Chow, Peter C.Y. Trade and Industrial Development in East Asia: Catching Up or Falling Behind.

Author:Uneke, Okori
Position:Book review
 
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Chow, Peter C.Y. Trade and Industrial Development in East Asia: Catching Up or Falling Behind. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2012. x + 397 pages. Hardcover, $185.00.

This book from economist Peter C.Y. Chow analyzes trade patterns and industrial development since the 1960s for ten East Asian countries and regions, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. While there is no agreement on East Asian models of development, most developmental economists identify trade as the engine of economic and industrial growth in the region. This rapid economic growth was initiated by post-World War II industrialization in Japan and followed in the 1960s by the first tier of the Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs): Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. These were the so-called "Asian Tigers," who adopted Japan's export-led growth model. By the 1970s, a second tier of NICs, which were also the original members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and included Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, replicated the export-promotion strategy of Japan and the "Asian Tigers." Finally, China shifted its focus to trade dependence following reforms in 1978-1979. Thus, these three groups of countries--Japan, the first tier of the NICs, and the second tier of NICs plus China -have not only experienced relatively strong economic growth, but have also become major trading countries in the world economy.

The purpose of the book is "to examine the regional division of labor and trade patterns in East Asia by reconciling conventional trade theories with notions of technological determinism" (9-10). In particular, it seeks to blend the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson model of "factor proportions theory" with the so-called "technological catching-up hypothesis" through a study of East Asian development experiences in the last half century. In effect, Chow writes, "[T]he book analyzes changing trade patterns in East Asian countries by assessing their respective comparative advantages in the world market during various stages of developments" (10). To that end, the author examines data on the trade competitiveness between the leader (Japan) and followers in the area of manufactured exports, while assessing the correlation between trade competitiveness on exports between leaders and followers and technology levels. Using per capita income as a proxy, the author shows that most...

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