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Macroeconomic management amid ethnic diversity: Fifty years of Malaysian experience


  • Menon, Jayant


This paper examines the role that macroeconomic policy has played in the Malaysian development experience. Given the multiracial nature of Malaysian society, macroeconomic policy has not only been about economic stabilization, but also about addressing income disparities along racial lines in order to preserve social harmony. The affirmative action program under the New Economic Policy (NEP) was an important signaling device, and served to demonstrate that all should share in future growth. These selective interventions were clearly distortionary, and promoted a culture of dependence on state hand-outs, as well as rent-seeking behavior. It was perhaps fortunate that FDI inflows and rapid export expansion were available to augment the domestic resource base. Although its resource cost was not a major drag on growth in the past, the slowdown in FDI inflows and exports post-crisis, combined with demographic change, implies that reforms may be necessary to ensure sustainability, going forward.

Suggested Citation

  • Menon, Jayant, 2009. "Macroeconomic management amid ethnic diversity: Fifty years of Malaysian experience," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 25-33, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:asieco:v:20:y:2009:i:1:p:25-33

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jayant Menon, 2000. "How Open is Malaysia? An Analysis of Trade, Capital and Labour Flows," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(2), pages 235-255, February.
    2. Premachandra Athukorala & Jayant Menon, 1995. "Developing with Foreign Investment: Malaysia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 28(1), pages 9-22.
    3. Menon, Jayant, 1998. "Total factor productivity growth in foreign and domestic firms in Malaysian manufacturing," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 251-280.
    4. Sanjaya Lall, 1995. "Malaysia: Industrial success and the role of the government," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(5), pages 759-773, September.
    5. Prema-chandra Athukorala & Peter G. Warr, 2002. "Vulnerability to a Currency Crisis: Lessons from the Asian Experience," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 33-57, January.
    6. Prema-chandra Athukorala & Jayant Menon, 1999. "Outward Orientation and Economic Development in Malaysia," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(8), pages 1119-1139, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Suraya Hanim Mokhtar & Gilbert Nartea & Christopher Gan, 2012. "Determinants of microcredit loans repayment problem among microfinance borrowers in Malaysia," International Journal of Business and Social Research, MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, vol. 2(7), pages 33-45, December.
    2. Bethuel Kinyanjui Kinuthia, 2009. "Industrialization in Malaysia: Changing role of Government and Foreign Firms," DEGIT Conference Papers c014_049, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.


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