High Performing Asian Economies

Robert W. Fogel

NBER Working Paper No. 10752
Issued in September 2004
NBER Program(s):   EFG

To American and European economists in 1945, the countries of Asia were unpromising candidates for high economic growth. In 1950 even the most prosperous of these countries had a per capita income less than 25 percent of that of the United States. Between the mid-1960s and the end of the twentieth century, however, many of the countries of South and Southeast Asia experienced vigorous economic growth, some with growth rates far exceeding the previous growth rates of the industrialized countries. Forecasts that the region's population growth would outstrip its capacity to feed itself, and that its economic growth would falter, proved to be incorrect. Growth rates will probably continue at high levels in Southeast Asia for at least another generation. This forecast is based on 4 factors: the trend toward rising labor force participation rates, the shift from low to high productivity sectors, continued increases in the educational level of the labor force, and other improvements in the quality of output that are at present not accurately measured in national income accounts.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10752

Published: Dong, Xiao-Yuan, Shunfeng Song, and Xiaobo Zhang (eds.) China's Agricultural Development: Challenges and ProspectsChinese Economy Series. Aldershot, U.K. and Burlington, Vt: Ashgate, 2006.

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