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Human Development in East and Southeast Asian Economies: 1990-2010


  • Minquan Liu

    () (Center for Human and Economic Development Studies, Peking University)

  • Yimeng Yin

    () (Center for Human and Economic Development Studies, Peking University)


This report reviews patterns and trends in human development (HD) in East and Southeast Asia (ESA) since 1990, analyzes causes and consequences of this development, highlighting both structural and institutional factors, and identifies the basic principles for durable enhancements in HD. The basic arguments are that most ESA economies have experienced rapid socioeconomic structural changes through industrialization and urbanization in the last two decades. From a HD perspective, these processes offer enormous room for expanding people's capabilities. However, to successfully seize such opportunities, appropriate institutions and public policies are needed, and so is public participation in policy making and implementation. Public policies are also important for equitable distribution of the expanded opportunities, which in turn contribute to the legitimacy of institutions and social cohesion. And while industrialization does often cause more environmental pollution, technological advances also offer the means to reduce such pollution, so long as appropriate environmental policies are implemented to ensure the use of such cleaner technologies. Subject to such appropriate public policies, in net terms industrialization and urbanization should expand people's capabilities and ensure sustainable HD. Six principles are critical to a successful HD strategy-agricultural and rural development to facilitate structural transformation and to increase employment; human capital accumulation to promote continued economic and income growth; inclusive urbanization to reduce dualism and enhance social integration; cleaner industrialization to ensure sustainability; people's participation and empowerment to improve decision making and governance; closer regional and international cooperation to ensure a better future for all on our fragile planet.

Suggested Citation

  • Minquan Liu & Yimeng Yin, 2010. "Human Development in East and Southeast Asian Economies: 1990-2010," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-17, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Handle: RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2010-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mitsuyo Ando & Fukunari Kimura, 2005. "The Formation of International Production and Distribution Networks in East Asia," NBER Chapters,in: International Trade in East Asia, NBER-East Asia Seminar on Economics, Volume 14, pages 177-216 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Yukon Huang & Alessandro Magnoli Bocchi, 2009. "Reshaping Economic Geography in East Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2590, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tehmina Khan & Monazza Aslam, 2013. "Mongolia : Gender Disparities in Labor Markets and Policy Suggestions," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16500, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    Human Development; Structural Factors; Public Policy; East and Southeast Asia;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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