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Lessons from the East Asian NICs: A Contrarian View

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  • Alwyn Young
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    Abstract

    The unusually rapid and prolonged growth of both output and exports in the Newly Industralizing Countries of East Asia has led many economists to believe that productivity growth in these economies, particularly in their manufacturing sectors, has been extraordinarily high. This view has, in turn, led to a growing belief in the 'dynamic' (i.e. total factor productivity) gains from an outward orientation. This view fails to take into account the equally unusual rapid growth of both capital and labour input in these economies. Using the Summers & Heston and OECD data sets, this paper uses simple back of the envelope calculations to show that, as regards productivity growth in the aggregate economy and in manufacturing in particular, the East Asian NICs are not, in general, substantial outliers. The principal lessons to be drawn from the NICs are likely to be those concerning the potential gains from factor accumulation and the sectoral reallocation of resources, i.e. 'static' neoclassical gains which have fueled the dynamic growth of these economies for more than 20 years.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4482.

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    Date of creation: Oct 1993
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    Publication status: published as European Economic Review 38 (1994): 964-973.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4482

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    Cited by:
    1. Lloyd-Ellis, Huw & Bernhardt, Dan, 2000. "Enterprise, Inequality and Economic Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 147-68, January.
    2. Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis & Solimano, Andres, 1994. "Saving, investment, and growth in developing countries : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1382, The World Bank.
    3. J. David Richardson & Pamela J. Smith, 1995. "Sectoral Growth Across U.S. States: Factor Content, Linkages, and Trade," NBER Working Papers 5094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dani Rodrik, 1995. "Trade Strategy, Investment, and Exports: Another Look at East Asia," NBER Working Papers 5339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Pugno, Maurizio, 1996. "A Kaldorian model of economic growth with labour shortage and major technical changes," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 429-449, December.
    6. Alan M. Taylor, 1996. "On the Costs of Inward-Looking Development: Historical Perspectives on Price Distortions, Growth, and Divergence in Latin American from 1930s - 1980s," NBER Working Papers 5432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jun, Zhang, 2003. "Investment, investment efficiency, and economic growth in China," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 713-734, October.
    8. Alan M. Taylor, 1995. "Growth and Convergence in the Asia-Pacific Region: On the Role of Openness, Trade and Migration," NBER Working Papers 5276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kalpana Kochhar & Prakash Loungani & Mark R. Stone, 1998. "The East Asian Crisis," IMF Working Papers 98/128, International Monetary Fund.

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