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Rise of the Asian Economies


Units: 12


For most of the past 40 years, no region of the world has been more economically dynamic than Asia.  This economic growth transformed the patterns of world trade, lifted millions out of absolute poverty, and so captivated the attention of Western economists and business leaders that it was commonplace by the early 1990s to refer to the economic achievements of these countries as the “East Asian miracle.”

The nature of this apparent miracle changed dramatically over the course of the 1990s as the most advanced economy in the region, Japan, suffered a sharp growth slowdown, and a number of the other "miracle" economies were engulfed in a regional economic crisis in the latter half of the decade.  These events highlighted weaknesses in the East Asian growth model that had been hidden during the boom years.

Despite these economic problems, accelerating growth in the world's most populous countries, China and India, helped sustain regional progress and kept global attention focused on economic growth in Asia through the 2000s and 2010s, even though the growth and the international attention were largely concentrated in a different set of countries.  However, new worries about Chinese economic growth have emerged in recent years.  Is China's growth miracle slowing down?  How does the economic history of Asia's more advanced economies inform our view of the future economic prospects for India and China?  In what ways are China and India pursuing a different path to economic development than that taken by their predecessors?  The United States has long played an important role in Asia as an investor, customer, and key ally of important nations in the region.  How will the policies of the new Biden Administration shape these important relationships and the future evolution of the region?  We will seek to address all of these questions.

Learning Outcomes

This course is designed to provide future business leaders and policymakers with the essential knowledge necessary to evaluate economic opportunities and risks in Asia.  The course will use analytical tools drawn from several fields of economics and finance as well as guest lectures by outside experts to focus on the key strengths that sustained economic growth in Asia for decades, the weaknesses that undermined that growth in the 1990s, and what lies ahead.  Considerable attention will be paid to recent developments in India and China and the prospects for continued growth in these economies over the next decade.  The course will also focus on the sharp changes in American economic and foreign policy adopted by the Trump Administration with respect to Asia, further expected changes in U.S.-Asia policy under the Biden Administration, and the likely impact of these policies on the region and on U.S.-Asia relations.

Students should acquire from this course an understanding of the roots of Asian economic success, the current economic situation in the region, recent changes in U.S. policy and their likely impact, and scenarios for the short to medium run future.  More importantly, students will acquire a set of conceptual and analytical tools that they can use to understand the impact and significance of future developments in the region.

Prerequisites Description

There are no pre-requisites for this course.  The economics needed for the exams will be taught within the course itself.