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East Asia's growth: technology or accumulation?

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  • GC. Rodrigo

Abstract

Krugman, building on the work of Alwyn Young, has argued that hypergrowth in East Asia derives mostly from factor accumulation, owing little to technological change. Yet this explanation is at odds with what analysts of technological change have to say about technology acquisition in these countries. This article examines the Young-Krugman thesis and argues that the problem lies in the misconception of technological change as distinct from accumulation. The critique is taken further by means of a review of the multifaceted way that technology raises the productivity of labor. It is argued that technology is carried not as disembodied knowledge, but as techniques hard-coded in physical devices and structures, by patterns soft-coded in human and organizational capabilities and business-friendly institutions, formal and informal. These operate as symbiotic complements, not separable substitutes as assumed in conventional theory. These arguments are supplemented by perspectives introduced from the technology literature. Since the respective roles and relationship between accumulation and technology are scrutinized, the analysis provides important policy conclusions on the value of East Asian growth strategies. Copyright 2000 Western Economic Association International.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 18 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 215-227

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Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:18:y:2000:i:2:p:215-227

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Cited by:
  1. Enzo Weber, 2006. "Common and Uncommon Sources of Growth in Asia Pacific," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-064, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  2. Lall, Somik V. & Rodrigo, G. Chris, 2000. "Perspectives on the sources of heterogeneity in Indian industry," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2496, The World Bank.
  3. Chia-Hung Sun, 2005. "Productivity growth in East Asian manufacturing: a fading miracle or measurement problem?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 1-19.

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