
a developing country and the country’s endowment structure (Lin 2003,
2.1 Comparat|ve Advantage-Defy|ng Deve|opment
Strategy and Inst|tut|on D|stort|ons
As suggested by Kuznets (1966), continuous innovation and upgrading of
technology and industries is the key to dynamic growth in any economy
in modern times. A developing country may have an advantage over a
developed country in the speed of technology innovation because the
developing country could purchase mature and low-risk technologies from
the developed country at low costs, while the latter has to engage in highly
costly and risky research and development (R&D) activities to obtain further
technology innovation (Hayami 1997). The higher speed of technology
innovation will enable the developing country to have a higher return
to capital investment, resulting in faster capital accumulation, industrial
upgrading, and larger scope to reallocate labor and other resources from
low value-added industries to high value-added industries. Consequently,
a developing country could potentially have a higher economic growth
rate than developed countries and could thereby finally achieve economic
convergence. However, whether or not a developing country could
benefit from the “advantage of backwardness” very much depends on the
government’s development strategy and the resulting economic institutions.
Generally speaking, the government is the most powerful and important
institution in a developing country. Its economic policies shape the
macroeconomic structure and micro incentive schemes for every economic
agent in a developing country. However, development strategy and its
resulting intervention and regulation adopted by governments in most
If a developing country’s existing institution that is detrimental to economic growth is
endogenous to colonial heritage or natural endowment, the knowledge is not useful for the
development policy as we can do nothing at the present time to affect the colonial heritage
or natural endowment of several hundred years ago.
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
developing countries after World War II denied them opportunities to benefit
from the “advantage of backwardness.”
Many of the early generation of political leaders in both socialist and
non-socialist developing countries, such as Nehru in India, Nasser in Egypt,
Sukarno in Indonesia, Mao Zedong in People’s Republic of China, and Ho
Chi Minh in Viet Nam, were elites taking part in independent movements or
revolutions for the purpose of their nations’ modernization. They believed
the development of modern, capital-intensive heavy industry to be the
foundation for modernization of their nations. The institutions laid down
by the early generation of political leaders were endogenously shaped
by the conflicts between the elites’ ambitious drives of industrialization/
modernization for nation building and their nations’ economic realities. The
key to the argument is the viability issue of firms in the priority sectors of
the government’s industrialization drives.

The term viability is defined as follows: “If, without any external
subsidies or protections, a normally managed firm is expected to earn
socially acceptable profits in a free, open, and competitive market, then the
firm is viable. Otherwise, the firm is nonviable” (Lin 2003: 280) It is obvious
that no one will invest in a firm if it is not expected to earn a socially
acceptable normal profit. Such a firm will exist only if the government gives
it financial support or protection.
In an open, competitive market, the management of a firm will affect
its profitability, which is a known proposition. However, the expected
profitability of a firm also depends on its industry/technology choice.
To illustrate this idea, I will discuss the case of a simple economy that
possesses two endowments, capital and labor, and produces one product.
As shown in Figure 4.1, each point on the isoquant represents a production
technology or a combination of capital and labor required to produce a
given amount of a certain product. The technology represented by A is
more labor-intensive than that of B. The lines C, C
, D, and D
are isocost
lines. The slope of an isocost line represents the relative prices of capital
The bureaucrats in lower levels of government in a developing country may subsequently
use the interventions/regulations endogenous in the nation-building attempt for their
personal grabbing hand purpose. However, the grabbing hand of bureaucrats should
be viewed as a consequence, not the cause, of the distortions and regulations that were
created by first-generation leaders who did not have much personal purpose other than
the dream of nation building. Similarly, various groups may subsequently take advantage
of these interventions and regulations and seek rents to benefit themselves. However, the
vested interest group’s rent seeking was an unintended consequence of the first generation
leaders’ motivation for interventions and regulations.
Decade of Deve|opments
and labor. In an economy where capital is relatively expensive and labor is
relatively inexpensive, as represented by isocost lines C and C
, the adoption
of technology A to produce the given amount of output will cost the least.
When the relative price of labor increases, as represented by the isocost lines
D and D
, production will cost the least if technology B is adopted.
Figure 4.1 Re|ative Price of Production Factors and Technique Choice
In a free, open, and competitive market economy that produces only one
product as illustrated in Figure 4.1, a firm will be viable only if it adopts the
lowest cost technology in its production. In Figure 4.1, if the relative prices
of capital and labor can be represented by C, the adoption of technology A
costs the least. The adoption of any other technology, such as B, will have a
higher cost. The market competition will make firms that adopt technologies
other than A nonviable. Therefore, in a competitive market with given
relative prices of labor and capital, the viability of a firm depends on its
technology choice.
In a competitive market, the relative prices of capital and labor are
determined by the relative abundance/scarcity of capital and labor in the
economy’s factor endowments. When labor is relatively abundant and
capital is relatively scarce, the isocost line will be something like that of
line C in Figure 4.1. When capital becomes relatively abundant and labor
relatively scarce, the isocost line will change to something similar to line D.
Therefore, the viability of a firm in an open, competitive market depends on
whether its choice of technology is on the lowest cost lines determined by
the relative factor endowments of the economy.
The above analysis can be extended to a multi-product and multi-
industry case, and in an open, competitive market, whether or not a
firm is viable depends on whether or not the firm’s industry, product,
D D1 C C1
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
and technology choices are consistent with the comparative advantages
determined by the economy’s endowment structure.
If a firm’s choices are
not consistent with this condition, the firm cannot earn an acceptable profit
in an open, competitive market even under normal management and its
survival relies on government subsidies and/or protections.
It is important to note from the above discussion that in an open,
competitive market, without government intervention, only viable firms will
exist. Therefore, an economy’s structure of industry, product, and technology
in an open, competitive market is in effect endogenously determined by the
economy’s endowment structure.
Most developing countries are characterized with relative abundance
of labor and scarcity of capital.
As such, in an open, competitive market,
the structure of industry and technology in a developing country will
be relatively labor-intensive. However, unaware of the endogeneity of
the industrial/technology structure and inspired by the dream of nation
building, political leaders, economists, and social elites alike in developing
countries often attempt to build up the most modern, capital-intensive
industries and adopt the most advanced technologies, similar to those of
the most developed countries, within the shortest periods of time as the
objective of their development drives. I call such a development approach
in a developing country a CAD strategy because the government attempts
to encourage firms to ignore the existing comparative advantages of the
economy in their choice of industry and technology.
Most firms in the
priority sectors of a CAD strategy are not viable in open, competitive
markets. Therefore, the developing country’s government has to subsidize
and protect those firms through various interventional measures.
It is worth noting that the viability of a firm and the comparative advantages of an
economy are highly related. The viability is a concept that focuses on a firm’s technology,
product, and industry choices in a competitive market, whereas the comparative advantage
refers to the competitiveness of an economy’s product/industry in an open economy.
However, both are determined by the country’s endowment structure.
The other possibility for a developing country is to be relatively abundant in natural
resources and relatively scarce in capital and labor. The discussions and conclusions in this
chapter can be easily extended to cover such a case.
The CAD strategy includes the heavy-industry-oriented development strategy in the
socialist countries and in developing countries such as India as well as the secondary
import-substitution strategy in many Latin American and African countries. The strategy
also includes the protection of certain industries that has lost comparative advantage
due to the development of the economy, such as the protection of agriculture in many
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
Decade of Deve|opments
In a developed country, if a government adopts a CAD strategy and
the deviation of the firms’ choices of technology/industry from the optimal
ones (as determined by the economy’s endowment structure) is small, and
the number of nonviable firms that the government attempts to support is
limited, the government may subsidize the firms directly by tax transfers as
in the case of agricultural protection in many Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. However, when a
developing country’s government adopts a CAD strategy, the distance of
deviation from their comparative advantages is often very large, the number
of nonviable firms numerous, and the government’s taxation capacity very
weak. The developing country’s government often turns toward implicit
measures of subsidies through price distortions, limitations on market
competition, direct administrative allocation of resources, and the like.
As a
matter of fact, the traditional planning systems that existed before economic
transitions in socialist economies were typical institutional arrangements for
supporting and protecting the nonviable heavy industrial firms (Lin, Cai, and
Li 2003).
Moreover, when a developing country’s government adopts the CAD
strategy, the government does not know exactly how large the subsidies
should be due to information problems. The firms in the priority sector will
have incentives to use their viability problem as an excuse and use resources
to lobby the government officials not only for more ex ante policy favors,
such as access to low-interest loans, tax reductions, tariff protection, and
legal monopolies, but also for ex post ad hoc administrative assistance, such
as more preferential loans or tax arrears. The economy will be full of rent
seeking activities and corruption. Because the firms can use the viability
problem as an excuse to bargain for more government support and because
it is hard for the government to shun such responsibility, the firm’s budget
constraints become soft (Lin and Tan 1999).
In such a situation, the firm
will face no pressure to improve productivity and the firm’s efficiency will
be low. Moreover, with the subsidies/protections and soft budget constraints
for the firms in the priority sectors, entry into these sectors becomes a
From the above perspective, the root of interventions in a developing country is not
the grabbing hands of government officials or the manipulations of interest groups but
the dream of nation building of political elites. The corruptions may be an endogenous
phenomenon of the distortions and interventions arising from the conflict between the
economy’s endowment structure and the political leaders’ ambitious and unrealistic
development attempts. From this perspective, the political target should be separated from
the corruption view of the grabbing hand approach or the “Leviathan” approach.
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
privilege. The political leaders in a non-socialist developing country may
select their own close friends or political supporters to invest in those
priority sectors, resulting in the phenomenon of crony capitalism.
In addition to the above problems that can be caused by the CAD
strategy, if the government in a developing country adopts such a strategy,
the economy will become more inward-oriented than it would otherwise
be. This is because the CAD strategy attempts to substitute the import of
capital-intensive manufactured goods with domestic production, causing the
reduction of imports. Exports will also be suppressed due to the inevitable
transfers of resources away from the industries for which the economy
has comparative advantages to the priority sectors of the CAD strategy.
The exchange rates are likely to be overvalued to facilitate the import of
technology and equipment for priority industries, effectively hampering
export opportunities. In addition, under the CAD strategy, the carriers of
a government’s development strategy are normally large-sized firms. To
support the financial needs of nonviable large-sized firms, the government
often nationalizes the firms and uses direct fiscal appropriation, skipping
financial intermediation, to support these firms. Such was the case in the
former socialist planned economies; it continues to be the case in many
developing countries. Even if the government relies on private firms to carry
on the CAD strategy, the financial needs of large-sized firms will be large
and can be met only by a heavily regulated oligopolistic banking system or
an administratively intervened stock market, resulting in the phenomenon
of financial depression (McKinnon 1973; Shaw 1969). In either case, the
financial system in the country will be very inefficient. The development
of the nonviable firms relies heavily on external financial support. The
government first mobilizes domestic resources to support these firms
through the above interventions in the financial system. Once domestic
financial resources run out, the government often allows the nonviable
firms to turn to international financial markets for supporting their further
The “soft budget constraint” is a term coined by Kornai (1986) to explain the problem
in the socialist countries. According to Kornai, the soft budget constraint arises from the
paternalistic nature of the socialist government toward the state-owned firm. His argument
cannot explain why soft budget constraints exist in non-socialist economies and why
they still exist ten years after privatization in Russia and Eastern European transitional
economies (World Bank 2002). Dewatripont and Maskin (1995) argued that soft budget
constraints arise from the bank’s imperfect information on investment projects and the
time inconsistent problem of the projects. However, this argument cannot explain the
prevalence and persistence of the soft budget constraint phenomenon in developing
Decade of Deve|opments
development. Fiscal deficits, bad loans, external debts, and financial fragility
will be exacerbated and macroeconomic stability will become unsustainable,
leading to eruptions of financial crises (Lin 2000), which may also trigger
serious social conflicts and political instability (Rodrik 1998; Caselli and
Coleman 2002).
From the above discussions, we can see that many of the interventions
and regulations and their resulting inefficiency in developing countries are
endogenous to the viability problem of the firms in the government’s priority
2.2 The Comparat|ve Advantage-Fo||ow|ng Strategy and
Market Inst|tut|ons
The government in developing countries could adopt an alternative strategy,
which I call a CAF strategy, to encourage firms in the country to enter the
industries for which the country has comparative advantages and to adopt
the technology in production that will make these firms viable.
When the government adopts a CAF strategy, all firms are in sectors
of the country’s comparative advantages and are viable. The firms have no
excuses for seeking government subsidies and protections; this reduces the
possibility of firms’ rent seeking and the possibility for the government to
have financial depression as a way to mobilize resources for the priority
sectors. Therefore, the way for a firm to be profitable is to improve its
management and technology so as to reduce costs and increase the quality of
products in order to increase its competitiveness in the market. International
trade will be more important under the CAF strategy than under the CAD
strategy, as the economy under the CAF strategy will import whatever
items are not its comparative advantages and export whatever it has
comparative advantages in. The openness of the economy will facilitate the
firms to borrow technology from developed countries, contributing to the
realization of the “advantage of backwardness.” Because firms fully utilize
the economy’s comparative advantages, the economy will be competitive in
domestic and international markets, have a larger surplus, accumulate more
capital, and have a faster upgrading of the endowment structure than what is
possible under the CAD strategy.
As discussed in the above subsection, the industries for which the
economy has comparative advantages and the technologies that are
appropriate for production are all endogenously determined by the country’s
factor endowments structure. However, the managers of firms, as micro
agents, have no knowledge of or concern for the actual endowments.
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
Their only concerns are the prices of their outputs and the costs of their
production. They will enter the industry and choose the technology of
production appropriately only if the relative factor prices correctly reflect
the relative factor abundances, which can be achieved only if the markets
are competitive. Therefore, when the government in a developing country
adopts a CAF strategy, its primary policy is to remove all possible obstacles
for the function of free, open, and competitive product and factor markets,
as suggested by neoclassical economics.
However, the government in a developing country that adopts the CAF
strategy can play a role that is larger than what is required by a minimum
government. When the factor endowment structure of the economy is
upgraded, the firms should upgrade their products/technologies accordingly
from a less capital-intensive industry to a relatively more capital-intensive
industry. Such technology and industry may already exist in the more
developed countries. However, the information for what exact technology
and industry would be best to borrow from the advanced countries may
not be freely available. It is necessary to invest resources for information
acquisition and analysis. If a firm carries out the activities on its own, it
will keep the information private, and other firms will be required to make
the same investment to obtain the information. There will be duplication
in information investments. However, the information has a public good
nature. After the information has been gathered and processed, the cost of
information dissemination is close to zero. Therefore, the government can
collect the information about the new industries, markets, and technology,
and make it available in the form of an industrial policy to all firms.
The upgrading of technology and industry in an economy often requires
coordination of different firms and sectors in the economy. For example,
the human capital or skill requirements of new industries/technologies may
be different from those used with older industries/technologies. A firm may
not be able to internalize the supply of the new human capital. Therefore,
the success of a firm’s industry/technology upgrade also depends on the
existence of an outside supply of new human capital. In addition to human
capital, the firms that are upgrading their technology and industries may
require new financial institutions, trading arrangements, marketing, and
distribution facilities, and so on. Therefore, the government may also use
the industrial policy to coordinate firms in different industries and sectors to
make necessary investments for the upgrade of industry/technology in the
Decade of Deve|opments
The upgrading of industry/technology is an innovation, and it is risky
by nature. Even with the information and coordination provided by the
government’s industrial policy, a firm’s attempt to upgrade its industry/
technology may fail due to the upgrade being too ambitious, the new market
being too small, the coordination being simply inadequate, and so forth.
The failure will indicate to other firms that the targets of the industrial
policy are not appropriate and, therefore, they can avoid that failure by
not following the policy. That is, the first firm pays the cost of failure and
produces valuable information for other firms. If the first firm succeeds, the
success will also provide externalities to other firms, prompting these firms
to engage in similar upgrades. These subsequent upgrades will also dissipate
the possible rents that the first firm may enjoy, so there is an asymmetry
between the costs of failure and the gains of success that the first firm may
have. To compensate for the externality and the asymmetry between the
possible costs and gains, the government may provide some form of subsidy,
such as tax incentives or loan guarantees, to the firms that initially follow
the government’s industrial policy.
It is worthwhile to note that there is a fundamental difference between
the industrial policy of the CAF strategy and that of the CAD strategy. The
promoted industry/technology in the CAF strategy is consistent with the
comparative advantage determined by changes in the economy’s factor
endowments, whereas the priority industry/technology that the CAD
strategy attempts to promote is not consistent with comparative advantage.
Therefore, the firms in the CAF strategy should be viable and a small,
limited-time subsidy should be enough to compensate for the information
externality. By contrast, firms following a CAD strategy are not viable, and
their survival depends on large, continuous policy favors/support from the

2.3 Deve|opment Strategy and Inc|us|ve, Equ|tab|e Growth
The government’s development strategies have determinant effects on
the income distribution in a country. The adoption of a CAD strategy
The dynamic comparative advantage is an often used argument for the government’s
industrial policy and support to the firms (Redding 1999). However, in our framework it
can be clearly seen that the argument is valid only if the government’s support is limited
to overcoming information and coordination costs and the pioneering firms’ externality
to other firms. The industry should be consistent with the comparative advantage of the
economy and the firms in the new industry should be viable, otherwise the firms will
collapse once the government’s supports are removed.
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
is most detrimental to the poor, most of them living on agriculture in
environmentally stressful, rural areas. The most important asset of the
poor is their own labor force. The rich have other assets: land, capital,
good education, personal relations, and political-economic networks. But
the poor, except for their labor, may not have other assets that could bring
them income. Because of this, unless their labor becomes relatively scarce
and valuable, it is almost impossible for them to increase their income and
improve their social status.
The production activities of rural people living below the poverty line
have their own characteristics as well. Because they are poor, they produce
mainly farm products, such as grain, which have low income and price
elasticity. Because of the low elasticity of income, overall economic growth
will have only minimum effects on the demand for farm produce. Because
of the low price elasticity, the production increase of an individual rural
household may increase its income. However, when most of them increase
production, the price will go down, resulting in little effect on the increase
of farm income.
These two characteristics make the attempt to increase the
rural poor people’s income by increasing agricultural production through
investments in infrastructure and technology alone ineffective.
In my view, the most important way to win the anti-poverty war and
achieve environmental sustainability is to reduce the rural labor force. When
the rural labor force is reduced, people living on agriculture in rural areas
will have more land and resources to work on. At the same time, when the
farm workers become non-farm workers, they will change from suppliers
to consumers of agricultural products. The supply curve of agricultural
products will thus shift to the left and the demand curve will shift to the
right. Consequently, the prices of agricultural products will go up, as will
the marginal product value of farm labor and its earnings. The income of
rural people will in this way increase as the farm labor continues decreasing.
Apart from this, the reduction of rural labor and rural population will also
help to ease the tension between population and the environment, avoiding
excessive pressure on the environment due to production and living
If the increased produce could be exported to international market, it would help
to increase the price elasticity of farm produce. Unfortunately, most countries have
imposed various barriers for the import of farm produce. Therefore, the opportunity for
a developing country to increase its export is pessimistic. In addition, the overvalued
exchange rate in most developing countries further impairs the competitiveness of their
export of farm produce.
Decade of Deve|opments
activities, which destroys the environment’s ability for self recovery and
makes the environment unsustainable.
To reduce the rural population and labor force, it is necessary to ensure
that people who have stopped farming can find jobs in non-agricultural
sectors in urban areas. Otherwise, the laborers that migrate from rural areas
will only turn into unemployed urban poor. The overall social welfare would
not improve in such a scenario.
Unfortunately, the governments of many developing countries adopted
the CAD strategy to build up the capital-intensive industries. These
industries required a large amount of investment but created only a small
number of job opportunities, making little room for the absorption of out-
migrated rural labor. This will result in one of the following consequences:
(i) The government puts restrictions on the migration from rural areas
to urban areas and lets the population below the poverty line stay
in rural areas, just as the People’s Republic of China did before the
transition to the market economy in 1979. In this case, not only will
rural poverty remain but, with the increase of the rural population
and the intensifications of living and production activities, the
environment will worsen.
(ii) The government allows rural people to migrate to urban areas. But
since industries in urban areas cannot create enough jobs and job
opportunities in the tertiary industries are also depressed due to the
slow income growth, most rural out-migrants will change only from
the status of rural poor to urban poor. The urban living environment
will also deteriorate.
Operation of nonviable firms under the CAD strategy requires
continuous financial support. When the domestic funds are exhausted, the
government often allows the nonviable firms to borrow from international
sources. But since they are in the comparative advantage-defying sectors, it
is hard for them to profitably export their products to international markets.
When they have to repay foreign loans, a financial and monetary crisis
may occur. Furthermore, due to the development of the non-comparative
advantage industries, domestic industries that have comparative advantages
cannot be fully developed for the lack of investments. Under these
circumstances, if the country is forced to open its door and adopt a free trade
policy, it will be a big shock to the domestic economy. Then, the poor—no
matter where they are—will be the group that is most seriously hurt, as in
the case of the recent Asian financial crisis (Lin 2000).
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
Contrary to the CAD strategy’s adverse effect on income distribution, a
CAF strategy will result in an inclusive and equitable income distribution.
A developing country will develop labor-intensive industries at the early
stage of its development if the government adopts a CAF strategy. The
CAF strategy will thus create more job opportunities, enabling the economy
to achieve full employment and enabling the poor to benefit from the
economy’s growth. Thus, the growth will be inclusive. Moreover, with
dynamic growth and faster accumulation of capital under the CAF strategy,
the labor force will turn from relatively abundant to relatively scarce. In this
case, the wage, which is the main source of income of the poor, will increase
while the return to capital, which is the main source of income of the rich,
will decline. Therefore, the growth will be equitable, creating the desirable
consequence of “growth with equity” (Fei, Ranis, and Kuo 1979; Hasan and
Quibria 2004). Under the CAF strategy, the government needs not distort the
financial sector to support nonviable firms, as in the case of a CAD strategy.
The financial system will perform its functions in a healthy way. Therefore,
the economy is less likely to encounter an economic crisis, which is most
detrimental to the poor.
3. EmpiricaI Testing
The previous section has discussed the effects of development strategy on
economic performance and income distribution. Two testable hypotheses are
in order:
1. A country that adopts a CAD strategy will have poor growth
2. A country that adopts a CAD strategy will have unequal income
This section will report the results of empirical testing of the above
3.1 Proxy for Deve|opment Strategy
In order to test the above hypotheses, a proxy for a country’s development
strategy is required. Lin and Liu (2004) proposed a technology choice index
(TCI) as a proxy for the development strategy implemented in a country.
The definition of the TCI is as follows:
Decade of Deve|opments

, (1)
where AVM
is the added value of manufacturing industries of country
i at time t; GDP
is the total added value of country i at time t; LM
the labor in the manufacturing industry, and L
is the total labor force.
If a government adopts a CAD strategy to promote its capital-intensive
industries, the TCI in this country is expected to be larger than otherwise.
This is because if a country adopts a CAD strategy, in order to overcome
the viability issue of the firms in the prioritized sectors of the manufacturing
industries, the government might give the firms monopoly positions in
the product markets—allowing them to charge higher output prices—and
provide them with subsidized credits and inputs to lower their investment
and operation costs. The above policy measures will result in a larger
than otherwise. Meanwhile, investment in the manufacturing industry
will be more capital-intensive and absorb less labor—ceteris paribus. The
nominator in Equation 1 will therefore be larger for a country that adopts
a CAD strategy. As such, given the income level and other conditions,
the magnitude of the TCI can be used as a proxy to the extent that a CAD
strategy is pursued in a country.
The data for calculating the TCI are taken
from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (2002) and the United
Nations Industrial Development Organization’s International Yearbook of
Industrial Statistics (2002).
3.2 Deve|opment Strategy and Econom|c Growth
Hypothesis 1 predicts that over an extended period, a country adopting
a CAD strategy will have poor growth performance. The following
econometric model is used to test the hypothesis:
=C + αTCI
+ βX + ζ, (2)
where GROWTH
is the economic growth rate during a certain period in
country i, X is a vector that includes the initial per capita gross domestic
Lin (2003) constructed another index—based on the ratio of capital intensity in the
manufacturing industry and the capital intensity in the whole economy—as a proxy for
measuring the degree with which a CAD strategy is pursued. That proxy is correlated
highly with the current proxy and the results of empirical analyses based on that proxy
are similar to the results reported in this section. The data for capital used in a country’s
manufacturing industry are, however, available for only a small number of countries. To
enlarge the number of countries in the study, I therefore used the proxy based on the added
value of manufacturing industries as defined in Equation 1 in this section.


lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
product (GDP) to control the effect of the stage of development, the
initial population size to control the effect of market size, the indicator of
rule of law to reflect the institutional quality—which was constructed by
Kaufmann, Kraay, and Zoido-Lobatón (2002)—the trade-dependent ratio
to reflect openness, the distance from the equator, and whether the country
is landlocked. The last two explanatory variables are included to capture
the effects of geography. The instrumental variable for controlling the
endogeneity of institutional quality is the share of population that speaks
English and the share that speaks a major European language (Hall and
Jones 1999), which are used to capture the long-run impacts of colonial
origin on current institutional quality. Similarly, the fitted values of trade
predicted by a gravity model are used as the instrument for openness. This
approach was proposed by Frankel and Romer (1999) and revised by Dollar
and Kraay (2003). In the regressions that use panel data, the instrument for
openness is the single-period lagged value of itself. Table 4.1 summarizes
the definition of each variable and the data source.
Decade of Deve|opments
Tab|e 4.1 Variab|e Deñnition and Data Source
GDP = gross domest|c product, TOl = techno|ogy cho|ce |ndex.
Var|ab|e Deñn|t|on Mean
LnGDP60 Log of real GDP per capita in 1960 7.33 0.80 World Bank
LnGDP80 Log of real GDP per capita in 1980 7.91 1.05 World Bank
LnGDP Log of real GDP per capita in 7.73 1.02 World Bank
1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 7ORLD$EVELOPMENT
LnTCl1 Log of the average technology 0.96 0.90 World Bank
choice index from 1963 to 1999 7ORLD$EVELOPMENT
)NDICATORS (2002) and
UNlDO (2002)
LnTCl2 Log of the average TCl per decade 0.85 0.84 World Bank
in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s 7ORLD$EVELOPMENT
UNlDO (2002)
LnTCl70 Log of the average TCl from 0.91 0.92 World Bank
1970 to 1979. lf not available, 7ORLD$EVELOPMENT
we use the log of the average )NDICATORS(2002)
TCl from 1980 to 1985 and UNlDO (2002)
RL01 Rule of law in 2000-01 0.003 0.95 Kaufmann et al. (2002)
LnOPEN1 Log of the average -1.11 0.81 Dollar and Kraay (2003)
(exports + imports)/GDP from
1960 to 1999
LnOPEN2 Log of the decadal average -1.30 0.84 Dollar and Kraay (2003)
(exports + imports)/GDP in
1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
LnPOP1 Log of the total mid-year 15.2 2.11 World Bank
population from 1960 to 1999 7ORLD$EVELOPMENT
LnPOP2 Log of the total initial-year 14.93 2.12 World Bank
population in 1960s, 1970s, 7ORLD$EVELOPMENT
1980s, 1990s )NDICATORS (2002)
LANDLOCK Dummy variable taking value of 0.18 0.39 Dollar and Kraay (2003)
1 if country is land-locked;
0 otherwise
LnDlST Log (DlSTEQ+1), where 2.96 0.88 Dollar and Kraay (2003)
DlSTEQ is the distance from
the Equator, measured as absolute
value of latitude of the capital city
ENGFRAC Fraction of population 0.07 0.24 Hall and Jones (1999),
speaking English taken from Dollar and
Kraay (2003)
EURFRAC Fraction of population 0.22 0.38 Hall and Jones (1999),
speaking a major European language taken from Dollar and
Kraay (2003)
LnFRlNST lnstrument variable for LnOPEN -2.83 0.64 Dollar and Kraay (2003)
lNST Predicted value of RL01 0.003 0.34
in the cross-section estimation
the instruments)
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
I will use two approaches to test this hypothesis. In the first approach,
the dependent variable is the average annual growth rate of per capita GDP
for the period 1962–1999, and in the second, the dependent variable is the
average annual growth rate of per capita GDP for each decade of the 1960s,
1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
Table 4.2 reports the estimates from the first approach. Regression
Models 2.1 and 2.2 use the ordinary least squares (OLS) approach to obtain
the estimates. The explanatory variables in Model 2.1 include only the
proxy for the development strategy, LnTCI1, and the initial GDP per capita,
LnGDP60, whereas Model 2.2 includes other explanatory variables that
capture institutional quality, openness, geographic location, and market size.
Model 2.3 has the same explanatory variables but the model uses the two-
stage least squares (2SLS) approach in order to control the endogeneity of
institutional quality and openness.
The results show that the TCI has the expected negative effect and is
highly significant in all three regressions. This finding supports Hypothesis
1 that the more aggressively a country pursued a CAD strategy, the worse
the growth performance was in that country in the period 1962–1999. The
estimated coefficients of LnTCI1 have values ranging from –0.66 to –1.25.
From the estimates, we can infer that a 10% increase from the mean in the
TCI can result in approximately 0.1 of a percentage point reduction in the
country’s average annual growth rate of per capita GDP for the whole period
of 1962–1999.
The regression results also show that the initial per capita income and
the population size have the expected signs and significant effects on the
growth rate. Rule of law, openness, and distance from the equator also
have the expected signs. Rule of law is not, however, significant in the
2SLS regression and distance from the equator is not significant in the OLS
regression. Whether the country is landlocked is insignificant in all three
Decade of Deve|opments
Tab|e 4.2 Deve|opment Strategy and Economic Growth
GDP = gross domest|c product, O|S = ord|nary |east squares, 2S|S = two-stage |east squares.
Dependent var|ab|e |s the year|y average of per-cap|ta GDP growth rate |n 1962-1999.
* |nd|cates s|gn|fcance at the 10% |eve|.
** |nd|cates s|gn|fcance at the 5% |eve|.
*** |nd|cates s|gn|fcance at the 1% |eve|.
Standard errors are reported |n parentheses.
Source: Authors` ca|cu|at|ons based on Wor|d Trade Ana|yzer for trade share.
Table 4.3 reports the results from the second approach, in which the
dependent variable is the average annual growth rate of per capita GDP
in each decade from 1960–1999. The regressions to fit the estimates were
OLS for Models 3.1 and 3.2, one-way fixed effect for Model 3.3, 2SLS for
Model 3.4, and 2SLS and one-way fixed effect for Model 3.5. In the fixed-
effect models, time dummies were added to control the time effects, whereas
the 2SLS models were used for controlling the endogeneity of institutional
quality and openness.
As in the results in the first approach, the estimates for the TCI have
the expected negative sign and are highly significant in all regressions.
The finding is once again consistent with the prediction of Hypothesis 1
that development strategy is a prime determinant of the long-run economic
Mode| 2.1 Mode| 2.2 Mode| 2.3
Constant 7.32*** 4.66** 3.26
(1.60) (1.87) (2.15)
LnTCl1 -1.25*** -0.66*** -0.92***
(0.20) (0.18) (0.19)
LnGDP60 -0.54*** -0.99*** -0.59***
(0.20) (0.18) (0.21)
RL01 0.58***
lNST 0.22
LnOPEN1 0.70***
TRADE1 0.93**
LnDlST 0.20 0.47***
(0.16) (0.16)
LnPOP1 0.33*** 0.22**
(0.09) (0.09)
LANDLOCK 0.07 0.46
(0.32) (0.38)
0.36 0.56 0.44
Observations 85 83 83
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
growth performance of a country. The results for other explanatory variables
are similar to those in Table 4.2.
Tab|e 4.3 Deve|opment Strategy and Economic Growth
GDP = gross domest|c product, O|S = ord|nary |east squares, 2S|S = two-stage |east squares.
* |nd|cates s|gn|fcance at the 10% |eve|.
** |nd|cates s|gn|fcance at the 5% |eve|.
*** |nd|cates s|gn|fcance at the 1% |eve|.
Dependent var|ab|e |s the average growth rate of GDP per cap|ta |n the decades 1960s, 1970s,
1980s, and 1990s. Mode|s 3.3 and 3.5 |nc|ude the t|me dummy. Standard errors are reported |n
Source: Authors` ca|cu|at|ons based on Ün|ted States Oensus Bureau for ÜS data, OANSlM for
Oanad|an data, ASEAN Stat|st|ca| Yearbooks for the ASEAN+6 countr|es, and economy-spec|fc
stat|st|ca| yearbooks for the rest of |nc|uded econom|es for FDl fows and tour|sts.
3.3 Deve|opment Strategy and Income D|str|but|on
In testing the effect of development strategy on income distribution, the
following regression equation is used:
=C + αTCI
+ βX + ε, (3)
where GINI
is the index of inequality in country i at time t, TCI is a
proxy for the development strategy, and X is a vector of other explanatory
Mode| 3.1 Mode| 3.2 Mode| 3.3 Mode| 3.4
Mode| 3.5

(OLSj (OLSj (ñxed effectj (2SLSj
(2SLS, ñxed
Constant 7.15*** 8.36*** 3.83* -0.74 -2.70
(1.61) (2.16) (2.11) (2.56) (2.37)
LnTCl2 -1.10*** -0.69*** -0.40** -0.69*** -0.47**
(0.21) (0.20) (0.19) (0.24) (0.22)
LnGDP -0.54*** -1.39*** -0.86*** -0.17 0.17
(0.18) (0.23) (0.23) (0.27) (0.25)
RL01 1.45*** 1.12***
(0.23) (0.22)
lNST -0.38 -0.67*
(0.42) (0.38)
LnOPEN2 0.24 0.35
(0.23) (0.22)
TRADE2 0.01 -0.06
(0.29) (0.27)
LnDlST -0.04 -0.10 0.27 0.17
(0.18) (0.17) (0.20) (0.18)
LnPOP2 0.32*** 0.41*** 0.22* 0.27**
(0.10) (0.09) (0.12) (0.12)
LANDLOCK -0.31 0.08 -0.23 0.02
(0.39) (0.36) (0.46) (0.43)
0.08 0.23 0.36 0.08 0.24
Observations 315 278 278 213 213
Decade of Deve|opments
Gini coefficients are taken from a revised version of the data set in
Deininger and Squire (1996). The data set includes the estimation of
Gini coefficients for many countries in the literature. Some are estimated
according to the data on income; others are based on expenditure. The
coverage differs between the different countries’ Gini data. Deininger and
Squire (1996) assessed the quality of Gini coefficient estimations; only those
ranked as “acceptable” were used in the regression. The original estimates
of Gini coefficients based on income data were left unchanged, but those
based on consumption expenditure were adjusted by adding 6.6, which is
the average difference between the two estimation methods. For details of
the calculation of the TCI index and data sources, see Lin (2003). Matching
this Gini data with the TCI, I ended up with a panel of 261 samples from 33
countries. Figure 4.2 shows the relationship between the TCI and the Gini
Figure 4.2 Deve|opment Strategy and Income Distribution
TOl = techno|ogy cho|ce |ndex.
In order to test alternative hypotheses for the determination of inequality,
I have included the explanatory variables—per capita income, GDPPC
and its reciprocal, GDPPC_1
—which test the Kuznets inversed-U
hypothesis. If Kuznets’ hypothesis holds, the coefficients for these two
variables should be significantly negative.
Based on the data set of Deininger and Squire (1996), Li, Squire, and
Zou (1998) conducted a robust empirical test. The result showed that the
Gini coefficient for an individual country was relatively constant across
different periods. Based on this conclusion, the Gini coefficient in the initial
year in the data set was introduced into the regression, denoted by “IGINI.”
In this way, the historical factors that could affect income distribution
and those non-observable factors across countries can be excluded. In
For this specification, please refer to Deininger and Squire (1996).
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
the data set, the year of IGINI differs from country to country. In spite of
this difference, the higher the IGINI, the higher are the subsequent Gini
coefficients—regardless of the initial year. As a result, the coefficient of
IGINI is expected to be positive.
Corruption could also affect income distribution. Two explanatory
variables are included in the regression: the index for corruption, CORR
and the quality of officials, BQ
. The data for these two variables are taken
from Sachs and Warner (2000) and they differ from country to country
but remain constant throughout the period studied. The larger the value
is, the less is the corruption and the higher is the quality of officials. The
coefficients of these two variables are expected to be negative.
Foreign trade could also affect income distribution. It affects the relative
prices of factors of production (Samuelson 1978) and market opportunities
for different sectors in the economy. Consequently, trade—through its effect
on employment opportunities (Krugman and Obstfeld 1997)—can affect
income distribution. The regression therefore includes an index of economic
openness, denoted by OPEN
, which is the share of total import and export
value in nominal GDP, as an explanatory variable. The data are taken from
Easterly and Yu (2000). Openness could, however, have different impacts on
skilled and unskilled labor, on tradable and non-tradable sectors, and in the
short run and in the long run. Its sign is therefore uncertain.
Table 4.4 reports the results from five regression models. Model 4.1
includes all explanatory variables: TCI, IGINI, GDPPC, GDPPC_1, CORR,
BQ, and OPEN. As CORR, BQ, and OPEN are endogenous, other models
exclude these variables to control the endogeneity problem. Because IGINI,
CORR, and BQ are time invariant, the one-way effects model is applied in
fitting the regression of Models 4.1, 4.2, and 4.4. According to Hausman
tests, the one-way random-effect model is used in the regressions of
Models 4.1, 4.2, and 4.4, and the two-way fixed-effect model is used in the
regression of Models 4.3 and 4.5.
The estimated coefficients of TCI are positive and significant at the
1% level in all five regression models. These results strongly support the
hypothesis that the more a country pursues a CAD strategy, the more severe
will be the income disparity in that country. This result holds whether the
initial income distribution is equal or unequal.
The estimated coefficients of IGINI are also positive and significant at
the 1% level in Models 4.1, 4.2, and 4.4. This result is consistent with the
finding in Li, Squire, and Zou (1998): the initial income distribution will
have a carry-over effect in the subsequent period’s income distribution.
Decade of Deve|opments
The estimated coefficients of GDPPC and GDPPC_1 in Models 4.1,
4.3, and 4.4 are all insignificant and have an unexpected positive sign—
except for GDPPC in Model 4.1. Kuznets’ inversed-U hypothesis of income
distribution is therefore rejected.
The results in Model 4.1 show that the coefficient for CORR
has an
unexpected positive sign. One possible reason for this is that the effect of
corruption on distribution is not reflected accurately in the surveys. The
coefficient for bureaucracy quality, BQ
, has an expected, but insignificant,
negative sign. The coefficient for openness, OPEN, is positive, but not
Tab|e 4.4 Effect of Deve|opment Strategy on Inequa|ity
fxed-effect mode|.
random-effect mode|.
* |nd|cates s|gn|fcance at the 10% |eve|.
** |nd|cates s|gn|fcance at the 5% |eve|.
*** |nd|cates s|gn|fcance at the 1% |eve|.
Nu|| hypothes|s of Hausman test: there |s a random effect |n countr|es and t|me. Standard errors
are reported |n parentheses.
Source: Authors` ca|cu|at|ons based on Ün|ted States Oensus Bureau for ÜS data, OANSlM for
Oanad|an data, ASEAN Stat|st|ca| Yearbooks for the ASEAN-6 countr|es, and economy-spec|fc
stat|st|ca| yearbooks for the rest of |nc|uded econom|es for FDl fows and tour|sts.
From the results above, it is clear that development strategy and initial
income distribution are the two most important determinants of income
distribution in a country. For a country in which the government follows a
Mode| 4.1
Mode| 4.2
Mode| 4.3
Mode| 4.4
Mode| 4.5
CONSTANT 6.46 8.18*** 31.5*** 8.09*** 32.6***
(4.72) (2.40) (1.75) (3.16) (0.97)
TCl 1.32*** 1.35*** 1.84*** 1.35*** 1.72***
(0.33) (0.31) (0.48) (0.32) (0.46)
lGlNl 0.73*** 0.71*** 0.71***
(0.08) (0.07) (0.07)
GDPPC -0.89 0.43 0.74
(11.3) (12.6) (10.8)
GDPPC_1 0.40 1.91 3.21
(1.84) (2.11) (16.6)
CORR 1.03*
BQ -0.84
OPEN 0.12
R2 0.9040 0.8941 0.5495 0.8936 0.5780
Hausman statistics 3.32 1.19 23.91 1.99 7.98
Hausman P-value 0.19 0.28 0.00 0.37 0.00
Sample 261 observations from 33 countries
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
CAF strategy, income distribution will become more equal even if its initial
income distribution is unequal. In effect, this is the “growth with equity”
phenomenon observed in Taipei,China and other newly industrialized
economies in East Asia (Fei, Ranis, and Kuo 1979).
4. ConcIuding Remarks
In this chapter, I argued that the way for a developing country to eliminate
poverty and to achieve inclusive and equitable growth is to follow a
comparative advantage-following (CAF) strategy. However, after gaining
political independence after World War II, many developing countries
under the leadership of their revolutionary leaders adopted a comparative
advantage-defying (CAD) strategy for the purpose of accelerating their
countries’ modernization and nation building. For carrying out such a
strategy, the governments in those countries introduced various interventions
and distortions to protect and subsidize the nonviable firms in the priority
sectors, causing poor economic performance and inequitable income
distributions. As a result, they failed to have a sustainable and inclusive
growth. Therefore, it is imperative for those developing countries to carry
out necessary reforms so as to shift the path of their economic development
from that of a CAD strategy to that of a CAF strategy. However, the
existing distortions in those developing countries are endogenous to the
needs of protecting/subsidizing the nonviable firms in the CAD strategy’s
priority sectors. A shock therapy, which attempts to eliminate all distortions
immediately or in a short sequence without addressing the firms’ viability
issues first, may result in economic collapse and stagnation as what has
happened in Eastern European and Former Soviet Union countries during
the 1990s. It is more effective in the reform process to adopt a gradual,
dual-track approach, as practiced in the People’s Republic of China and
Viet Nam, that allows entry to the previously repressed sectors in the CAD
strategy and continues to provide necessary subsidies and protections to the
nonviable firms in the CAD strategy before the firms’ viability problem is
eliminated (Lin 2007).
If a developing country successfully switches to the CAF strategy, it is
expected that the economy will have dynamic growth with quick changes
in the industrial and employment structures, similar to what happened in
the East Asian newly industrializing economies. Therefore, to achieve
inclusive and equitable growth, the government should invest in education
so that labor in the rural and traditional sectors will have the ability to adapt
to the job requirements in the urban, modern sectors. Governments should
Decade of Deve|opments
also invest in agricultural technology and rural infrastructure in order to
help those people remaining in the rural agricultural sectors. In addition,
among other activities, governments need to introduce reforms in various
social, economic, legal, and political institutions in order to facilitate their
countries’ transitions from traditional agriculture to modern industrial
societies. With the joint efforts of the government and the people, it is
possible to achieve inclusive and equitable growth in a developing country.
lv. Poverty Reduct|on, lnc|us|ve Growth, and Deve|opment Strateg|es
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V. R|s|ng Inequa||t|es |n As|a:
An Imperat|ve for Inc|us|ve Growth
Ifzal Ali
1. lntroduction
The release of two highly publicized reports in 2006 will have a major
impact on the development debate in Asia over the next two decades. India,
which has had poverty reduction as the central goal of policy over the last 50
years, has recently switched to a new development strategy focusing on two
basic goals: raising economic growth and making growth more inclusive
(World Bank 2006b). The central focus of the 2006 World Development
Report (World Bank 2006a) is the pursuit of equality of opportunity while
avoiding extreme deprivation. Both reports emphasize the paramount
importance of inclusive growth, i.e., creating economic opportunities
through sustainable growth and making the opportunities available to all,
including the poor.
The key messages of this chapter are as follows. Rising income
inequalities and the persistence of unacceptably high levels of non-income
inequalities pose a clear and present danger to Asia’s sustained progress.
Inclusive growth that focuses on both creating opportunities rapidly and
making them accessible to all, including the disadvantaged and the bypassed,
is a necessary but insufficient condition for reducing inequality outcomes.
Inclusive growth that focuses on understanding and addressing the causal
factors underpinning inequality outcomes is process-oriented and is primarily
concerned with ex ante policy formulation. Ex post measurement of inclusive
growth assesses the extent and degree of inclusiveness attained. Finally,
inclusive growth needs to address economic, social, and political constraints
in generating opportunities, as well as ensuring equal access to them.
2. lncome and Non-lncome lnequaIities in Asia

2.1 Inequa||t|es are R|s|ng
Figure 5.1 presents estimates of the Gini coefficient, a popular measure
of relative inequality. Seven countries have Gini coefficients of around
40 or more; the remaining countries have Gini coefficients of 30 to 40.
This section draws heavily from the special chapter “Inequality in Asia” in Key Indicators
2007 (Asian Development Bank 2007).
Decade of Deve|opments
These current levels of inequality represent increases over the last ten years
(see Figure 5.2). An increase in inequality is registered for a majority of
economies. The increases in inequality in Bangladesh, Cambodia, People’s
Republic of China (PRC), Nepal, and Sri Lanka are noteworthy.
Figure 5.1 Gini Coefñcients in ADB Member Economies
(Expenditure and Income Distributions}
ADB = As|an Deve|opment Bank, |ao PDR = |ao Peop|e`s Democrat|c Repub||c, PRO = Peop|e`s
Repub||c of Oh|na.
Note: Pre-househo|d |ncome d|str|but|ons are used for Korea |urban wage and sa|ar|ed househo|ds
on|yì and Ta|pe|,Oh|na. Per-cap|ta expend|ture d|str|but|ons are used for the rest.
Source: ADB 2007.
Nepa|, 2003
PRC, 2004
Phi|ippines, 2003
Turkmenistan, 2003
Thai|and, 2002
Ma|aysia, 2004
Sri Lanka, 2002
Cambodia, 2004
Viet Nam, 2004
Azerbaijan, 2001
India, 2004
Lao PDR, 2002
Indonesia, 2002
Bang|adesh, 2005
Taipei,China, 2003
Kazakhstan, 2003
Armenia, 2003
Mongo|ia, 2002
Tajikistan, 2003
Korea, Rep. of, 2004
Pakistan, 2004
Kyrgyz Repub|ic, 2003
0 10 20 30 40 50
v. R|s|ng lnequa||t|es |n As|a: An lmperat|ve for lnc|us|ve Growth
Figure 5.2 Changes in Gini Coefñcient for Expenditure/Income Distributions,
1990s-2000s (Percentage Points}
|ao PDR = |ao Peop|e`s Democrat|c Repub||c, PRO = Peop|e`s Repub||c of Oh|na.
Note: Years over wh|ch changes are computed are as fo||ows: Armen|a |1998-2003ì; Azerba|jan
|1995-2001ì; Bang|adesh |1991-2005ì; Oambod|a |1993-2004ì; PRO |1993-2004ì; lnd|a
|1993-2004ì; lndones|a |1993-2002ì; Kazakhstan |1996-2003ì; Korea |1993-2004ì; |ao PDR
|1992-2002ì; Ma|ays|a |1993-2004ì; Mongo||a |1995-2002ì; Nepa| |1995-2003ì; Pak|stan
|1992-2004ì; Ph|||pp|nes |1994-2003ì; Sr| |anka |1995-2002ì; Ta|pe|,Oh|na |1993-2003ì;
Taj|k|stan |1999-2003ì; Tha||and |1992-2002ì; Turkmen|stan |1998-2003ì; and v|et Nam
|1993-2004ì; lncome d|str|but|on for Korea and Ta|pe|,Oh|na; expend|ture d|str|but|on for the rest.
Source: ADB 2007.
Moving to an absolute measure of inequality provides an even more
compelling story. Figure 5.3 describes changes in per capita expenditure
levels of the top 20% and bottom 20%. The bars represent the level changes
while percentage changes are provided in parentheses. The richest 20% have
been experiencing the largest gains in expenditures in all the economies
depicted in the figure. This is also the case for those economies where the
bottom 20% registered a higher growth rate in per capita expenditure than
the top 20% (for example, Indonesia).
-5 0 5 10
Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 5.3 Changes in Per Capita Expenditures. Bottom 20¾ and Top 20¾,
1990s-2000s (in 1993 PPP do||ars}
|ao PDR = |ao Peop|e`s Democrat|c Repub||c, PPP = purchas|ng power par|ty, PRO = Peop|e`s
Repub||c of Oh|na.
Note: Years over wh|ch changes are computed are as fo||ows: Bang|adesh |1991-2005ì;
Oambod|a |1993-2004ì; PRO |1993-2004ì; lnd|a |1993-2004ì; lndones|a |1993-2002ì; |ao PDR
|1992-2002ì; Ma|ays|a |1993-2004ì; Nepa| |1995-2003ì; Pak|stan |1992-2004ì; Ph|||pp|nes
|1994-2003ì; Sr| |anka |1995-2002ì; Tha||and |1992-2002ì; and v|et Nam |1993-2004ì. Numbers
|n parentheses perta|n to annua||zed growth rates.
Source: ADB 2007.
The picture that emerges is that in a majority of Asian countries,
inequality has increased. However, this is not a story of the rich getting
richer and the poor getting poorer. Rather, the rich are getting richer faster
than the poor. This point is important because while economists focus on
relative inequality, politically and socially, absolute inequalities can get
considerable attention.
Inequalities in income and expenditure represent only one dimension
of inequality. Inequalities in health, education, and economic assets such as
land could be high even in countries where income inequality is not high. As
an example, India and Pakistan, which do not have high income inequalities,
have very unequal outcomes in terms of how severely underweight children
are distributed across rich and poor households. In India, 5% of the children
are severely underweight among the richest 20% of households. In the case
of the poorest 20% of households, this share is 28%. Education outcomes
150 0 50 100
Bottom20% Top20%
(3.40j (7.10j
v. R|s|ng lnequa||t|es |n As|a: An lmperat|ve for lnc|us|ve Growth
show a similar pattern, with Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan having
very unequal education attainments.
Low levels of income inequality can also coexist with high levels
of inequality in asset ownership and access to infrastructure services.
The distribution of land, one of the most important economic assets, in
developing Asia is heavily concentrated. This is particularly true in the
South Asian countries where income/expenditure inequalities are low. A
similar phenomenon is seen in terms of access to public services like clean
water, health facilities, sanitation, electricity, and schools. Banerjee, Iyer,
and Somanathan (2007) showed that a great proportion of the population
in lagging subnational regions in Asian countries have little or no access to
these public services. This is especially true for South Asian countries like
India and Nepal.
The description of inequalities in developing Asia highlights three issues.
First, income/expenditure inequalities are rising in many Asian countries.
Second, low levels of income/expenditure inequality can coexist with
high levels of inequality in important dimensions of well-being that could
circumscribe the capacity of people to participate in productive economic
activities. Third, a concentration of assets implies that for the economically
disadvantaged, potential economic opportunities may be difficult to seize.
2.2 Dr|vers of R|s|ng Inequa||t|es
The key factor responsible for increases in inequality appears to be
unevenness in growth. Three dimensions of uneven growth seem especially
pertinent in accounting for increases in inequality in many parts of the
region. First, growth has been uneven across subnational locations (i.e.,
across provinces, regions, or states). Second, growth has been uneven
across the rural and urban sectors. Finally, growth has been uneven across
households, such that incomes at the top of the distribution have grown
faster than those in the middle and/or the bottom. In particular, the growth of
incomes has tended to be the highest for the best educated.
One can ask what policy factors are behind these patterns of uneven
growth. The policy factors are complex. However, some broad themes
emerge. First, there has been a relative neglect of the agriculture sector by
policymakers. While economic development entails a move off the farm to
industry and services, deficiencies in public investments in agriculture, and
the rural economy more generally, have been problematic precisely because
the productivity of agriculture determines the standards of living of so many
Decade of Deve|opments
people in Asia. Even today, a majority of the labor force of many Asian
countries, especially the largest ones, is to be found engaged in agriculture.
Second, the interplay between market-oriented reforms, globalization,
and technology has played a role in unequal growth. In several countries, for
example, dismantling state-owned enterprises has been part and parcel of
market-oriented reforms. Typically, state-owned enterprises have had fairly
compressed wage distributions. As the importance of the private sector has
grown, it would be natural to find increases in wage inequality.
Similarly, globalization—or increased international integration—
has tended to benefit certain subregions within countries over others. For
example, in the PRC, there is a general consensus among analysts that
sharpening income disparities between coastal and interior regions have
been driven by the country’s increased openness. The cost of shipping goods
from the coastal regions to major international trade centers is far lower
than that of shipping goods from interior regions. The lowering of barriers
to trade has probably also reduced the bargaining power of workers relative
to capital. This has happened on account of the fact that capital and skilled
workers are far more mobile across countries than relatively unskilled
Finally, new technologies display a bias in favor of skills. The same is
true of foreign direct investment. Either way, the demand for skilled workers
has increased faster than the demand for unskilled workers. The result has
been faster growth of wages among the skilled. Since these are precisely the
group of workers who would have been better paid to begin with, inequality
would increase.
Turning to inequalities in access to public services, a major issue is the
rapid decline in the effective delivery of these services (ADB 2006; World
Bank 2006b; Tandon and Zhuang 2007). A deterioration of public ethics,
public institutions, and public administration has resulted in significant
leakages of public expenditures that do not reach the target groups. As
a result, schools with errant teachers, measles immunization that never
reaches rural areas, and child nutrition programs that are not delivered are
commonplace in many Asian countries. A lack of accountability on the parts
of governments to deliver public social services is widespread.
Land reforms that never took place are the root cause of inequality in
land or access to it. Lack of political will and/or elite capture of political
institutions make meaningful land reform exceedingly difficult in many
countries. Related to inequality in land or access to it is the lack of access to
v. R|s|ng lnequa||t|es |n As|a: An lmperat|ve for lnc|us|ve Growth
credit that compounds the problem. Debt, penury, and pauperization all go
2.3 Inequa||ty Matters
An influential view in the development community is that greater inequality
is inherent in the growth process (Lewis 1983). In the process of structural
transformation and growth, certain regions in certain sectors can be expected
to benefit first. This would cause some increase in inequality initially. As
growth proceeds, more regions and sectors undergo beneficial transformation
and inequality declines. This view is consistent with the famous “Kuznets
curve,” where inequality first rises and then falls with economic growth.
There are two problems with this viewpoint. First, the empirical
evidence for the Kuznets curve is weak. In the Asian context, Republic
of Korea and Taipei,China clearly demonstrated in their rapid period of
growth between the 1970s and 1990s that a rapid and sustained increase
in inequality is not an inevitable result of high economic growth. Their
income-based Gini coefficients never reached 40 during their period of rapid
growth. In fact, they declined over some periods of high growth. Second,
there are compelling reasons to believe that high levels of inequality may
in fact hinder future growth. The specific mechanisms work through wealth
effects and political economy channels.
People with little wealth or low incomes find it difficult to invest
in wealth- or income-augmenting activities. This is compounded by
imperfections in financial markets that seriously constrain the ability of
otherwise credit-worthy individuals to borrow to finance investments in
education or business opportunities. Underinvestment by people with little
wealth or low income impacts negatively on growth.
An alternative way of looking at the same problem has been recently
enunciated (Banerjee 2007). Against the phenomenon of the rich getting
richer faster than the poor, it becomes harder for the poor to compete with
the rich for limited resources including capital. With too much capital
concentrated in the hands of the rich, allocative inefficiency in investment
will impact negatively on growth.
The political economy considerations operate at three different levels.
First, high levels of inequality lead to pressures to redistribute, which, if
executed through a distortionary manner, may lower growth. Second, the
persistence of inequalities reinforces the capture of political, economic,
and legal institutions by an elite who ensures that the benefits of public
policy, public investment, and public services accrue to the most favored.
Decade of Deve|opments
The capture of political power by an elite that leads to political inequality
aggravates the initial inequality in endowments and opportunities
(Bourguignon, Ferreira, and Walton 2006; Rajan and Zingales 2007). Third,
the call for redistribution and sharing of political power can range from
peaceful and prolonged street demonstration to violent civil war. In their
extreme form, these tensions could lead to armed conflict as has recently
occurred in Nepal (Murshed and Gates 2005). A lack of opportunities, as
indicated by higher poverty rates or lower literacy rates, has been found to
be significantly associated with a higher intensity of violent conflict (Do and
Iyer 2006).
Clearly, rising inequalities in Asia pose a clear and present danger to
social and political stability, and therefore the sustainability of the growth
process itself.
3. lncIusive Growth: A ConceptuaI Framework
The discussion on the nature and drivers of inequalities points to three
noteworthy issues. First, rising inequalities could be an inherent by-product
of the growth process, and knee-jerk reactions to eliminate increases in
inequalities may stifle the growth process itself. Second, lack of access to
basic public services, credit, and risk-mitigating instruments perpetuates the
lack of capabilities and opportunities for large sections of society. Third,
the marginalization and bypassing of significant sections of society could
undermine the sustainability of growth.
Inequality is an outcome, and how it should be addressed must begin
with identifying the drivers of inequality. Inequalities can be associated with
efforts that respond to market incentives. Inequalities also arise from lack of
access to social services, geography, and social exclusion that are related to
circumstances. An individual’s circumstances, such as religious background,
parental education, geographical location, and caste (in India) are exogenous
to and outside the control of the individual; he or she should not be held
responsible for them. Inequalities due to differences in circumstances often
reflect social exclusion arising from weaknesses of the existing systems
of property and civil rights, and thus should be addressed through public
policy interventions. On the other hand, an individual’s efforts represent
actions that are under the control of the individual, for which he or she
should be held responsible. Inequalities due to differences in efforts
reflect and reinforce market-based incentives needed to foster innovation,
entrepreneurship, and growth. Incentives should not be disregarded.
v. R|s|ng lnequa||t|es |n As|a: An lmperat|ve for lnc|us|ve Growth
Differences in outcomes, such as differences in incomes across
individuals, reflect some combination of differences in efforts, i.e., the set
of actions that are under the control of the individual; and differences in
circumstances, i.e., the factors, including economic, social, or biological
ones that are outside the control of the individual (Roemer 2006).
The inequalities that result from differences in efforts are acceptable
and even desirable to the extent that they reflect the incentives that an
economy provides to its citizens for working harder, looking out for new
opportunities, and taking the risks entailed in seizing them. However,
inequalities resulting from differences in circumstances are not only ethically
unacceptable, they result in wasted productive potential and misallocation
of resources. Disadvantages of circumstances are doubly undesirable. In
addition to the disadvantages that they create as when access to education,
health care, and job opportunities is unevenly distributed, they can create
additional disadvantages by negatively influencing the amount of effort that
an individual in unfortunate circumstances is willing to make. Inequality of
opportunities caused by circumstance-based inequalities should be the target
of public policies.
The distinction between inequality outcomes resulting from efforts and
circumstances provides the basis for the definition and rationale for inclusive
growth. Inclusive growth is growth that not only creates new economic
opportunities but also ensures equal access to the opportunities created for
all segments of society including the disadvantaged and the marginalized.
Growth is inclusive when it allows all members of a society to participate in,
and contribute to, the growth process on an equal footing regardless of their
individual circumstances (Ali and Zhuang 2007).
The importance of equal access to opportunities for all lies in its intrinsic
value as well as its instrumental role. The intrinsic value is based on the
belief that equal access to opportunity is a basic right of human beings and
that it is unethical and immoral to treat individuals differently in access to
opportunities. The instrumental role comes from the recognition that equal
access to opportunities increases growth potential, while inequality in access
to opportunities diminishes it and makes growth unsustainable because it
leads to inefficient utilization of human and physical resources, lowers the
quality of institutions and policies, erodes social cohesion, and increases
social conflict.
The differentiation of inequalities arising from efforts from those arising
from circumstances leads to an important distinction between “inequalities
of outcomes” and “inequalities of opportunities” (World Bank 2001a
Decade of Deve|opments
and 2006a). Inequalities of opportunities are mostly due to differences in
individual circumstances, while inequalities of outcomes such as incomes
reflect some combination of differences in efforts and in circumstances.
If policy interventions succeed in ensuring full equality of access to
opportunities, inequalities in outcomes would then only reflect differences
in efforts, which hence could be viewed as “good inequalities” (Chaudhuri
and Ravallion 2007). On the other hand, if all individuals exert the same
level of efforts, while policy interventions cannot fully compensate for the
disadvantages of circumstances, the resulting inequalities in outcomes are
“bad inequalities.” While these two extreme cases are useful for analytical
purposes, in reality, inequalities in outcomes would consist of both good
or desirable and bad or undesirable inequalities. Equalities in opportunities
that emphasize eliminating circumstance-related bad inequalities so as to
alleviate inequalities in outcomes are at the core of inclusiveness and at the
heart of an inclusive growth strategy.
The recognition that equality of opportunities need not necessarily
translate into equality of outcomes, i.e., lower levels of inequality achieved,
is important. Inclusive growth, with its simultaneous focus on rapidly
expanding opportunities and ensuring equal access to these opportunities,
results in an inherent tension. The tension arises from the coexistence of
effort-based or good inequality and circumstance-based or bad inequality.
An increase in effort-based inequality could swamp out the decline
in circumstance-based inequality resulting from equalizing access to
opportunities, leading to an overall increase in inequality outcomes. It needs
to be recognized that even this case, with and or without a counterfactual,
would suggest that inequality would be lower with an inclusive growth
strategy as compared to that without an inclusive growth strategy scenario.
As a consequence, inclusive growth is a necessary but not a sufficient
condition for lower inequality.
The distinguishing feature of the inclusive growth process is that it
focuses attention on understanding the causal factors behind inequality
outcomes and then addresses those causal factors. Inclusive growth depends
on average opportunities available to the population and how opportunities
are shared among the population (Ali and Son 2007b). Whether growth is
inclusive depends on the contribution of increasing average opportunities in
society with distribution of opportunities constant, and the contribution of
changes in distribution when average opportunities do not change. As long
as the combined effect is positive, growth would be inclusive. With inclusive
growth, there would be improvements in social welfare. Thus, as an ex ante
v. R|s|ng lnequa||t|es |n As|a: An lmperat|ve for lnc|us|ve Growth
instrument of policy formulation, the concept of inclusive growth provides
a powerful analytical tool that links the diagnostics of inequality to policy
formulation, which in turn addresses the drivers of inequality. The trade-offs
between growth of average opportunities and their distribution, if any, are
factored in at the outset.
Public policy to address the disadvantages of circumstances and thereby
ensure an even playing field for all is at the core of inclusiveness (Roemer
2006). Market and government failures that result in a lack of or inadequate
access to basic public goods and services will need to be addressed in a
responsible and accountable manner (ADB 2006).
4. lncIusive Growth: A Strategy
In terms of opportunities and access to them, labor market outcomes in
Asian countries tell a powerful story. Four features are noteworthy (Felipe
and Hasan 2006). First, corresponding to rapid output growth, employment
growth has been far lower in recent years. Second, in both relative and
absolute terms, the differences in real wages between the bottom and top
quintiles of the labor force in urban areas increased significantly over the last
two decades. At the same time, rural–urban differentials in real wages have
also widened. Third, employment in the informal sector, where productivity
levels and wages are low, is either on the rise or persistently high. Last,
the nature of employment in the formal sector, which has been historically
associated with regular contracts and job security, is changing toward that
which is more characteristic of the informal sector. These features of labor
market outcomes are contributing factors, albeit very important factors,
of lagging opportunities and lack of access to opportunities in Asia. This
has led to an advocacy for countries to adopt the goal of full, productive,
and decent employment (Felipe and Hasan 2006; Felipe 2007). Creating
opportunities is the first pillar of inclusive growth.
Equalizing opportunities means that the opportunities generated
by growth are available to be shared across the entire spectrum of the
population, including by those who are less-well-off. Equalizing access
to economic opportunities is multidimensional, i.e., addressing the
disadvantages of circumstances. In particular, strengthening human
capabilities enables individuals to qualify for productive and decent
employment. Ensuring equal access to economic opportunities is the second
pillar of inclusive growth.
There is increased recognition that even if access to opportunities
were equalized, there would always be some chronically poor who, for a
Decade of Deve|opments
variety of reasons, would not be able to participate in and benefit from the
opportunities provided by the growth process. Social protection through
the provision of social safety nets will be required for the chronically poor
to enable them to survive with at least a modicum of dignity. Further,
social protection systems could enable vulnerable individuals to invest in
potentially high-return activities. In this way, social protection policies
act not only as safety nets but also as springboards to enable vulnerable
households to break out of the poverty trap, by allowing them to invest in
building human capital and to make profit-maximizing decisions (World
Bank 2001b). Social protection constitutes the third pillar of inclusive
The three pillars of inclusive growth are integrated in Figure 5.4. The
flow chart in the figure has to be supplemented by the measurement of
inclusive growth and how it is related to poverty reduction. Given that
what cannot be measured cannot be managed, inclusive growth needs to be
measured. Conceptually, measurement has to focus on average opportunities
and distribution of opportunities (Ali and Son 2007a). Measurement
of inclusive growth can be carried out for individual components, e.g.,
employment, access to education, and access to health facilities. The
advantages of measuring the inclusiveness of growth by component is that
the extent of progress can be determined individually before decomposing
the change by major drivers, which are needed to design policy interventions.
Figure 5.4 Three Pi||ars of Inc|usive Growth
Poverty Reduct|on
Inc|us|ve Growth
Ensure M|n|mum
Econom|c We||-Be|ng
Max|m|ze Econom|c
Ensure Equa| Access to
Econom|c Opportun|t|es
Fu||, Product|ve, and
Decent Emp|oyment
º Improve productivity and
incomes in rura| areas
º Urbanization.
deve|opment of new
growth centers
º Harness private
initiatives. ro|e of
industria| po|icies
- Safety nets
- Springboards
Capab|||ty Enhancement
º Education
º Hea|th
º Basic infrastructure
- Roads
- E|ectricity
- C|ean drinking water
Governance and
v. R|s|ng lnequa||t|es |n As|a: An lmperat|ve for lnc|us|ve Growth
Turning to poverty reduction, whose measurement depends on the
poverty line, mean expenditure of household expenditure distribution, and
inequality of the distribution, the focus is on outcomes. Basically, getting
people just below the poverty line to cross over has been the implicit focus
of most development practitioners. Issues on the severity of poverty and
poverty gaps associated with the level of inequality receive less attention
(Son 2007).
An inclusive growth strategy encompasses the key elements of an
effective poverty reduction strategy and, more importantly, expands the
development agenda. A poverty reduction strategy based on a single and
absolute income criterion ignores the issue of inequalities and the risks
associated with them. In contrast, an inclusive growth strategy addresses
circumstance-related inequalities and their attendant risks. Inclusive growth
is not based on a redistributive approach to addressing inequality. Rather,
it focuses on creating opportunities and ensuring equal access to them.
Equality of access to opportunities will hinge on larger investments in
augmenting human capacities, including those of the poor, whose main
asset—labor—would then be productively employed.
Overall, inclusive growth with its focus on the process of expanding
opportunities will result in more effective poverty reduction. In particular,
with its focus on addressing inequalities, inclusive growth will address
issues of poverty gaps and the severity of poverty, thereby enlarging the
poverty reduction agenda. The more important point is that inclusive growth
is concerned with the overall welfare of society, which includes the poor.
5. lncIusive Growth Toward Poverty Reduction
The distinction between the inequality of opportunities and equality of
outcomes is important. The equality of opportunity is a necessary but
not sufficient condition to ensure equality of outcomes. In this regard,
this section describes the results of a scenario analysis relating growth,
inequality, and poverty. It provides some insights to the potential of inclusive
growth as well as its limitations in addressing poverty reduction.
Scenario analysis suggests that both the pace and pattern of growth are
critical for poverty reduction. The scenarios are termed best (benchmark
growth and pro-poor distribution), neutral (benchmark growth and neutral
distribution), and worst (low growth and pro-rich distribution) (Table 5.1).
Decade of Deve|opments
Tab|e 5.1 US$1-a-Day Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor in
Deve|oping Countries, Actua| 1990 and Projected Leve|s in 2005 and 2020
Sources: Ün|ted Nat|ons 2006. Med|um var|ant project|ons; Wor|d Bank, Povca|Net database and
East As|a updates for 1990 poverty est|mates; poverty project|ons for 2005 and 2020, ADB staff
Headcount Rat|o (%j
1990 2005
Benchmark Growth Low Growth
Republic of
32.5 7.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Mongolia 27.3 10.5 0.0 0.0 0.9 1.9 2.2 5.1
EasI As/a 32.5 7.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Bangladesh 34.4 36.0 8.0 10.4 17.4 16.6 19.4 25.7
lndia 43.5 35.0 3.8 4.3 9.7 11.6 13.2 21.0
Nepal 45.7 26.0 22.6 25.0 33.2 23.1 25.5 33.6
Pakistan 47.8 10.2 0.0 0.0 0.6 2.2 2.2 4.1
Sri Lanka 3.8 2.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1
SoµIh As/a 42.4 31.9 4.2 4.8 9.8 11.2 12.7 19.6
Cambodia 32.5 12.7 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 1.5 2.2
lndonesia 20.5 7.4 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 5.0
Lao People's
52.7 21.4 7.1 9.0 16.0 12.2 13.5 19.2
Malaysia 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Philippines 20.2 10.9 1.1 2.5 11.1 4.3 5.5 13.7
Thailand 10.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
viet Nam 50.7 6.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.4
23.8 7.2 0.3 0.6 2.3 1.0 1.2 5.2
34.6 18.0 2.0 2.3 4.9 5.3 6.1 9.9
945 604 78 92 195 211 240 391
v. R|s|ng lnequa||t|es |n As|a: An lmperat|ve for lnc|us|ve Growth
With a benchmark growth rate (the average of annual growth rates of
gross domestic product [GDP] per capita between 2002 through 2006)
coupled with pro-poor distribution (the bottom 40% of the distribution
experiencing consumption growth five percentage points higher than mean
growth), poverty incidence for developing Asia would fall from 18.0% in
2005 to 2.0% in 2020, with the total number of extreme poor falling from
604 million to 78 million. In contrast, with a lower growth rate (40% lower
than the benchmark rate) and pro-rich distribution (the top 40% of the
distribution seeing its consumption grow five percentage points higher than
mean growth), poverty incidence would only fall to 9.9% in 2020, with the
total number of extreme poor at 391 million, the bulk of which will be in
South Asia. These results indicate that the elimination of extreme poverty by
2020 is not preordained. Countries must stay on a high growth trajectory and
ensure that pro-poor distribution is attained. In the best scenario, poverty
reduction is attained through both growth and a reduction in inequality,
implying that people at the lower end of the distribution benefit more from
The same scenario analysis suggests that measured by the US$2-a-day
poverty line, even with the neutral distribution assumption, poverty would
fall only to 25.7% in 2020 at the benchmark growth rate; at a lower growth
rate assumption, it would fall only to 36.8% (Table 5.2). With a pro-rich
assumption, as implied by the currently rising income inequality, it would
fall only to 29.3% under a benchmark growth rate and 39.8% under a lower
growth rate. The combination of the lower growth and pro-rich distribution
would mean that 1,567 million people within developing Asia’s population
would live under the US$2-a-day poverty line in 2020, with 62% being
located in South Asia.
Decade of Deve|opments
Tab|e 5.2 US$2-a-Day Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor in
Deve|oping Countries, Actua| 1990 and Projected Leve|s in 2005 and 2020
Sources: Ün|ted Nat|ons 2006. Med|um var|ant project|ons; Wor|d Bank, Povca|Net database and
East As|a updates for 1990 poverty est|mates; poverty project|ons for 2005 and 2020, ADB staff
The scenario analysis clearly demonstrates the imperative for ensuring
inequality outcomes that are lower. Inclusive growth led by an enlightened
and active state with sound governance and effective public administration
so critical in the delivery of public goods and services in equalizing access
to opportunities would significantly contribute toward such outcomes.
Clearly, that is also the expectation of the Indian and Chinese governments,
which have adopted inclusive and harmonious growth respectively as they
embark on their next five-year plans.
Headcount Rat|o (%j
1990 2005
Benchmark Growth Low Growth
Republic of
71.5 29.4 2.0 2.6 7.9 11.3 12.1 16.7
Mongolia 69.9 42.4 14.0 15.3 19.3 22.9 24.3 28.2
EasI As/a 71.5 29.4 2.0 2.6 7.9 11.3 12.1 16.8
Bangladesh 85.7 81.7 59.0 59.3 59.5 67.9 69.7 70.5
lndia 86.5 79.8 46.7 47.5 49.2 62.0 62.5 63.8
Nepal 84.3 65.5 65.4 65.0 64.0 65.9 65.4 64.4
Pakistan 87.9 59.4 26.0 29.4 34.3 40.1 41.6 44.3
Sri Lanka 40.6 32.9 9.3 17.5 18.3 17.2 23.6 25.5
SoµIh As/a 85.8 76.9 45.6 46.7 48.6 59.7 60.5 61.9
Cambodia 76.3 54.5 11.7 13.2 19.1 26.8 28.3 32.5
lndonesia 70.9 50.3 23.9 26.6 31.8 34.4 36.2 39.9
Lao People's
89.6 67.7 50.3 50.9 52.1 57.9 57.9 57.9
Malaysia 23.4 9.8 1.3 2.2 7.9 4.1 4.9 10.7
Philippines 55.5 40.3 25.9 27.3 32.1 31.1 32.3 36.3
Thailand 43.1 16.2 0.0 0.6 7.9 4.5 5.9 12.9
viet Nam 87.0 39.7 9.9 11.2 16.0 19.5 20.8 25.3
65.6 43.2 17.9 19.7 25.0 26.3 27.8 32.1
75.0 51.9 24.7 25.7 29.3 36.0 36.8 39.8
2,046 1,740 973 1,012 1,154 1,415 1,450 1,567
v. R|s|ng lnequa||t|es |n As|a: An lmperat|ve for lnc|us|ve Growth
6. ConcIusion
Sharing the benefits of growth more equitably as developing Asia becomes
progressively more prosperous is the development challenge over the next
generation. While high and sustainable growth are absolute requirements,
the fruits of growth must be shared more equally. Asia’s movement from
low, to medium, to high levels of income and non-income inequalities
is worrisome as social and political tolerance to growing inequalities is
getting lower. The sustainability of growth could thus be undermined. It
is in this context that inclusive growth with its focus on rapidly expanding
opportunities and ensuring equality of access to these opportunities is
desirable in both intrinsic and instrumental considerations.
The thrust of inclusive growth is on the positive, emphasizing
expanding opportunities and capability enhancement at the economy-
wide and household levels. The directional change is from entitlement to
empowerment. Circumstance-based disadvantages must be addressed by
public policy interventions that guarantee an even playing field so that
people can be empowered to lift themselves up by their bootstraps to exploit
the opportunities generated by rapid and sustained growth.
While the adoption of an inclusive growth strategy is a natural evolution
in Asia’s development process, the reform agenda required to achieve it is
complex and ambitious. Reforms relating to governance, institutions, and
policies that address both economic and political inequality will need to be
addressed simultaneously. An enlightened and an active state will be needed
to partner with the private sector and civil society in the pursuit of shared
Decade of Deve|opments
Ali, I., and H. Son. 2007a. Defining and Measuring Inclusive Growth:
Application to the Philippines. ERD Working Paper 99, Economics and
Research Department, Asian Development Bank, Manila.
——. 2007b. Measuring Inclusive Growth. Asian Development Review
24(1). Forthcoming.
Ali, I., and J. Zhuang. 2007. Inclusive Growth Toward a Prosperous
Asia: Policy Implications. ERD Working Paper Series No. 97, Asian
Development Bank.
ADB (Asian Development Bank). 2006. Special Chapter on Measuring
Policy Effectiveness in Health and Education. In Key Indicators 2006.
——. 2007. Inequality in Asia. In Key Indicators 2007. Manila.
Banerjee, A. 2007. Investment Efficiency and the Distribution of Wealth.
Paper presented at the Yale Conference in Equity and Growth. Available:
http://www.Growth commission.org/Workshop Sept 26-27-07.htm.
Banerjee, A., L. Iyer, and R. Somanathan. 2007. Public Action for Public
Goods. NBER Working Paper No. 12911. Cambridge: National Bureau
of Economic Research.
Bourguignon, F., H.G. Ferreira, and M. Walton. 2006. Equity Efficiency, and
Inequality Traps: A Research Agenda. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Chaudhuri, S., and M. Ravallion. 2007. Partially Awakened Giants Uncover
Growth in China and India. In Dancing with Giants: China, India, and
the Global Economy, edited by L.A. Winters, and S. Yusuf. Washington,
DC: World Bank.
Do, Q. T., and L. Iyer. 2006. An Empirical Analysis of Civil Conflict in
Nepal. Institute of Governmental Studies Working Paper No. 2006-14,
University of California, Berkeley.
Felipe, J. 2007. Macroeconomic Implications of Inclusive Growth: What are
the Questions? Asian Development Bank. Unpublished.
Felipe, J., and R. Hasan, eds. 2006. Labor Markets in Asia: Issues and
Perspectives. London: Palgrave MacMillan for Asian Development
v. R|s|ng lnequa||t|es |n As|a: An lmperat|ve for lnc|us|ve Growth
Lewis, W.A. 1983. Development and Distribution. In Selected Economic
Writings of W. Arthur Lewis, edited by M. Gersovitz. New York: New
York University Press.
Murshed, S. M., and S. Gates. 2005. Spational-Horizontal Inequality and the
Maoist Insurgency in Nepal. Review of Development Economics 9(1):
Rajan, R., and L. Zingales. 2007. The Persistence of Underdevelopment:
Constituencies and Competitive Rent Preservation. NBER Working
Paper No. 12093. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research.
Roemer, J. E. 2006. Economic Development as Opportunity Equalization.
Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1583. Boston, MA: Yale
Son, H. 2007. Interrelationship between Growth, Inequality, and Poverty:
The Asian Experience. ERD Working Paper No. 96, Economics and
Research Department, Asian Development Bank, Manila.
Tandon, A., and J. Zhuang. 2007. Inclusiveness of Economic Growth in
the People’s Republic of China: What Do Population Health Outcomes
Tell Us? ERD Policy Brief Series No. 47, Economics and Research
Department, Asian Development Bank, Manila.
United Nations. 2006. World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision.
Available: http://esa.un.org/unpp/.
World Bank. 2001a. From Safety Net to Springboard. Washington, DC
——. 2001b. Social Protection Sector Strategy: From Safety Net to Spring
Board. Washington, DC.
——. 2006a. Equity and Development. In World Development Report 2006.
Washington, DC.
——. 2006b. India: Inclusive Growth and Service Delivery: Building on
India’s Success, Development Policy Review Report No. 34580-IN,
Washington, DC.
Decade of Deve|opments
lwan Azis
The two chapters by Mr. Ali and Mr. Lin use different approaches but to
some extent are complementary. Mr. Ali is correct when he points out
that growth and inequality are inter-related. While the last few years have
seen a rise in income and inequality in Asia, the argument that the process
simply follows the Kuznets hypothesis is erroneous. The experiences of
Taipei,China and Republic of Korea clearly defied the hypothesis. Thus, a
further explanation for the worsening inequality is warranted.
The crux of Mr. Ali’s chapter is to discuss the effect of growth on
inequality, from which the concept of “inclusive growth” is introduced.
However, is this not just a new name for an old idea? For example, a few
years ago the World Bank promoted what is known as the Comprehensive
Development Framework, in which eliminating poverty, reducing inequity,
and improving opportunity are the key components. At the time, the Bank
believed that the Comprehensive Development Framework was the way
to enhance country ownership and the achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals. This is different from, but in coherence with, the “pro-
poor growth” concept. If growth creates new opportunity and equal access,
it meets two of the necessary conditions of inclusive growth. But having
the same opportunity and same access does not mean that there is an even
playing field for the poor; thus, the government still has to provide social
protection, which is the third pillar of inclusive growth.
One of the unique features about inclusive growth is that it concerns
itself not only with the poverty incidence, i.e., number of people living
below the poverty line (head count), but also with the poverty gap, as well
as the severity of poverty. For the purpose of policymaking, the last two are
far more useful than the first.
Despite Asia’s robust growth performance, the region has not reached an
inclusive growth pattern, as indicated by the following trends: employment
elasticity has declined, the gap between high and low real wages has
increased, and the number of informal sectors has also been on the rise.
One thing from Mr. Ali’s chapter that differs from Mr. Lin’s is the
role of institutions. In Mr. Ali’s chapter, institution is exogenous, while
in Mr. Lin’s chapter, institutions, including government intervention, are
endogenous. Mr. Lin argues that together with policies, institutions hold the
key to the resulting economic performance: a right policy with the wrong
institutions may result in a disappointing performance. As Mr. Lin’s chapter
rightly points out, the only exogenous variable in the development process is
endowment. One cannot change the fact that a country may not have natural
resources while others are rich in them. But the quality of endowment can
be altered, for example in the case of human resources. The endogeneity of
the “viability” factor in Mr. Lin’s chapter holds the key to the arguments
that lead to the most important message of the chapter, i.e., to not remove
government interventions too fast, precisely because the “viability” issues
have not been resolved. Thus, intervention and subsidy in a country like the
People’s Republic of China can still be justified, i.e., the viability factor,
which is endogenous, is not yet resolved. But that raises the question of
timing. Granted that viability needs to be resolved first, when and under
what conditions can one say that the time has come for interventions to
be removed? If the model is dynamic with an explicit time element, such
timing should be predictable. This is a far more important question for
The general message of Mr. Lin’s chapter is that comparative advantage-
following (CAF) is a more appropriate strategy than comparative advantage-
defying (CAD). Putting aside the correctness and suitability of the
econometric model used by Mr. Lin, while theoretically that message may
be true, further elaboration and empirical work on CAF should be conducted
before such a conclusion can be derived. Demonstrating the failure of CAD,
which is what the chapter is all about, does not prove the superiority of CAF.
The two chapters are part of the effort to formulate an appropriate
development strategy that will improve the welfare of the poor and reduce
inequalities. Different objectives call for different strategies, theories,
and policies, and they also require different data systems. For example, in
the 1970s, when an explicit objective about poverty alleviation was first
stated, academic research on the subject was intensified, resulting in new
theories and models. The kind of data and information required has also
changed. This was the period when the social accounting matrix as a useful
data system began to develop. The analysis simply suggests that since
development objectives and policies are always closely interrelated with
theories, models, and data systems, the interactions between researchers and
policymakers are critical for new ideas and strategies to develop. Entering
the 2000s, no big idea or new paradigm has emerged. Thus, Mr. Lin and Mr.
Ali should further pursue their work, with the hope that they can contribute
to the development of such new ideas.
Oomments on Ohapters lv and v
Decade of Deve|opments
To conclude, there is no such thing as a fixed paradigm. As the system
becomes more globalized with complex interactions among components
and agents, any dominant paradigm can be challenged. We all need to be
more open-minded and liberal in our efforts to search for an appropriate
development strategy that places the welfare of the poor as the highest
priority, and not get stuck with a certain paradigm.
Yasuyuki Sawada
Regard|ng Chapter IV
Mr. Lin’s chapter answers a very important question of what economic and
social structure generates a particular income distribution function.
I am afraid that the first part of Mr. Lin’s chapter looks a bit old-
fashioned and seems to be just a re-invention of an old idea. The “static”
framework in Figure 4.1 seems to be inappropriate to illustrate “dynamic”
process of technological adoption/progress. Further, there is a need for
clarification on the concepts of comparative advantage-defying (CAD)
strategy and comparative advantage-following (CAF) strategy; the
differences between import substitution industrialization and CAD strategy;
and the differences between CAF strategy and neutral incentive policies
such as export-oriented strategy.
The technology choice index used in the empirical part of the chapter
is biased toward capital-intensive industries. Moreover, the econometric
exercises involve problems related to robustness, namely, omitted variable
bias and/or endogeneity bias arising from reversed causality. A better
approach would be to rely on the fixed effects model. Moreover, there is a
need to consider dynamics explicitly on technological progress, absorptive
capacity, channels of technology diffusion such as foreign direct investment,
international trade, and foreign aid. A more standard framework, such as the
augmentation of the standard model of international technology transfer of
Benhabib and Spiegel (2005), which uses the nested exponential model of
Nelson and Phelps (1966) and a logistic model, should be applied.
Regard|ng Chapter V
Mr. Ali’s chapter attempts to answer why we need to care about increasing
inequality per se. Inequality hinders growth prospects, leads to a decline in
social cohesion, and leads to political bias toward rich people. Furthermore,
the chapter adds two more answers that with a given mean income, an
increase in inequality implies an increase in absolute poverty, which can
be captured by standard poverty indices such as poverty head count ratio.
Further, an increase in inequality generates direct negative welfare effects
because of individuals’ aversion to inequality and relative deprivation.
However, the main problem of Mr. Ali’s chapter is in the lack of proper
connection between the three pillars of inclusive growth framework and
standard poverty concepts. While the first and third pillars “to maximize
economic opportunities” and “to ensure equal access to economic
opportunities,” respectively, are for chronic poverty, the second pillar “to
ensure minimum economic well-being” is related to transient poverty.
It seems that Mr. Ali misunderstood the standard concepts of poverty
dynamics. There should be a way to develop linkages between these pillars
with the existing very rich empirical literature on poverty.
Benhabib, J., and M. Spiegel. 2005. Human Capital and Technology
Diffusion. In Handbook of Economic Growth, 1A, Chapter 13, edited by
P. Aghion and S. Durlauf. Amsterdam: North Holland.
Nelson, R., and E. Phelps. 1966. Investment in Humans, Technological
Diffusions, and Economic Growth. American Economic Review 56:

Oomments on Ohapters lv and v
Part III
Growth through Reg|ona|
Cooperat|on and Integrat|on
VI. State of Integrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|ñc
Reg|on: Current Patterns and Future
Antoni Estevadeordal
Kati Suominen
1. lntroduction
Regional trade agreements (RTAs) have spread en masse around the world
in the past 20 years. Today, some 200 RTAs have been notified to the World
Trade Organization (WTO); the number is expected to soar to 400 by 2010.
Virtually all countries are member to at least one RTA, and most countries
belong to two or more RTAs simultaneously. The most prolific integrator, the
United States (US), which until the 1990s was reticent to form RTAs, has in
the span of a mere 13 years signed 14 RTAs with partners in the Americas,
Asia, and the Middle East; its North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) partner, Mexico, sports 12 RTAs, and Chile has entered into seven
agreements, including those with the United States and Mexico, respectively.
The European Union (EU) has adopted a distinct logic of integration,
expanding gradually since the early 1970s to cover no fewer than 27
countries. Yet the EU is also looking outward, having concluded RTAs with
southern Mediterranean countries, South Africa, Mexico, and Chile, and
aiming at further RTAs in the Americas and Asia.
Asian countries are relative newcomers to the RTA theater (Figure 6.1),
having notified a total of 18 RTAs to the WTO by the end of 2007.
Matthew Shearer of INT contributed extensively in sectoral data work. The authors wish
to thank Santiago Florez Gomez for superb research assistance and Sara Marzal Yetano for
an outstanding analysis of services and investment provisions.
Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 6.1 RTAs Notiñed to the Wor|d Trade Organization Formed
by Asian and Other Countries, 2007
RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement.
However, Asian countries are catching up fast with the global trend.
Indeed, the recent proliferation of RTAs in the Asia-Pacific region can be
seen as the most notable development in the region’s trading panorama in
recent years. Asian countries’ integration started with a megabloc, the Asia-
Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, in 1989, and the Southeast
Asian countries pursued a plurilateral scheme by the 1992 establishment
of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Free Trade
Agreement (AFTA). Today, however, many Asian countries—first and
foremost Singapore, Republic of Korea, Japan, and People’s Republic of
China (PRC)—have also set out to pursue bilateral agreements both within
and beyond the region. Singapore has been Asia’s integrator juggernaut par
excellence, having concluded 13 FTAs. Some of the regional economies’
bilateral agreements include Japan–Philippines; Japan–Thailand; Japan–
Singapore; Japan–Malaysia; PRC–Hong Kong, China; Republic of Korea–
Singapore; and New Zealand–Thailand FTAs. Further negotiations are being
pursued for PRC–Singapore and Japan–India FTAs, among others.
Asian RTAs
New RTAs in Rest of World
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
On the extra-regional front, Asian countries have pursued FTAs with
countries of the Americas, in particular. In 2003, Republic of Korea and
Chile signed the Republic of Korea’s first comprehensive bilateral FTA,
and in 2005, Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand, and Singapore concluded
negotiations for a four-partite FTA with Chile. An FTA between PRC and
Chile, the PRC’s first extra-regional FTA, went into effect in October 2006.
The Mexico–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Japan’s first
extra-regional free trade agreement, took effect in 2005. In November 2006,
Japan reached an agreement with Chile.
Singapore and the US reached one of the first agreements of Singapore’s
now extensive network of FTAs in 2003, and the US–Australia FTA entered
into force in 2005. The same year, Peru and Thailand signed a bilateral
FTA, while FTAs between Taipei,China on the one hand, and Panama and
Guatemala on the other, took effect in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Panama
concluded FTA negotiations also with Singapore in 2006. Trans-Pacific
agreements are poised to expand: the US has concluded negotiations with
Republic of Korea, and is amid negotiations with Malaysia and Thailand,
while Malaysia and Chile are pursuing FTA negotiations.
There have also been moves to form plurilateral FTAs in the Asia-
Pacific region. The PRC has entered into an FTA with ASEAN, and Japan
and Republic of Korea are seeking a similar deal. The chapter on trade in
goods of the ASEAN–Republic of Korea FTA (AKFTA) entered into force
in June 2007. Further ASEAN plurilateral initiatives include a proposal for
an ASEAN–India economic partnership and a recent decision to convert the
long-running trade cooperation between ASEAN and Australia and New
Zealand into a genuine FTA. The PRC is currently negotiating with Australia
and New Zealand for a PRC–Closer Economic Relations agreement.
The existing and planned agreements are poised to result in a veritable
Asian noodle bowl of RTAs (Figure 6.2). The most ambitious current
proposal is to form a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) that
envisions including all APEC members or some subset thereof.
Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 6.2 Current and Proposed RTAs in the Asia-Paciñc, 2007
AFTA = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons Free Trade Agreement, ANZOERTA = Austra||a-
New Zea|and O|oser Econom|c Re|at|ons Trade Agreement, APEO = As|a-Pac|fc Econom|c
Oooperat|on, ASEAN = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons, OAFTA-DR = Oentra| Amer|ca
Free Trade Agreement-Dom|n|can Repub||c, OEPEA = Oomprehens|ve Econom|c Partnersh|p
|n East As|a, EAFTA = East As|an Free Trade Agreement, FTAAP = Free Trade Area of the As|a-
Pac|fc, |ao PDR = |ao Peop|e`s Democrat|c Repub||c, NAFTA = North Amer|can Free Trade
Agreement, PRO = Peop|e`s Repub||c of Oh|na, SAFTA = South As|an Free Trade Area.
The purpose of this chapter is to survey selected Asian RTAs in a
comparative perspective, and to make some projections as to the future
constellations of integration in Asia. Section 2 compares and contrasts the
contents of RTAs in Asia and elsewhere, dissecting key RTA provisions such
as tariff liberalization schedules, rules of origin, and investment and services
provisions. Section 3 explores some potential future scenarios.
2. State of lntegration in Asia
Asian countries are relative newcomers to the global RTA chessboard.
There are numerous explanations as to the factors that have hampered and
subsequently propelled the rise of integration in Asia. Perhaps the main
forces that have been cited to have held back formal integration in the region
include intra-regional rivalries and difficult domestic political economy
United States
PRC, Korea
Cambodia Myanmar
Sri Lanka
Costa Rica, Guatemala,
El Salvador, Honduras,
Nicaragua & Dominican
Northeast Asian
Brunei Darussalam
Viet Nam
New Zealand
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
in several countries in agriculture, in particular. Moreover, there has been
less urgency for preferential liberalization in manufactures in light of the
relatively low intra-regional trade barriers in the sector and the attendant
multinational regional production networks that have long epitomized Asia’s
rise as a global manufacturing hub.
The forces propelling Asia toward RTAs in the recent years can be seen
as in part rooted in the APEC process, which brought countries together
to discuss trade issues under one coherent umbrella, and in part rooted in
the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis, which increased awareness of the
importance of regional economic policy coordination and resulted in a
number of initiatives particularly in financial integration.
However, perhaps a particularly strong driver of today’s RTA wave in
Asia is a systemic one—concerns about remaining outside the proliferating
network of RTAs around the world as well as in the region. Asian countries
can be viewed through both the lenses of the competitive liberalization and
domino theories, whereby the spread of RTAs gives outsiders incentives to
form new RTAs or to join existing ones, lest they see their market access
edge and investment inflows undercut in the global economy.
The forceful
drive by the major regional traders—PRC, Republic of Korea, and Japan—
to forge formal trade ties within and outside the region, along with the
entry of extra-regional players, particularly EU and US, into the Asian RTA
theater will likely only accentuate these systemic forces.
It is unlikely that there is a “one size fits all” explanation; rather, some
interpretations may gain greater currency in some periods than in others and
also vary from country to country. There are certainly also cross-country
differences in the type of integration that is pursued and preferred, whether
bilateral, plurilateral, or something broader. Moreover, the choice of partners
varies across countries and is often driven primarily by considerations well
beyond economic logic, such as regional security dynamics and foreign
policy imperatives.
This section strives to dissect and detail the liberalization state of play
in RTAs in Asia in a comparative perspective, contrasting Asian agreements
(both intra-regional and with countries of the Americas) with agreements
formed in the Americas, between the Americas and Europe, and elsewhere
in the world. We focus on tariff liberalization schedules of 76 parties in
See Baldwin (1993) and (2006) and Bergsten (1995).
Decade of Deve|opments
38 RTAs (Table A6.1).
Much of the data here draws on Inter-American
Development Bank (IADB) (2006).

Figure 6.3 examines the share of tariff lines liberalized by the partners
in the 38 FTAs. It maps out the shares of national tariff lines that become
subject to liberalization in year 1, years 2–5, years 6–10, years 11–20, and
more than 20 years into the RTA. The code representing each economy
giving the concession (i.e., the importing country) precedes the arrow, while
the code of the partner economy follows the arrow.
Figure 6.3 Percent of Tariff Lines Duty Free by Se|ected RTA Partners,
by Se|ected Benchmark Years
RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement
Asian agreements stand out for being particularly front-loaded: they
liberalize the bulk of the tariff universe in the first year of the RTA. This is
in good part due to Singapore’s according duty-free treatment to all products
upon the entry into force of its agreements. Also Japan in the Mexico–Japan
EPA and US agreements with Asian countries free some 80% of tariffs in the
first year; however, Chile in the Chile–Republic of Korea and Chile–PRC
agreements and Mexico in the Mexico–Japan agreement backload more than
half of liberalization to years 2–5 or beyond.
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
The share of tariff lines subject to backloaded liberalization—
particularly marked in Morocco and South Africa’s schedules in FTAs with
the EU, and in the EU’s schedule in the FTA with Lithuania—is due largely
to the persistent protection in the agricultural protocols. Agreements formed
in the Americas and particularly those signed by the NAFTA members
generally liberalize trade relatively fast, with some 75% or more of lines
freed in the first year of the agreement. However, some of Mercosur’s
agreements have somewhat more backloaded liberalization, with a large
share of lines being liberalized in year 6–10 into the agreements.
Figures 6.4a and 6.4b assess the extent of reciprocity in tariff elimination
between RTA parties by years 5 and 10. They are sorted in a descending
fashion from the least to the most reciprocal. While the parties’ respective
product coverages often diverge markedly in year 5, with some partners (such
as Republic of Korea) liberalizing up to twice as many lines as their partners
(such as Chile), the differences shrink considerably by year 10. The wider
gaps in concessions among a pair tend to owe to north–south differences in
liberalization—a pattern that is evident nearly throughout the sample in all
The tariff liberalization schedules were obtained from the Foreign Trade Information
System at http://www.sice.oas.org/ and some national sources, including websites. Some
tariff data was obtained from TRAINS. The study also maps out the coverage in RTAs of
four trade disciplines besides tariffs: non-tariff measures, rules of origin, special regimes,
and customs procedures.
There are a handful of other studies on tariff liberalization in RTAs. The World Trade
Organization (2002) carried out an extensive inventory of the coverage and liberalization
of tariff concessions in 47 RTAs of a total of 107 parties. The data cover tariff treatment
of imports into parties to selected RTAs, tariff line treatment as obtained from individual
countries’ tariff schedules, and tariff dispersion for a number of countries. Scollay (2005)
performed a similarly rigorous analysis of tariff concessions in a sample of 18 RTAs.
IADB (2002) presented an exhaustive survey of market access commitments of RTAs in
the Americas, while the World Bank (2005) carried out a more general mapping of the
various disciplines in RTAs around the world.
Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 6.4 Reciprocity of Concessions
a. Year 5
b. Year 10
Figure 6.5 displays the dynamic, year-to-year evolution of liberalization
by the 76 RTA parties over a period of 20 years, as well as the respective
averages of the five regional groupings.
Agreements between the
Americas and Asia and within Asia feature the fastest and most extensive
liberalization; in the case of Asia, the data is affected by the predominance
The entry into force dates differ between agreements, thus the actual years of a given
benchmark (e.g., agreement year 10) differ as well.
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
of Singaporean agreements. Overall, RTAs in general free more than 90%
of tariff lines within ten years. However, it should also be noted that a small
number of agreements contain phase-outs even after year 20—although the
number of products subject to prolonged phase-outs is quite small.
Figure 6.5 Evo|ution of Duty-Free Treatment in Se|ected RTAs
RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement.
Figure 6.6 takes the analysis to real time for the period of 1994–2026.
The bold lines map out the simple average for the regional samples from
2007 onward (i.e., during the period during which all agreements considered
here are expected to have entered into effect). The main findings are the
extent of deep liberalization in the Asian and transpacific agreements
examined here. As of today, most RTA members have liberalized more than
four-fifths of the tariff items to their partners; some of the newer agreements
will attain this level by 2010. Liberalization in the recent Mercosur–Andean
agreements is more limited, reaching about a fifth or a quarter of tariff
lines by 2010. Overall, the figure conveys the rapid liberalization by Asian
countries and the advance of opening in Asia–Americas agreements, which
will have freed more than 95% of tariff lines by 2015.
Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 6.6 Evo|ution of Duty-Free Treatment in RTAs, 1994-2026
RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement.
What accounts for the gaps in liberalization? Agriculture is one of the
main laggards. Figure 6.7 maps out the evolution of duty-free treatment
for agricultural and industrial products (as grouped by the WTO) by the
regional samples. As expected, agricultural products in each region are more
protected than are industrial products. On average, RTAs explored here
liberalize only 61% of tariff lines in agriculture by year 5 and 78% by year
ten, while reaching duty-free treatment for 77% and 94% of industrial goods
by the same points in time.
The Asia–Americas average sees a meaningful, though smaller jump in
year ten. This is primarily due to increases in the PRC’s concession to Chile
and Panama’s to Singapore. In Asia, the jump is less substantial and comes
earlier. This is mainly due to increases in coverage in the PRC–Hong Kong,
China schedule in year 3. RTAs in the Americas take off in agricultural
liberalization in year ten, gradually converging with Asian agreements.
This is largely due to very large jumps (in the order of 60 percentage points
or more) in agricultural duty-free coverage in the Mercosur–Bolivia and
Mercosur–Chile agreements, as well as smaller increases in coverage in
Mexico–Nicaragua and Mexico–Costa Rica FTAs and the representative
average Central American countries’ schedule in the Central America Free
Trade Agreement (CAFTA) vis-à-vis the US. Peru’s agricultural concession
to Mercosur also increased substantially that year.
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
Figure 6.7 Evo|ution of Sectora| Duty-Free Treatment in Se|ected RTAs
RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement.
Simply measuring the share of liberalized tariff lines fails to capture the
full effects stemming from the exclusion of sensitive products from RTAs if
those products are covered in a very small number of tariff lines. Does the
picture change with alternative measures that engage trade?
We strive to shed light on this question by introducing two alternative
methods of exploring the depth and speed of liberalization in RTAs:
liberalization statistics examined above as weighted by trade at the HS
chapter level, and the actual percentage of total trade (imports) from the
RTA partner that is liberalized.
Figure 6.8 examines the evolution of duty-free treatment as trade-
weighted share of tariff lines. There are general similarities with the
unweighted data in Figure 6.5; however, it is notable that the initial point at
year one is higher in the trade-weighted dataset than in the unweighted tariff
lines. This is hardly surprising: most trade occurs in sectors that are opened
up rapidly, while sectors with back-loaded liberalization tend to have very
little trade (precisely because they are protected). To be sure, while the
The calculations are based on data from United Nations Comtrade database,
Decade of Deve|opments
bolded averages in the two figures are also similar, they are not immediately
comparable due to different numbers of observations—38 vs. 27 RTAs.
Figure 6.8 Evo|ution of Duty-Free Treatment as Trade-Weighted ¾ of Tariff Lines
Figure 6.9 measures the evolution of duty-free treatment as a share of
imports from the partner that are liberalized. By this measure, RTA partners
in all regions on average free 90% or more of the lines at year ten. Moreover
and importantly, the figure does not capture the potential trade among the
RTA partners. This is due in part to the endogeneity of trade flows: even
if the share of actual trade excluded from an RTA were very small, the
potential trade could be very significant in the absence of policy barriers.

That the extra-regional sample has a higher average in Figure 6.11 than in Figure 6.10
is partially due to the sample set: here the EU–Morocco agreement was additionally
excluded from this sample, increasing the average somewhat. The change in measurement
method also had a strong positive effect on coverage in the two early years of the People’s
Republic of China, Hong Kong, China concession, flattening the initial part of the curve.
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
Figure 6.9 Evo|ution of Duty-Free Treatment as ¾ of Imports
Besides tariffs, rules of origin (ROOs) are a key provision arbitrating
the discriminatory impact and trade-creating potential of RTAs. Since a
failure to meet the ROOs disqualifies an exporter from the RTA-conferred
preferential treatment, ROOs can and must be seen as a central market
access instrument reigning over preferential trade.
ROOs are widely considered a trade policy instrument that can work
to offset the benefits of tariff liberalization in RTAs.
In general, Asian
agreements have some of the least restrictive origin regimes, although
agreements between Asia and the Americas do carry more restrictive ROOs
(Figure 6.10).
Encouragingly, however, unlike the straitjacket ROO model
that the EU uses in all of its RTAs, agreements in Asia and the Americas are
marked by diversity in ROOs that suggests accommodation of RTA-specific
idiosyncrasies. The regional countries have also employed such measures
Most prominently, ROOs can be employed to favor intra-RTA industry linkages over those
between the RTA and the rest of the world and, as such, to indirectly protect RTA-based
input producers vis-à-vis their extra-RTA rivals (Krueger 1993; Krishna and Krueger
1995). As such, ROOs are akin to a tariff on the intermediate product levied by the country
importing the final good (Falvey and Reed 2000; Lloyd 2001).
See Suominen (2004), Estevadeordal and Suominen (2006), and Estevadeordal, Harris,
and Suominen (2007).
Decade of Deve|opments
as short supply clauses to help producers adjust to shocks in availability of
intra-regional inputs.
Furthermore, developments over time are marked by a trend toward
market-friendly rules of origin, particularly in North America. United States
ROO regimes have evolved toward a more liberal framework from NAFTA
to US–Chile FTA, CAFTA, and US–Colombia and US–Peru FTAs; also the
Republic of Korea–US (KORUS) FTA ROOs are less restrictive than those
of the US–Chile FTA. In the meantime, the NAFTA ROO regime itself has
been under a liberalization process, with more flexible ROOs being adopted
in sectors ranging from alcoholic beverages to petroleum, chassis fitted with
engines, photocopiers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics and rubber,
motor vehicles and their parts, footwear, copper, and others.
Figure 6.10 Restrictiveness of Ru|es of Origin in RTAs, by Region
RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement.
In sum, the analysis of sectoral provisions in RTAs in Asia and beyond
yields two main results:
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
• Agreements in Asia are rather young compared to their counterparts in
the Americas and Europe, yet the agreements analyzed here liberalize
trade very rapidly. Singapore liberalizes basically all goods in the first
year of its agreements. RTAs formed by the countries of Asia with
partners in the Americas are somewhat more backloaded particularly by
Chile in the Chile–Republic of Korea FTA and Mexico in the Mexico–
Japan FTA. In the Americas, RTAs signed by the original NAFTA
members liberalize most products rapidly (usually some 70% in the first
year). However, since most RTAs explored here liberalize 90% of tariff
lines (as well as trade-weighted lines) by year ten into the agreement, the
coverage of products across the regional samples tends to become rather
homogeneous by the end of the first decade.
• All five regional samples carry a number of outlier RTA parties (often
southern parties) and product categories (particularly in sensitive
sectors—agricultural products, food preparations, textiles and apparel,
and footwear) that trail the overall trend of liberalization. Many
agreements in the Americas also carry provisions that could potentially
be classified as “other restrictive regulations of commerce,” such as
restrictive rules of origin, as well as tariff rate quotas and exceptions.
Such instruments appear to capture the price the region’s integrationist
interests are willing to pay for the liberalizing and encompassing RTAs.
Analyzing tariffs and other instruments governing trade in goods
provides a limited view of RTAs’ anatomy and potential effects. RTAs
contain a host of disciplines beyond tariffs ranging from investment to
competition policy, labor issues, dispute settlement, standards, government
procurement, and transportation. These can provide for important
complementarities, such as between tariff, services, and investment
Here, we supplement the tariff liberalization statistics by providing a
comparative analysis of the coverage (rather than depth of liberalization)
of investment, services, and customs procedure provisions in agreements
formed by countries of Asia in a comparative context. The sample sizes vary
somewhat across the disciplines.
Figure 6.11 provides a stylized visualization of RTAs’ coverage in the
three disciplines.
Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 6.11 Libera|ization Coverage Provisions in 52 RTAs
RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement.
RTAs’ investment chapters tend to be encompassing, extending to
such areas as Most Favored Nation (MFN) treatment, national treatment,
transparency, denial of benefits and restriction of transfers, nationality
of management and board of directors, performance requirements,
expropriation, and investor–state disputes (Figure 6.12).
In Asia, Singapore and Australia’s agreements are more encompassing
in investment, but other agreements have scant coverage. In interregional
agreements, the coverage is somewhat lower due to the limited coverage
of disciplines in the EU–Mexico and EU–Chile agreements, as well as
in the Chile–PRC FTA, P4, and US–Jordan FTA. All RTAs forged by the
An FTA’s investment provisions are coded when there is an investment chapter in a
preferential trade agreement (PTA) or when the PTA refers to a bilateral investment treaty
as the agreement applicable to the PTA. When no such mention is made, a zero value is
assigned (even if the PTA partners were connected via a bilateral investment treaty, or
New Zealand-Singapore
New Zealand-Thailand
Hong Kong,China-PRC
Australia-Papua New Guinea
Rep. of Korea-Singapore
Rep. of Korea-Chile
US-Rep. of Korea
ACE 58
ACE 59
Canada-Costa Rica
Cent. Am.-Chile
Cent. Am.-DR
Mexico-N. Triangle
Mexico-Costa Rica
EU-South Africa
Customs procedures Services Investment
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
three NAFTA members with their respective partners in the Americas are
encompassing, applying the four modalities of investment—establishment,
acquisition, post-establishment operations, and resale—and also cover such
disciplines as MFN treatment, national treatment, and dispute settlement.
Eighty percent or more also cover transparency, denial of benefits and
restriction of transfers, nationality of management and board of directors,
performance requirements, and expropriation. US RTAs again lead the way
in being particularly comprehensive.
Figure 6.12 Coverage of Se|ected Provisions in Investment in
52 RTAs in Se|ected Regions
MFN = Most Favored Nat|on, RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement.
RTAs in the Americas are quite encompassing in services (Figure 6.13),
with more than 60% of them addressing MFN treatment, national treatment,
market access, and unnecessary barriers to trade, and prohibit discriminatory
treatment—all areas generally not addressed in Asian agreements. The
exception is the Japan–Singapore FTA, which covers national treatment,
market access, domestic regulation, recognition of qualifications,
transparency, and restriction of transfers, as well as certain provisions on
telecommunication and financial services.
Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 6.13 Coverage of Se|ected Provisions in Services in
51 RTAs in Se|ected Regions
MFN = Most Favored Nat|on, RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement.
In customs procedures, nearly 60% of the RTAs examined here include
provisions on confidentiality, advance rulings, penalties, review and appeal
mechanism, and cooperation in administration, and nearly one-half provide
for technical assistance, transparency, and sharing of information. Asian
agreements and, in particular, agreements between Asia and the Americas
are comprehensive in customs procedures (Figure 6.14). Box 6.1 lays out
the provisions in a case of particularly comprehensive coverage in this
area—the recently concluded FTA between Brunei Darussalam, Chile,
New Zealand, and Singapore. CAFTA and the EU–Chile, US–Chile, and
US–Morocco FTAs contain similarly comprehensive coverage of customs
procedures and trade facilitation disciplines.
US agreements stand out also
for particularly high precision.
It could be argued that although there are already guidelines for customs procedures and
trade facilitation provisions at the World Customs Organization (per the Revised Kyoto
Convention), including these provisions in RTAs and in the WTO’s legal framework could
have the advantage of making them more binding for the signatories.
For instance, CAFTA requires that advance rulings be made within 150 days, and the
release of goods occur within 48 hours. The customs procedure chapter also provides for
specific transitional periods for the six Latin American parties.
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
Figure 6.14 Coverage of Se|ected Provisions in Customs Procedures
in 61 RTAs in Se|ected Regions
RTA = reg|ona| trade agreement.
Decade of Deve|opments
Box 6.1. Customs Procedures and Trade Faci|itation
in the Trans-Paciñc Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement
The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement formed by Brunei
Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore has a comprehensive list of
provisions regulating customs procedures and trade facilitation between the
parties. Some of the key provisions on customs procedures include:
Customs Cooperation (Art 5.5): The parties’ customs administrations are
to cooperate on issues pertaining to the implementation of the agreement,
movement of goods, investigation and prevention of customs offences, the
application of the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement, and the improvement
of procedures through such measures as best practices and risk management
techniques, technical skills, and technologies.
Advance Rulings (Art 5.7): The parties are to put forth procedures for advanced
rulings on the origin of goods traded between them. The article allows the
application for a ruling to be made prior to the importation of a good, and
requires the advance ruling to be issued expeditiously (within 60 days of the
receipt of the information).
Review and Appeal (Art 5.8): Importers in each country are to be provided
access to independent administrative and judicial reviews.
Paperless Trading/Automation (Art 5.10): The article strives to increase
efficiency of customs procedures through the introduction of modern techniques
and new technologies. The parties are also to seek to use electronic procedures
that support business transactions.
Express Shipments (Art 5.11): Parties are to implement procedures aimed at
ensuring an efficient clearance of shipments, including pre-arrival processing of
information and coverage of all goods in the shipment with a single document (that
can be issued electronically).
Risk Management (Art 5.13): The article refers to customs procedures that
facilitate clearance and movement of low-risk goods and focus attention to high-
risk goods.
Release of Goods (Art 5.14): The parties pledged to simplify the release
of goods and to release goods at the point of arrival and within a period not
exceeding 48 hours. This stands in clear contrast to many other RTAs, which
have very few and only general rules governing the release of goods.
Notably, the NAFTA countries are developing a concept of trade automation (NATAP)
that implies introducing standardized trade data elements, harmonizing customs
clearance procedures, and promoting electronic transmission of standard commercial
data using UN/EDIFACT messages and advance processing by governments.
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
In sum, the Asian agreements are somewhat less encompassing in some
of the major trade-related provisions explored here than are agreements
between Asia and the Americas and, in particular, in the Americas. Many
US RTAs in particular could be viewed as WTO+ in terms of incorporating
a larger number and/or more specific provisions than are present in the
multilateral rules. This indicates the perceived usefulness of rule-making in
the RTA context, perhaps both as a means of overcoming slow multilateral
negotiations and as a way to deepen and appropriately mold provisions that
are particularly pertinent to the RTA relationship—as well as a tool to attain
greater synergies across the various RTA disciplines. A closer inspection of
the data suggests the exportation of RTA models from one region to the next
through transcontinental RTAs, such as “borrowing” of some of the US–
Chile FTA’s market access provisions in the Chile–Republic of Korea FTA;
this may suggest some longer-term melding of the Asian agreement models
with those of the Americas.
3. Scenarios for the Future of Asian lntegration
Asian countries have made forceful and rapid inroads into the now-global
network of RTAs. Their agreements tend to be rapidly liberalizing and some
of the Asian agreements, particularly those formed with some partners in the
Americas, are rather encompassing in issue coverage, often going beyond
the multilateral provisions in coverage and precision alike. But what does
the future hold for integration in Asia? Will integrationism decelerate or
continue accelerating further?
There are perhaps five potential future scenarios. The first is a status
quo continued proliferation of bilateral FTAs throughout the Asia-Pacific
region and with extra-regional partners, first and foremost with some Latin
American countries such as Chile and Peru and India, EU, and US. Should
competitive liberalization and domino logics of regionalism dominate, such
major schemes as KORUS could be expected to only catalyze further FTAs.
The second scenario is the formation of intra-regional blocs, such as
ASEAN+3 (PRC, Japan, Republic of Korea) or the ASEAN+6 (PRC,
Japan, Republic of Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand), or some
other constellation, such as a PRC–Japan–Republic of Korea trade center in
Northeast Asia.
The third scenario is the pursuit of a broader, megaregional integration
scheme along the lines of the FTAAP. Potentially building on the APEC
architecture and essentially replacing the FTAs crisscrossing the Asia-
Pacific, this line of action would connect countries of the region into one
Decade of Deve|opments
seamless production bowl. A sister scenario would be to pursue the FTAAP
through some sub-set of the 21 APEC members or another “coalition of the
willing” (Bergsten 2007).
The fourth scenario is realization of global trade liberalization in the
context of the Doha Round. This would reduce the potential noodle bowl
problems of overlapping regimes to the extent that it would erode the
preferential edge of the regional RTAs; it would resolve such problems once
and for all if accompanied by extensive multilateral rules in other trade-
related areas. However, the odds of either policy to materialize in the short-
or medium-term appear low. Perhaps a more likely scenario will be some
advances at the multilateral sphere. To be sure, Doha could arguably be
affected by regional developments—for instance, the specter of an FTAAP
could hasten Doha negotiations. However, the relationship of Doha to the
regional dynamics is uncertain.
The fifth scenario, and perhaps the most likely one, is either some
combination of the prolific bilateralism and rise of mini-blocs, or a
sequential movement from the first scenario to the second one. Whether
either would deviate countries from or propel them toward the pursuit of
a megaregional scheme is not clear. If involving deep liberalization, such
efforts could help derail import-competing interests, but they could also risk
deviating attention and resources from the broader picture.
According to estimates of Hufbauer and Schott (2007), the FTAAP
would provide the greatest economic benefits out of any other regional
integration scenario for the major players in the Pacific Rim—PRC, Japan,
Republic of Korea, US, ASEAN, and the APEC zone (Figure 6.15). Due to
its potential members being increasingly connected to trade hubs beyond the
Pacific Basin, the FTAAP would also likely avert the risk of trade diversion.
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
Figure 6.15 Average Annua| Gains from Three Integration Scenarios,
by Country/Group (Bi||ions of US$}
APEO = As|a-Pac|fc Econom|c Oooperat|on, ASEAN = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons,
FTAAP = Free Trade Area of the As|a-Pac|fc, PRO = Peop|e`s Repub||c of Oh|na, ÜS = Ün|ted
Source: Hufbauer and Schott |2007ì.
Should a megaregional agreement be pursued, there would be a number
of alternative paths to attaining it. The first is building a bloc from scratch,
with a blank negotiation slate. The second is convergence, whereby the
involved countries would take their existing common RTAs and knit them
together. A starting point would be to negotiate a common rules of origin
regime (and to allow for cumulation of production among the participating
RTAs), followed perhaps by common services and investment provisions.
The third path is through expanding any one existing regional RTA toward
other regional partners, perhaps through a docking provision. The fourth
path could be through converting APEC or, alternatively, some coalition of
the willing (that upon attaining a critical mass would leave outsiders few
options but to join), into a full-blown FTA. One fundamental question in
any of the paths is the sequencing of the issue coverage—whether a single
undertaking; trade in goods first, followed by services, competition policy,
and other rules; or some other gradual buildup.
Importantly, there are similar risks involved in scenarios one through
four. The first one is the formation of exclusive, inward-looking schemes, be
they bilateral, regional, or megaregional. Failing to continue liberalization
vis-à-vis non-members could result in trade diversion. The second risk
US PRC Japan Rep. of
Decade of Deve|opments
is the formation of shallow agreements instead of robust, liberalizing,
and comprehensive ones, which could perpetuate the political economy
resistance to liberalization. To be sure, there are ways to advance in cases
where reaching a full-fledged FTA proved difficult at the present time, such
as the negotiation of a services agreement alone.
4. ConcIusion
The Asian regional trade agreement (RTA) spree has followed and in
some cases paralleled the region’s overall economic and multilateral trade
liberalization strategies, and has brewed into an increasingly dense regional
noodle bowl of agreements that is today starting to attain a genuinely
transcontinental reach. The region’s RTAs are still relatively nascent, but
they also feature rapid liberalization. Particularly agreements with countries
of the Americas are also comprehensive in issue coverage and precision.
The main challenge for the region in the near term is to define a future
integration strategy that leverages the wave of reforms and RTAs, while
also retaining Asia’s already important gains from liberal global trade and
investment regimes.
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
Tab|e A6 RTAs Covered in the Study
Year of Entry into
Tariff Line
Tariff Lines
Chile-People's Republic of
10/1/06 Y Y Y Y
Panama-Singapore 7/24/06 Y Y Y Y
Australia-Thailand 1/1/05 Y Y
12/17/04 (Sv),
03/03/05 (HO),
03/10/05 (GU),
10/11/05 (Nl),
07/27/05 (US) *
Canada-Chile 7/5/97 Y Y Y Y
Canada-Costa Rica 11/1/02 Y Y Y Y
Chile-Republic of Korea 4/1/04 Y Y Y Y
Chile-Mexico 8/1/99 Y Y Y
Hong Kong, China-
People's Republic of China
1/1/04 Y Y Y Y
EC-South Africa 1/1/00 Y Y Y Y
EC-Lithuania 1/1/95 Y Y
EC-Morocco 3/1/00 Y Y Y
EFTA-Mexico 7/1/01 Y Y Y Y
Japan-Singapore 11/30/02 Y Y Y Y
Mexico-Japan 4/1/05 Y Y Y
New Zealand-Singapore 1/1/01 Y Y Y Y
Singapore-Australia 7/28/03 Y Y Y Y
United States-Australia 1/1/05 Y Y Y Y
United States-Chile 1/1/04 Y Y Y Y
United States-Jordan 12/17/01 Y Y Y
United States-Morocco 1/1/06 Y Y Y Y
United States-Singapore 1/1/04 Y Y Y Y
Chile-Central America
02/15/2002 (CR),
06/03/2002 (Sv)
Chile-New Zealand-
6/3/2005 08
November 2006
(CHL); June 2006.
EC-Chile 2/1/03 Y Y Y Y
Mexico-Bolivia 1/1/95 Y Y Y Y
Mexico-Costa Rica 1/1/05 Y Y Y Y
Mexico-Nicaragua 7/1/98 Y Y Y Y
Mexico-Northern Triangle
03/15/2001 (Sv,
GU), 06/01/2001
(HO), 03/14/2001
Mexico-Uruguay 7/15/04 Y Y Y Y
NAFTA 4/1/94 Y Y
US-Peru NA Y Y Y Y
Decade of Deve|opments
Year of Entry into
Tariff Line
Tariff Lines
Chile-Peru 1998 (original) Y Y Y Y
US-Colombia NA Y Y Y Y
Mercosur-Chile 10/1/96 Y Y
Mercosur-Bolivia 2/28/97 Y Y
ACE 58 6/27/05 Y Y
ACE 59 6/27/05 Y Y
Australia-New Zealand 3/28/83 Y
Canada-lsrael 1/1/97 Y
Central America-DR
03/07/2002 (CR),
10/04/2001 (Sv),
10/03/2001 (GU),
12/19/2001 (HO)
COMESA 12/8/94 Y
EC-Mexico 7/1/01 Y
EC-Romania 2/1/95 Y
EFTA-Singapore 1/1/03 Y
1/1/95 Y
Mexico-lsrael 7/1/00 Y
New Zealand-Thailand 7/1/05 Y
United States-Bahrain 12/13/05* Y
United States-lsrael 8/15/85 Y
Australia-Papua New
02/01/77 Y
ASEAN 1/28/92 Y
Chile-Japan 9/3/07 Y
People's Republic of
07/01/03 Y
Republic of Korea-
03/02/06 Y
Peru-Mexico 01/29/95** Y
Peru-Thailand NA Y
Japan-Malaysia 07/13/06 Y
Japan-Philippines NA Y
Japan-Thailand NA Y
US-Republic of Korea NA Y
Tota| Agreements 38 27 23 61
* Refer to rat|fcat|on dates.
**Part|a| Agreement, day of s|gnature
AOE = Econom|c Oomp|ementar|ty Agreement, ASEAN = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons,
BRN = Brune| Darussa|am, OAFTA = Oentra| Amer|ca Free Trade Agreement,
OH| = Oh||e, OOMESA = Oommon Market for Eastern and Southern Afr|ca, OR = Oosta R|ca,
DR = Dom|n|can Repub||c, EO = European Oomm|ss|on, EFTA = European Free Trade Assoc|at|on,
GÜ = Guatema|a, HO = Honduras, ME× = Mex|co, NAFTA = North Amer|can Free Trade Agreement,
Nl = N|caragua, NZ| = New Zea|and, SGP = S|ngapore, Sv = E| Sa|vador, ÜS = Ün|ted States.
vl. State of lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on:
Ourrent Patterns and Future Scenar|os
Baldwin, R. 1993. A Domino Theory of Regionalism. NBER Working Paper
No. W4465, Cambridge, MA.
——. 2006. Multilateralising Regionalism: Spaghetti Bowls as Building
Blocs on the Path to Global Free Trade. Centre for Economic Policy
Research Discussion Paper No. 5775.
Bergsten, C.F. 1995. APEC: The Bogor Declaration and the Path Ahead.
APEC Working Paper Series, 95-1. Institute for International Economics,
Washington, DC.
——. 2007. Toward Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. Paper presented at
the conference “New Asia-Pacific Trade Initiatives,” Japan Economic
Foundation and Peterson Institute for International Economics,
Washington, DC, 27 November 2007.
Estevadeordal, A., J. Harris, and K. Suominen. 2007. Multilateralizing
Preferential Rules of Origin around the World. Washington DC: Inter-
American Bank of Development.
Estevadeordal, A., and K. Suominen. 2006. Mapping and Measuring Rules
of Origin around the World. In The Origin of Goods: Rules of Origin in
Regional Trade Agreements, edited by O. Cadot, A. Estevadeordal, A.
Suwa-Eisenmann, and T. Verdier. Oxford University Press and Centre
for Economic Policy Research.
Falvey, R., and G. Reed. 2000. Rules of Origin as Commercial Policy
Instruments. Leverhulme Centre for Research on Globalisation and
Economic Policy, University of Nottingham.
Hufbauer, G., and J.J. Schott. 2007. Fitting Asia-Pacific Agreements into
the WTO System. Washington, DC: Peterson Institute for International
IADB (Inter-American Development Bank). 2002. Beyond Borders: The
New Regionalism in Latin America. In Economic and Social Progress in
Latin America, 2002 Report. Washington, DC: IADB.
——. 2006. Market Access Provisions in Regional Trade Agreements.
Presented at the IDB/WTO Regional Rules in the Global Trading
System Conference, 26–27 July 2006, Washington, DC. Forthcoming in
IDB-WTO Handbook on RTAs (2007).
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Krishna, K., and A.O. Kruger. 1995. Implementing Free Trade Areas:
Rules of Origin and Hidden protection. In New Directions in Trade
Theory, edited by A. Deardorff, J. Levinsohn, and R. Stern. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press.
Krueger, A.O. 1993. Free Trade Agreements as Protectionist Devices: Rules
of Origin. NBER Working Paper No. 4352. Cambridge, MA: NBER.
Lloyd, P.J. 2001. Rules of Origin and Fragmentation of Trade. In Global
Production and Trade in East Asia, edited by L.K. Cheng, and H.
Kierzkowski. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Scollay, R. 2005. Substantially All Trade. Which Definitions Are Fulfilled
In Practice? An Empirical Investigation. Report prepared for the
Commonwealth Secretariat, APEC Study Center, University of Auckland
(15 August).
Suominen, K. 2004. Rules of Origin in Global Commerce. PhD Dissertation,
University of California, San Diego.
World Bank. 2005. Global Economic Prospects. Washington, DC: World
World Trade Organization. 2002. Regional Trade Agreements Gateway.
Available http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/region_e/region_e.htm#

VII. A Compos|te Index of Econom|c
Integrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|ñc Reg|on
Chen Bo
Yuen Pau Woo
1. lntroduction
The process of economic integration is commonly defined as the freer
movement of goods, services, labor, and capital across borders. The degree
of economic integration can be analyzed at bilateral, regional, and global
levels. The trend toward regional trading arrangements (for instance, the
European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN], and
North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]) has created a need for
measures of economic integration within that region, which in turn allow
for comparisons across different regions. There are many single variable
measures of regional economic integration, but relatively little work has
been done in developing a composite index of economic integration.
Even though the Asia-Pacific (AP) region is not covered by a single
trading agreement, there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that it
is becoming more integrated. As defined by the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) membership, the region consists of not only developed
economies such as the United States (US), Japan, Canada, and Australia,
but also emerging markets such as Republic of Korea and ASEAN, plus
an emerging superpower in the form of the People’s Republic of China
(PRC). It is well known that parts of the region are already highly integrated
through production networks that trade intermediate and finished goods
across borders, often within the same firm. Since 1998, many economies
in the AP region have negotiated bilateral and subregional free trade
agreements with partners in the region as well as outside the region. APEC
leaders have also endorsed a proposal to investigate the idea of a Free Trade
Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which, if successful, would constitute the
largest regional trading bloc in the world. The main purpose of this chapter
is to construct a composite index of economic integration that will show the
This chapter was originally commissioned by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council’s
State of the Region Project. The authors are grateful to Dr. Shinji Takagi and participants
at ADBI’s tenth anniversary conference for helpful comments. The authors would also like
to thank participants at the SFU-UBC Economics Winter Workshop for their feedback.
Decade of Deve|opments
extent of integration not only of the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, but also
the degree of integration of individual economies within the region.
There is a vast literature attempting to measure indicators/variables from
different economic and sociological dimensions using a composite index
by looking at a number of independent indices. For example, the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) periodically reports the Human
Development Index (HDI); similar to HDI, the European Union (EU)
reports the Lisbon Strategy Indices (LSI) measuring the comprehensive
development level of EU member economies; likewise, the consulting firm,
A.T. Kearney (2002, 2003) has a simple composite globalization index
based on indicators of economics, technology, demography, and politics.
All of these indices are constructed by non-parametric methods: that is,
the weights used among indicators are determined subjectively by experts
based on their knowledge about the relative importance of each indicator
(or sub-index). A different way of constructing a composite index is to use
parametric methods where the weights among indicators or sub-indices
are determined by the relative variation among those indicators. The most
popular parametric method is known as principal component analysis
(PCA). Dreher (2006) and Heshmati (2003, 2006), for example, used PCA
to determine the weights of sub-indices of a composite globalization index.
Common factor analysis (CFA) is another frequently applied parametric
method (for example, Andersen and Herbertsson 2003).
Though much research has been done on the integration of the member
economies under a given trade/political agreement such as ASEAN (Batra
2006) and NAFTA (Acharya, Rao, and Sawchuk 2002), there has been little
research on the economic integration of the AP region as a whole.
We attempt to use a composite index to measure the dynamics of
AP economic integration. In Section 2, we describe our methodology of
constructing a composite index from multi-dimensional data. In Section 3,
we provide a description of the data and rationale for the chosen indicators
and a sub-index measuring the convergence of sample economies. Section
4 reports the sub-index as well as the composite index. Section 5 concludes
with the main results and discusses possible extensions of the research.
2. MethodoIogy
To include as much information as possible from a multi-dimensional
dataset in a composite index, the key task is to allocate reasonable weights
to the included indicators or sub-indices. A good index should still carry the
vll. A Oompos|te lndex of Econom|c lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on
essential information in all the indicators but not be biased toward one or a
few of the indictors.
As mentioned in the previous section, there are both non-parametric and
parametric methods to construct composite indices.
The non-parametric methods are directly assigned weights to those
included indicators based on researchers’ prior beliefs about the relative
importance of the indicators (i.e., they assign higher weights to more
important indicators). Examples of non-parametric indices include the
UNDP’s HDI and EU’s LSI.
On the other hand, parametric methods assume there is some structure
behind the variation of the included indicators and hence the weights for
these indicators are determined by the covariation between them on each
dimension of the structure. The commonly applied parametric methods are
common factor analysis (CFA) and principal component analysis (PCA).
CFA attempts to simplify complex and diverse relationships by assuming
that there exist underlying common dimensions among a set of observed
variables. That is to say, CFA attempts to explain each of the original
variables by the set of common factors (CFs). The loadings of the original
variables on each CF reveal their relative importance in the dimension
represented by the corresponding CF.
Originally introduced by Pearson (1901) and independently developed
by Hotelling (1933), PCA transforms the original set of variables into
principal components (PCs) that are orthogonal to each other. Each PC is a
linear combination of all the included indicators. The first PC accounts for
the largest amount of the total variation (information) in the original data (in
the following, the second PC explains the second largest variation and so
on). The (normalized) loadings in a PC are the weights of the corresponding
indicators in the dimension represented by that PC.

The final weight assigned to each indicator in a composite index is
its loading in each dimension of the selected CFs or PCs weighted by the
relative importance (accountability of the total variation of the original data)
of that factor or component.
While non-parametric methods are simple to construct and allow for
ease of comparison over time, they suffer from the subjective assignment
of weights, which often lack a theoretical basis. Changing the weights on a
non-parametric index even slightly can dramatically alter the final index.
Parametric methods, on the other hand, are mathematically sound
because the weights are determined by the sample indicators themselves.
The normalization is to make the squared loading of each indicator in any PC to be unity.
Decade of Deve|opments
From an empirical point of view, PCA is often preferred to CFA for two
reasons. First, PCA is simpler to apply mathematically, since no assumptions
are attached to the raw data (i.e., the underlying common factors) (Stevens
1992). Secondly, PCA does not have to account for factor indeterminacy,
which is a troublesome feature of CFA (Steiger 1979). PCA is widely used
in research on indices and we have chosen this method for the construction
of a composite index of economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region.
Our PCA method is similar to that used in the Trade and Development
Index constructed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD). Suppose there is a multi-dimensional data X

where T is the total number of periods and p is the number of the indicators
(dimensions). R
is the correlation matrix of the p indicator series. Define λ

(i = 1, ..., p) as the i
eigenvalue and α
(i = 1, ..., p) as the i
of the correlation matrix R
respectively, given the property of eigenvalue
and eigenvector, we know, λ
should be the solution of the determinant
⎪R-λI⎪= 0 (where λ = (λ
, ..., λ
)’), and the corresponding (normalized)
eigenvector α
can be solved by (R - λ
I ) α
= 0, subject to α
= 1
(normalization condition). Without loss of generality, assume λ
> λ
> ... >
, and denote the i
principal component as PC
, then
= Xα
= var(PC
). (2)
Therefore, the first principal component is the linear combination of
the initial indicators; it has the biggest variance. The second PC is another
linear combination of the indicators that is orthogonal to the first PC
(since the eigenvectors are orthogonal to each other) and has the second
biggest variance. Following this order, the p
PC is a linear combination
of the indicators that is orthogonal to all the other PCs and has the smallest
variance. In other words, the PCA is a method to represent a p-dimensional
data by p orthogonal PCs, with the first i PCs carrying the biggest i variances
(information) of the initial data.
Thus, our index will be constructed by the PCs and their relative
importance (accountability of the variance),
, (3)
In general, the components of matrix X are the normalized transformation of the raw data
to avoid the problem of heterogeneous scales.
vll. A Oompos|te lndex of Econom|c lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on
where x
(j = 1, ..., p) is the j
column (indicator series) of the matrix X, and
the final weight
of indicator j is given by
. (4)
However, we should still be aware of a problem when using PCA. Since
the weights are determined by the correlation between indicators, if there are
some indicators that are highly inter-correlated, the weights may be biased
toward these indicators (Mishra 2007). A method to overcome this problem
is to adopt a two- (or multi-) stage PCA. That is, one needs to group the
highly inter-correlated indicators together and construct a composite sub-
index first, then use this sub-index with the rest of the indicators to construct
the final composite index. In this chapter, we apply such a two-stage PCA
3. The Data and Descriptive Statistics
Most research on economic integration is based on the following four
indicators: trade, foreign direct investment, portfolio capital flows, and
income payments and receipts (for instance, Keohane and Nye 2000;
A.T. Kearney 2003; Bhandari and Heshmati 2005; Heshmati 2006).
Other indicators that have been applied include the flow of people, i.e.,
international tourism (Acharya et al. 2002), gross domestic product (GDP)
per capita (Heshmati and Oh 2005), and the relative size of the agriculture
sector to GDP (Cahill and Sanchez 1998).
Given data availability, we have chosen the following seven indicators:
the absolute deviation of real GDP per capita; the non-agriculture sectoral
share (of GDP); the gross capital formation ratio (to GDP); the urban
resident ratio; the AP regional imports and exports share (to GDP); the AP
regional foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow share (to GDP); and the
in-AP regional tourists share (to total annual international tourists hosted
by each country).
The data sources are listed in Table 7.1. These data are
collected from the following 15 representative economies in the AP region:
Japan, Republic of Korea, PRC, and Hong Kong, China from East Asia;
In general, the sum of weights is not, but is very close to, unity due to the fact that PCA
normalizes the mode of each eigenvector is unity.
We want to emphasize that no indicators can sufficiently reflect economic integration
individually. However, the process of integration must be reflected from various aspects,
which we hope are captured by our selected indicators. That is why we try to measure
integration from various dimensions rather than focus on a single aspect.
Decade of Deve|opments
Viet Nam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia from
Southeast Asia; US, Canada, and Mexico from North America; and Australia
and New Zealand from Oceania. The data starts from 1990 and ends at
2005. Missing data was approximated using standard interpolation and
extrapolation techniques.
Tab|e 7.1 Data Category and Source
Category Subcategory Source
Economic convergence
Real GDP per capita
World Bank 2007. 7ORLD
Agriculture sectoral share
World Bank 2007. 7ORLD
Gross capital formation share
World Bank 2007. 7ORLD
Urban residents
World Bank 2007. 7ORLD
Trade share
Nominal GDP
United Nations Common
Exports World Trade Analyzer
lmports World Trade Analyzer
FDl infow share
Nominal GDP
United Nations Common
FDl infow
1. United States Census
Bureau for US data
2. CANSlM for Canadian data
3. ASEAN Statistical
Yearbooks for the ASEAN+6
4. Country-specifc statistical
lnternational tourists share
Total international tourists
United Nations Conference
on Trade and Development
lnternational tourists from
Asia-Pacifc region
1. United States Census
Bureau for US data
2. CANSlM for Canadian data
3. ASEAN Statistical
Yearbooks for the ASEAN+6
4. Country-specifc statistical
ASEAN = Assoc|at|on of Southeast As|an Nat|ons, OANSlM = Stat|st|cs Oanada`s key
soc|oeconom|c database, FDl = fore|gn d|rect |nvestment, GDP = gross domest|c product.
The first four deviation indicators are grouped together because they
may be highly inter-correlated. We have labeled the sub-index of these four
indicators as a “convergence index” (CI) because the dispersion in these
four indicators is expected to narrow over time with growing economic
integration. In particular, the absolute deviation of real GDP per capita
vll. A Oompos|te lndex of Econom|c lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on
measures dispersion of overall welfare of the sample economies, that of the
non-agriculture sectoral share measures the dispersion of industrialization
levels, that of the gross capital formation ratio (to GDP) measures
differences in the ability of investment for the future, and that of the urban
residents ratio measures the dispersion of modernization levels (since most
industrial and business activities occur in urban areas). If economies in the
region are integrating over time, one would expect the deviation of these
indicators to decline, i.e., to move toward convergence. Figures 7.1a–7.1d
illustrate the aggregate performance of the indicators using 1990 as the base
year. The indicators are obtained as follows:
Figure 7.1a Abso|ute Deviation Indicator of Rea| GDP Per Capita
GDP = gross domest|c product.
Figure 7.1b Abso|ute Deviation Indicator of Non-Agricu|ture Sectora| Share
1990, ..., 2005.
Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 7.1c Abso|ute Deviation Indicator of Gross Capita| Formation Ratio
Figure 7.1d Abso|ute Deviation Indicator of Urban Resident Ratio
Therefore, compared to the base year (1990) indicator, which is
normalized to zero, a positive indicator implies the absolute deviation of that
year is smaller than that of the base year, i.e., there has been convergence
compared to 1990; a negative number would imply the opposite, which is
greater divergence. A higher score implies a higher level of convergence,
while lower means the opposite. Figures 7.1b and 7.1d clearly show that
the indicators of non-agriculture sectoral share and urban resident share are
consistently converging across the sample economies over time. Figure 7.1c
shows that the gross capital formation ratio is converging in level but the
trend is volatile. Finally, the indicator of real GDP reveals that the gap in
real income (welfare) among sample economies has been getting wider over
time, suggesting economic divergence.
The second part of our index construction involves the collection of
economic integration indicators. We have chosen commonly used indicators
that measure flows of goods (trade), capital (FDI), and people (tourists) in
a region. To avoid bias, we have netted out flows among AP economies that
are part of a sub-regional unit, for example between Hong Kong, China and
PRC, among ASEAN members, among NAFTA members, and between
Australia and New Zealand. In order to obtain the data that conveys the
“pure” information of AP regional integration, the value/number of trade,
vll. A Oompos|te lndex of Econom|c lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on
FDI, and tourists are calculated as the total inflows (outflow for exports)
from the AP sample economies net of those from other members of a trade
agreement. For instance, we exclude the FDI inflow from Hong Kong, China
when we calculate the total AP regional FDI inflow to PRC. Otherwise,
ignoring the effects of sub-regional agreements may seriously overstate
the level of integration in the AP region. For example, Mexico’s trade and
FDI inflow increased rapidly after it became a member of NAFTA in 1992.
However, most of the growth was due to increasing business with the US
and Canada rather than with economies outside of North America. A global
economic integration index for Mexico that does not exclude the effects of
NAFTA will provide a false reading of Mexico’s integration with the world.
Most of the literature measuring country global integration ignores the
effects of regional agreements on an economy’s broader integration with the
world, and hence provides an inaccurate reading of globalization.
Figures 7.2–7.4 illustrate the total (in-AP) regional imports and exports
share (to regional GDP), the total (in-AP) regional FDI inflow share (to
regional GDP), and the total (in-AP) regional tourist share (to total annual
international tourists hosted by all AP sample economies), respectively. As
illustrated in Figures 7.2 and 7.4, the trade share and tourist share have both
increased over time, implying stronger links in goods and demographic
flows in the AP region. However, the FDI inflow share has dropped about
half from 0.8% in 1990 to 0.4% in 2005. Even though there has been a large
increase in FDI in many AP economies, much of the increase has been due
to investment from economies belonging to a sub-regional trade agreement,
e.g., NAFTA. Another factor worth noting is the growing volume of FDI
inflow from tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin
Islands. Even though much of this inflow may in fact originate from AP
economies, we are unable to make this determination based on the available
data. It is likely, therefore, that the investment measure of AP integration is
Figure 7.2 Trade Share in Asia-Paciñc Region

Decade of Deve|opments
Figure 7.3 FDI Inñow Share within Asia-Paciñc Region
FDl = fore|gn d|rect |nvestment.
Figure 7.4 Internationa| Tourist Share within Asia-Paciñc Region
4. The Convergence lndex and Composite lndex
What are the properties of a good composite index of economic integration?
Intuitively, at least two characteristics should be possessed by the index.
First, the index should not exhibit a high degree of volatility. Since
economic integration is a gradual process, a representative index should
reflect the modest pace of change as economies become more closely tied
to each other. Second, the index should not be biased toward any of the
indicators, i.e., the weight of any indicator should not be so high that it
dominates the overall index. After obtaining values for the indicators and
computing the composite index, we can test for the two desirable properties
identified above.
In the first stage, we computed the weights for the four deviation
indicators and calculated the CI. Table 7.2 reports the summary of PCA for
CI indicators. The weights of the four deviation indicators were derived by
Equation 4. The deviation indicator of gross capital formation was assigned
the highest weight (0.43), followed by urban resident ratio (0.26), with the
weights for real GDP per capita and non-agriculture share roughly the same,
at 0.16 and 0.14, respectively.


vll. A Oompos|te lndex of Econom|c lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on
Tab|e 7.2 Summary of Principa| Component Ana|ysis
for Convergence Index, n = 240
Abso|ute dev|at|on of rea| gross domest|c product per cap|ta = gdp, of the non-agr|cu|ture sectora|
share = nagr|, of the gross cap|ta| format|on rat|o = gcf, and of the urban res|dent rat|o = urb.
Using the weights, we computed the CI for the AP region as well as each
economy in the sample. Due to space limitations, we provide only the CI for
the AP region as a whole in Figure 7.5.
Starting from 1990 as the base year
with CI normalized to zero, the CI series fluctuates over time, peaking at
21.83 in 2001 and falling to 5.58 in 2005. This pattern of fluctuation seems
to resemble that of the gross capital formation share (Figure 7.1c).
Figure 7.5 Convergence Index of Asia-Paciñc Region
In the second stage, we used PCA again to compute the weights for
the other three indicators (trade, FDI, and tourists) as well as the CI. The
summary of the second stage PCA is reported in Table 7.3. PCA assigned
the biggest weight to FDI (0.34), followed by trade flows (0.28) and
tourist flows (0.27), with the CI obtained from the first stage resulting in
the smallest weight (0.18). Though the weights are not evenly distributed,
none of the indicators is dominant. Figure 7.6 shows the movement of the
gdp 0.4153 -0.6232 0.5246 0.4050 0.1611
nagri 0.6650 -0.1236 -0.1112 -0.7281 0.1406
gcf 0.2503 0.7182 0.6492 0.0075 0.4298
urb 0.5680 0.283824 -0.5394 0.5530 0.2623
Eigenvalue 1.6680 1.0613 0.8257 0.4450
The detailed HI of each sample country can be provided upon contacting the authors.

The resemblance does not mean that deviation indicator of the gross capital formation ratio
is dominant in HI, it is so just because the consistent trend of the other three indicators are
offset (the deviation indicator of the real GDP per capita is consistently decreased while
the other two increased).
Decade of Deve|opments
composite index for the AP region from 1990 to 2005. This figure clearly
shows the composite index is upward sloping, implying that the economic
integration is strengthening over time even after filtering out the effects
of sub-regional trade agreements. Fluctuations in the index are relatively
modest, which satisfies the need for an index that reflects a “smooth”
process of integration.
Tab|e 7.3 Summary of the Principa| Component Ana|ysis
for Composite Index, n = 240
Oonvergence lndex = c|, |n-As|a-Pac|fc reg|ona| |mports and exports share = trade, |n-As|a-Pac|fc
reg|ona| fore|gn d|rect |nvestment |nfow share = fd|, |n-As|a-Pac|fc reg|ona| tour|sts share = tour.
Figure 7.6 Composite Index of Asia-Paciñc Economic Integration
The sample economies’ integration indexes are shown in Table 7.4. Due
to space limitations, only six sample economies are reported (US, Canada,
PRC, Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia). The annual growth rate of the
integration (shown in the parentheses of Table 7.4) level are calculated as
where g
and I
are the growth rate and integration index, respectively, in
year t.
ci -0.3343 0.7228 0.5736 0.1915 0.1802
trade 0.6002 0.3549 0.1374 -0.7035 0.2833
fdi 0.5539 0.4130 -0.3988 0.6030 0.3361
tour 0.4703 -0.4254 0.7021 0.3238 0.2693
Eigenvalue 1.6902 1.0202 0.7891 0.5005
1991, ..., 2005,
vll. A Oompos|te lndex of Econom|c lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on
Tab|e 7.4 Integration Index of Individua| Economy and the Asia-Paciñc Region
PRO = Peop|e`s Repub||c of Oh|na, ÜS = Ün|ted States.
Note: va|ues |n parentheses are the percentage growth rate of the econom|c |ntegrat|on |ndex. ¯+"
|nd|cates a pos|t|ve growth, ¯-" |nd|cates a negat|ve growth, and ¯-" means not app||cab|e.
According to the integration index reported in Table 7.4, the ASEAN+2
economies are the most integrated in the AP region: i.e., they rely most on
the AP regional market, followed by Australia, whose integration level is
close to the regional average. The PRC is next but its integration level has
been decreasing in the past five years, which may be a result of the relatively
closer local integration with Hong Kong, China; Macau; and Taipei,China,
as well as diversification of trade and investment toward the EU. NAFTA
economies are the least integrated in the AP region, likely because of the
US Canada PRC Malaysia Thailand Australia
Decade of Deve|opments
bias for trade and investment within the NAFTA region. Interestingly, even
though Canada is one of the least integrated compared to the other AP
economies, the Canadian economy has nevertheless become more integrated
with the AP region over the period studied.
Table 7.5 reports the dynamic performance of the composite index and
its indicators for a single economy, using Canada as an example. Canada’s
economic integration with the AP market first dropped from 1990 to 1996
and then increased rapidly from 1997 to 1999, with the integration level of
4.64 in 1990 dropping to 1.32 in 1996 but increasing to 8.11 in 1999. This
large fluctuation can be mainly attributed to a divergence (to the AP sample
country average) of the gross capital formation ratio from 1990 to 1996 and
convergence afterwards from 1997 to 1999. A second modest but growing
integration trend occurred in the most recent five years (2001 to 2005). With
the indicators of CI relatively stable, the integration trend can be mainly
attributed to the fact that Canada had relatively more trade and FDI in the
AP market (the trade and FDI share increased from 5.03 and 0.02 in 2001 to
6.36 and 0.27 in 2005 respectively) and a big increase in trade with the PRC
(stimulated perhaps by the surge in Chinese business immigration to Canada).
Tab|e 7.5 Economic Integration Index of Canada
Abso|ute dev|at|on of rea| gross domest|c product per cap|ta = gdp, of the non-agr|cu|ture sectora|
share = nagr|, of the gross cap|ta| format|on rat|o = gcf, and of the urban res|dent rat|o =urb; the
|n-As|a-Pac|fc reg|ona| |mports and exports share =Trade; the |n-As|a-Pac|fc reg|ona| fore|gn
d|rect |nvestment |nfow share = FDl; the |n-As|a-Pac|fc reg|ona| tour|sts share = Tour; and the
compos|te |ntegrat|on |ndex = OEll.
Note: va|ues |n parentheses are the |nd|cator we|ghts of the Ol or OEll.
Convergence lndex (0.18)
Trade FDl Tour

Year gdp nagi gcf urb
(0.28) (0.34) (0.27)
(0.16) (0.14) (0.43) (0.26)
1990 -31.48 4.94 7.47 37.18 4.87 0.25 6.04 4.64
1991 -22.76 7.11 -20.14 38.25 4.83 0.02 6.09 2.78
1992 -21.82 13.95 -32.67 39.32 5.15 -0.07 6.30 2.18
1993 -22.75 24.14 -48.96 41.45 5.22 0.09 6.15 1.28
1994 -30.70 26.48 -42.22 41.45 5.45 -0.07 6.87 1.84
1995 -34.32 29.50 -50.51 42.52 6.23 0.20 7.99 1.83
1996 -32.13 32.21 -58.72 42.95 5.46 0.06 8.86 1.32
1997 -34.80 33.17 -23.56 43.37 5.68 -0.03 7.82 3.76
1998 -56.01 32.81 43.32 43.80 5.32 0.03 5.81 7.71
1999 -68.82 34.52 52.60 44.23 5.12 0.04 5.98 8.11
2000 -76.19 39.01 29.21 44.66 5.37 0.01 6.30 6.37
2001 -84.98 40.26 29.81 45.85 5.03 0.02 5.79 6.02
2002 -89.11 40.25 38.50 47.05 5.23 0.17 5.72 6.72
2003 -91.82 40.21 46.41 48.25 4.98 0.29 4.91 7.06
2004 -92.24 40.21 43.56 49.45 6.17 0.27 6.15 7.54
2005 -100.67 44.11 46.41 50.65 6.36 0.27 6.31 7.78
vll. A Oompos|te lndex of Econom|c lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on
Table 7.6 reports the ranking of AP economic integration level for the
15 AP sample economies. Consistent with anecdotal evidence, the level of
economic integration in the AP region is growing. Interestingly, the relative
ranking of AP economies has not changed significantly over time. Singapore
and Hong Kong, China are consistently ranked as the economies most
closely integrated with the AP region while US and Canada are the least.
Tab|e 7.6 Ranking of the Economic Integration Leve|
with the Asia-Paciñc Market
OEll = compos|te |ntegrat|on |ndex.
Note: va|ues |n parentheses are the change ||n numberì compared to four years ago. ¯+" |nd|cates
an |ncrease, ¯-" |nd|cates a decrease, ¯-" means not app||cab|e.
1993 1997 2001 2005
CEll Ranking CEll Ranking CEll Ranking CEll Ranking
viet Nam
United States
People's Republic
of China
Hong Kong,
Republic of
New Zealand
Decade of Deve|opments
5. ConcIusion and Discussion
This chapter measured the economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region
by construction of a composite index. The weights of the index were
obtained from a two-stage principal component analysis (PCA). In the first
stage, we obtained a convergence index to measure the dispersion of Asia-
Pacific sample economies’ main macroeconomic indicators. In the second
stage, we used the indicators of trade, foreign direct investment, and tourism
as well as the convergence index to compute the composite index.
Overall, we found that though economic convergence in the Asia-
Pacific region fluctuated during the years from 1990 to 2005, the economic
integration has been steadily growing. Among the 15 sample economies,
Singapore and Hong Kong, China were the most integrated with the Asia-
Pacific region, while the United States and Canada were the least.
Though the PCA has many good properties in constructing indices for
multi-dimensional data, there are some shortcomings that we need to note.
For instance, the weights in PCA are completely determined by sample data,
i.e., they are sample-dependent. Adding more data from recent years or new
dimensions will change the weights so that the new index cannot be directly
compared with the old index. This problem can be overcome, however, by
using a “chained index” to account for the different weights used in different
years. This is particularly important if the index is used in time series
comparisons, for example as an annual measure of the state of Asia-Pacific
regional integration.
vll. A Oompos|te lndex of Econom|c lntegrat|on |n the As|a-Pac|f|c Reg|on
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Integration Index: An Exploratory Analysis. Micro-Economic Policy
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Heshmati, A. 2003. Productivity Growth, Efficiency and Outsourcing in
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Keohane, R.O., and J. S. Nye. 2000. Introduction. In Governance in a
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Shinji Takagi
Mr. Estevadeordal and Ms. Suominen’s chapter is a comparative analysis
of regional trade agreements (RTAs) and free trade agreements (FTAs)
by region while Mr. Bo and Mr. Woo’s chapter gives a summary index of
integration in the Asia-Pacific.
Regard|ng Chapter VI
The chapter is mostly factual but very data-intensive. It is a useful
contribution by a multilateral institution to the debate in Asia and it can be
used to identify areas where Asia can improve to further integrate trade and
related activities in the region.
The main findings of the chapter are as follows: Asia is a relative
latecomer to RTAs/FTAs and Asian agreements tend to be (i) more
frontloaded in terms of tariff reduction and (ii) less restrictive with rules of
origin (ROOs). They tend, however, to be more limited in coverage beyond
trade in goods and related activities (e.g., customs procedures).
There is little to add to the chapter as it is largely factual. The
distinction between bilateral FTAs and RTAs is not clear. Are they used
interchangeably? One of the drivers of the process is a country’s desire
not to be left behind. This may suggest the high cost of trade diversion,
but also indicates that economic forces are at play to undo trade diversion.
FTAs/RTAs may be contributing to freer global trade.
Regard|ng Chapter VII
Integration has many aspects. In order to have a single measure, one must
assign weight to each. The chapter uses principal component analysis to
determine the weights endogenously from the data, and the first principal
component is the linear combination of the underlying factors that gives the
largest variance. The methodology is not new, but it provides one way of
measuring overall integration.
These are the aspects of integration (factors):
(i) Deviation of real gross domestic product (GDP)/population
(ii) Deviation of non-agriculture/GDP
(iii) Deviation of gross capital formation/GDP
(iv) Deviation of urban population/total population
Oomments on Ohapters vl and vll
Decade of Deve|opments
(v) Regional imports + exports/GDP
(vi) Regional foreign direct investment inflows/GDP
(vii) Regional tourists/total tourists
The first four deviation indicators are combined as the harmonization
index at the first stage.
Are these deviation indicators about integration or convergence, since
convergence does not mean integration? Non-agriculture/GDP can differ
widely if specialization occurs within the region. Gross capital formation/
GDP is known to be volatile. Moreover, we must be careful about netting out
flows between partners under local arrangements because such arrangements
can be part of further regional integration. Also, principal component
analysis gives greater weight to more volatile indicators such as gross capital
formation/GDP. These indicators are also different in dimensionality (e.g.,
%Δgross capital formation/GDP vs. %Δregional tourists/regional tourists).
To conclude, any single index to measure overall integration is
subjective. There is no basis to argue one index is superior to another. It is
best to avoid using volume measures because they tend to be volatile from
year to year.
David Kruger
As Central Asian perspectives have not featured in the discussions,
comments are offered based on the experience of the eight countries and
six multilateral institutions working within the Central Asia Regional
Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program. Three points are highlighted.
First, regional integration and cooperation is critical for the development of
Central Asia. Second, efforts to boost growth through bilateral and regional
trade agreements have produced disappointing results. Third, within the
CAREC Program countries are now focused on practical actions they feel
ready to approach together.
The case for regional cooperation in Central Asia is clear. Although
surrounded by large economies and trading opportunities, the region is
characterized by small, landlocked economies and populations far from
key markets and ports. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
research suggests that with improved regional cooperation in the areas of
trade policy, transport facilitation, and energy and water management, the
region’s gross domestic product (GDP) could double—over and above
normal growth—within ten years.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the region suffered a steep
economic decline. The response included efforts to establish a new regional
trade regime. These efforts resulted in a number of overlapping agreements,
many of which have not been actively implemented. Research by the
Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund suggests
that participation in various regional arrangements has so far had a limited
impact on the trade regime and trade in Central Asia.
These disappointing results appear to have led to a desire for more
practical efforts. Within the CAREC Program, countries are urging practical
solutions to the non-tariff barriers (e.g., poor transport infrastructure,
cumbersome customs procedures, and weak institutions) that inhibit trade in
the region and efforts to achieve World Trade Organization accession.
As Eurasian trade expands, there is a need to improve Central Asian
transport infrastructure. A recent CAREC ministerial meeting endorsed a
transport and trade facilitation strategy for the program that outlines plans to
develop six priority corridors linking countries within greater Central Asia
and linking the region to the rest of Eurasia. The strategy envisions about
100 transport and trade facilitation investment projects totaling about US$20
billion along the six corridors over ten years.
A question was raised: When and how can this region become integrated
with the rest of Asia? Central Asia is interested in learning about the
integration experience of Southeast Asia.

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VIII. Summary
The final session of the conference was a substantive discussion on the
future for Asia and the Pacific by identifying the most pressing issues that
will confront the region in the next decade. Mr. Masahiro Kawai, Dean
of Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), asked the seven panelists
to identify challenges and issues that think tanks in the region like ADBI
should focus on from the perspective of conducting research, in-depth
study analysis, and capacity building for the public sector. Outcomes of this
session will help inform ADBI’s long-term focus and mission.
The panelists for the session were Mr. Mohamed Ariff, Mr. Iwan
Azis, Mr. Thanong Bidaya, Ms. Siow Yue Chia, Mr. Justin Yifu Lin, Mr.
Aftab Seth, and Mr. Hiroshi Watanabe. Each participant was charged with
presenting his or her three most pressing areas of concern.
Mr. Mohamed Ar|ff: "Manag|ng Exchange Rates |n an Era of Vo|at|||ty"
Managing exchange rates is an issue that Asia has to grapple with in the
near term, stated Mr. Ariff. He argued that managing exchange rates is really
about managing short-term capital flows and foreign exchange reserves. He
expected a global rebalancing to happen soon and said that this would be
a serious challenge for Asia. Exchange rate adjustment is a key instrument
for Asia to help correct global payments imbalances. The continued
depreciation of the dollar is an example of this correction, which will be
accompanied by other adjustments in the real sector of economies and in
turn will have implications for capital flows and exchange rates. The next
two years, Mr. Ariff said, would be critical because a real balancing could
take place in 2008 or 2009 and the US dollar’s role as a reserve currency
for East Asia would decline. The latter was then happening in the Middle
East and the People’s Republic of China and countries such as Malaysia and
Singapore were quietly diversifying their reserve currencies. Since central
banks can no longer count on the dollar’s strength and stability, he said, they
will likely minimize the risks that the current value of the dollar brings.
The yen was probably not playing the role that it should play in the
region and this led to the question of whether or not Japan would allow
the yen to be a reserve currency. This would require a different role from
Japan: allowing its currency to be internationalized, creating a commitment
to stabilize the yen, and making the necessary macroeconomic adjustments.
The existence of a variety of exchange rate regimes in East Asia further
Decade of Deve|opments
complicates the situation. For example, People’s Republic of China and
Malaysia have a managed float system, which means these countries do not
give their currencies a sufficient lease to move. Hong Kong, China has a
currency board system while many countries have managed floating systems
based on a basket of currencies. There is no doubt that a major currency
alignment in the future would make East Asian currencies more volatile.
However, the age of central banks in East Asia responding in haphazard and
ad-hoc ways, Mr. Ariff said, is past. While some people have been talking
about a common currency for East Asia, this is not likely to materialize
in our lifetime, because East Asia is still too variant in terms of stages of
development and economic size. However, some kind of convergence in
terms of a common exchange rate regime for the whole of Asia is warranted.
The growing regional and intra-Asian trade where exchange rate stability
will be critical in terms of maintaining stable regional trade and capital
flows is a strong reason. In sum, he concluded, there should be some kind of
regional cooperation among central banks of Asian countries. Coordination
through informal talks has been going on but a more formal dialogue to
institutionalize a common exchange rate regime would make Asia more
responsive to a looming major exchange rate realignment.
Mr. Iwan Az|s: "New So|ut|ons for O|d Prob|ems¬L|qu|d|ty, Debt and
Mr. Azis identified three issues that did not exist prior to 1997 and are
present in most East Asian countries today. The first of these was the excess
liquidity that East Asia is currently amassing. Excess savings, he added,
must be studied in order to understand the incentive mechanisms that can
help mitigate its side effects. In addition, data systems, which involve
analyzing flows of funds, must be carefully studied in order to determine
the short- and long-term implications of excess liquidity. There is a need
to disaggregate the data in order to identify exactly where the money goes.
A detailed study of the flow of funds with respect to excess savings and
financial assets should be a priority research agenda that he endorsed for
East Asia.
The second issue pertained to the presence of domestic debt particularly
in Southeast Asia. Prior to 1997, East Asian countries had domestic
debt levels of virtually zero and debts were largely from foreign donors.
Today their domestic debt levels are quite high. These countries have no
experience in managing domestic debt compared to managing foreign debt
(for example, concessional and commercial loans). Domestic debts have
vlll. Summary
a different dynamic, which makes them an interesting research topic for
policymakers. ADBI is well-placed to do this type of frontier research with
very strong policy implications. Tackling domestic debt must go beyond
the macro approach and look at the micro details. In some cases, as in
Indonesia, for instance, banks have no incentive to extend credit because
they want to maintain recapitalization bonds issued by the government to
respond to the financial crisis. As a result, they maintain an unnecessarily
high capital adequacy ratio instead of extending credit. Analyzing this
situation using a micro approach may reveal that once interest income from
these recapitalization bonds is removed, banks are basically losing money.
The research that focuses on the issue of domestic debt at a micro level must
look at the balance sheets of the non-banking corporate sector as well as the
banking sector.
The third issue was poverty alleviation. Actions need to go beyond the
usual discussion of poverty alleviation through government provisions of
social protection coupled with government expenditure on infrastructure for
the poor. The world has changed and issues such as financial liberalization,
say through a single policy at the macro level, have different repercussions
on the income of different household groups. Studies which analyze the
link among macro, financial policies and poverty show that macro policies
(to achieve macro stability) dominate the debate and yet do not always
consider the implications for poor households. Researchers must study the
trade-off between macro policies and the impact on income of the poor.
They must abandon certain paradigms and instead be more open-minded
when generating solutions for old problems such as poverty alleviation
while at the same time maintaining macro stability.
Mr. Thanong B|daya: "Manag|ng Cap|ta| F|ows for Poverty Reduct|on
and Compet|t|veness"
Mr. Bidaya first identified the need for financial sector restructuring. In his
experience as the Thai Finance Minister, while exchange rate problems
could be solved, painful measures had to be implemented. The East Asian
financial crisis had weakened financial institutions but the subsequent
financial restructuring undertaken by crisis-affected countries brought much
needed progress. However, there remain grave doubts that this progress
has been sufficient to maintain the competitiveness of regional financial
institutions in the global arena. Commercial banks, with their superior
access to skilled personnel, can more easily adapt to financial restructuring
and new business environments. However, the same cannot be said of small-
Decade of Deve|opments
and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which lack the capacity and know-
how to do basic analysis let alone what is needed to be listed on the stock
exchange. This is a fundamental problem that needs to be addressed before
financial restructuring can have significant positive effects on the economy.
Training SMEs and having SME-friendly regulations and technologies in
place is useless without the necessary knowledge base. On a larger scale,
financial restructuring should pave the way for the development of the Asian
bond market.
The second important issue was poverty reduction, and related to
that, economic competitiveness. A strong institutional framework that
would maintain competitiveness must be put in place in order to address
poverty reduction and economic competitiveness. This is one area which
can be studied by ADBI. Moreover, it is very important to relate political
intervention to economic affairs, especially given that the “invisible hand”
will not work in poor areas where there is a need to provide for and “push”
opportunities to the poor.
The third and final issue to be addressed was the need to better manage
capital flows. In the case of Thailand, while the country had more than
US$80 billion in foreign exchange reserves, it was actually a net debtor
if the offshore baht amount and the foreign holdings in the Thai equity
market on top of other foreign investments were included in its international
liabilities. In view of potential capital flow volatility, countries must learn
how to manage short-term capital flows and this management should
take place through a regional cooperative framework. Even with its
excess capital, the region is still crisis-prone. Regional groupings such as
ASEAN+3 must engage in multilateral research in this area. In addition,
some kind of insurance that will lessen the risks of volatility is needed. Asia
must bring back its capital from New York and London and use it for the
region’s projects, infrastructure, and logistical needs.
Ms. S|ow Yue Ch|a: "Chang|ng As|a: Env|ronment, Demography, and
the R|se of the Peop|e's Repub||c of Ch|na and Ind|a"
Ms. Chia discussed the issues of environmental sustainability, demographic
change, and urbanization along with the rise of India and People’s Republic
of China as the three most pressing issues that Asia has to face in the coming
decade. Climate change may not be seen as an urgent problem for a number
of countries but the consequences are irreversible and thus action must be
taken now. The regional and global impacts of climate change, she stated,
provide tremendous areas for regional cooperation among Asian countries.
vlll. Summary
Climate change affects a country’s productivity because of drought and
floods as well as presents a political “hot potato” in cases such as potential
water shortages in Southeast Asia brought about by the People’s Republic
of China’s water diversion strategies. Water, very important for agricultural
development, is not receiving enough attention at present.
The next issue was the rapid pace of demographic change and
urbanization in Asia. Impacts of aging Ms. Chia said, are already being
manifested in present-day Asia. Social protection for the graying population
is needed as well as change in the industrial structure to better integrate
labor flexibility and the necessary training and re-training of the labor force.
Furthermore, demographic change brings about issues related to migration
and the rise of mega cities. Asia should follow the example of Europe with
its small and more sustainable cities. There is also the pressing need to
manage labor flows from rural to urban areas more harmoniously so that
labor can easily move from surplus areas to shortage areas. However, this is
made more difficult due to the institutional and political constraints found in
many countries.
The last issue was the rise of People’s Republic of China and India.
Asian countries will have to adapt to the rise of these countries. There are
two opposing views on their growth: that of opportunity and that of threat.
Countries should try to maximize the opportunities brought about by the
rise of these countries and minimize the negative threats that may come
along. To face such threats, countries must undergo structural changes to
maintain their comparative advantage and competitiveness. In the end, the
two economic giants do affect the world but something must be done to help
the smaller countries that may become overwhelmed with the “tsunami”
brought about by People’s Republic of China and India’s rise.
Mr. Just|n Y|fu L|n: "Tapp|ng Loca| Capac|ty and Know|edge for
Susta|nab|e Growth"
Mr. Lin addressed three challenges that Asia would be facing within the
next three years. These are for Asia to move from: poverty reduction to
high levels of growth, growth to sustainable growth, and country focus to
regional and global focus. Asia is likely to maintain its dynamic growth
in the coming decades, he said, but many people who fail to benefit from
this growth may raise the level of social tension, thereby threatening social
stability. If this situation were to arise, growth would be impossible. Asia’s
current growth, which is resource-intensive, is not sustainable, so a new
Decade of Deve|opments
path for environmentally sustainable growth must be explored by Asia.
Environmental issues cannot be solved by one country alone.
New ideas are needed in Asia because the issues and experiences that
the region is going through are totally new. New solutions can be generated
by tapping the local capacity to do research, identify agendas, and so
on. In order to shore up local capacity, three strategies must be adopted
according to Mr. Lin. First, Asians trained domestically and internationally
must stay in their own countries in order to increase domestic intellectual
capacity. Second, trained people must be adept at identifying issues and
solutions beyond textbooks. Third, Asians must have the courage and
confidence to come up with their own solutions and not just blindly
follow the recommendations of the international community, which may
not have sufficient knowledge concerning local situations. ADBI will be
helpful as a hub in a network that generates and exchanges new ideas and
experiences and promotes policy dialogue. Asia should provide a new model
of economic development, which would bring about a new paradigm for
economic development in the intellectual world.
Finally, Mr. Lin noted that it had been argued here today that there
was a need to expand the People’s Republic of China’s consumption rate
in light of the high stock of foreign exchange reserves. While government
expenditure on social programs will expand, giving people more confidence
to spend, there is also the need to deal with the income distribution issue.
Currently, he said, wage income contributes about 40% to gross domestic
product, but this is down from 60% in the early 1990s. However, addressing
the global financial imbalance would require involvement of not just the
People’s Republic of China and Asia but other major countries as well. The
region has excess supply, while other countries like the United States have
excess demand. The deficit in trade has been increasing rapidly since 1990
because of this huge demand. This issue needs to be dealt with on a global
scale. To ask only an individual country to deal with the global issue will be
Mr. Aftab Seth: "3 E's and 3 D's for Equ|tab|e Growth and
Mr. Seth identified 3 D’s and 3 E’s necessary for Asia’s future. The D’s
stand for diaspora, demography, and democracy; the 3 E’s are education,
environment, and energy. Diaspora has made some countries lose their best
talents. This course must be reversed. The continued population growth of
countries in the next 30 or 40 years, for example in India, will put increasing
vlll. Summary
pressure on the resources of the region. Democracy in Asia must be
“balanced” by knowing “how much to control.” Countries such as Pakistan,
which take one step forward and one step backward, need to be supported in
their efforts. Indonesia is a good example of a country that has been taking
many important steps forward in recent years.
The first “E,” education, is related to the issue of diaspora. It is necessary
to find the right balance between how many people leave versus how many
stay. India is a country that has had to contend with this issue. For example,
Indians who do not get in the top seven civilian institutes of technology
are forced to go abroad for schooling. And these students who go abroad
are also intelligent, for they get into the top 40 universities of the world.
However, these brilliant students are spending close to US$8 billion to go
to school abroad. This money could have been used for further educational
opportunities at home. Countries such as Singapore spend large sums on
education to avoid shortages in capacity. The next “E,” the environment,
is a future problem for the entire region. In India, the entry of the cheap
Tata car will increase the number of vehicles on the roads, putting more
pressure on both the infrastructure and the environment. Finally, the energy
requirements of both India and People’s Republic of China alone will have a
tremendous impact on the region. A concern is how far these countries will
take the nuclear energy route. The United States and India signed a nuclear
agreement in July 2005 that will increase the use of nuclear energy by India
to a level that is comparable to Japan’s 30% in the future or even to as high
as the 80% French level. The region needs to determine whether nuclear
energy is a viable answer to the vast energy needs of the future.
Mr. H|rosh| Watanabe: "Assumpt|ons for the Next Decade"
Mr. Watanabe spoke about the workings of the resource market. Right now,
the region is awash in liquidity. There is a need to define the management,
policymaking, and implementation aspects of money and commodity
markets in the region due to the abundance of liquidity. More importantly,
this cheap capital will have an impact on the development process. First, if
capital is cheap, labor-intensive industries will be less popular compared to
the past, when labor was cheaper than capital. In the past, labor-intensive
industries were dominant in developing countries, but as additional capital
is accumulated, these industries become more capital-intensive. The rise
of capital-intensive industries will bring about changes in the allocation of
income, even in labor-abundant nations such as India and People’s Republic
of China. This means that the share of labor will become smaller and
Decade of Deve|opments
smaller and will bring about further income inequality. As labor-intensive
industries become fewer, there will be less capacity to absorb excess labor
from the agricultural sector. Japan and the Republic of Korea, in the time
of labor-intensive industries, were able to develop their manufacturing
sectors through surplus labor from the agricultural sector. However, People’s
Republic of China and India already have capital-intensive industries so
these countries will need to keep more people in the agricultural sector for
food production as well as for job opportunities. There is a need to develop
agriculture and agro-industries to ensure the prosperity of Asia. This
trend may also necessitate increased controls on excessive migration and
ADBI Dean Masah|ro Kawa|: Summary
Our distinguished panelists provided a rich set of issues that ADBI may
tackle in the future to help ADB developing member countries achieve
sustained growth, balanced development, and poverty reduction. Let
me briefly summarize the key points identified. The need to address
macroeconomic policy and financial sector issues, especially in the era of
excess liquidity, is paramount. Issues of how to strengthen and promote
investments in infrastructure, given this excess liquidity, need to be
addressed as the region continues its strong growth performance. Moreover,
managing capital flows in Asia is an important concern, as capital flows
are the primary vehicle to channel liquidity and savings in Asia into more
productive investments. This cannot be done without sound macroeconomic
management and a strong financial sector.
Good economic management and a strong institutional framework are
needed to support the development of the financial sector. This would entail
appropriate choice of an exchange rate regime, careful debt management,
and the formulation of prudent monetary and fiscal policies based on
thorough analyses of the impact of these policies on growth, inflation,
asset prices, legal and regulatory reforms, the external balance, and the
economic well being of the poor segment of the population. Financial issues
must be coordinated with real and social sector issues for the attainment of
inclusive and sustainable growth. This type of growth requires substantial
investment in education, management of urbanization, rural and agricultural
development, and dedicated resources to protect the environment. The issue
of equity in relation to labor migration and mega city externalities must
be part of any consistent policy framework. These issues are all under the
umbrella of inclusive and sustainable growth. The rise of India and People’s
vlll. Summary
Republic of China is part of the challenges that other countries, particularly
members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), must
grapple with. In order to meet challenges related to finance, volatility, and
growth, there is a need to build local capacity to generate knowledge and
formulate sound policies for economic development and growth.

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