Asian Economic Development and Integration
The COVID19 pandemic has caused the economic shocks that drive governments in the world to react decisively to support firms, workers, and households by channeling liquidity support measures, such as social assistance, government loans to SMEs, and tax cuts. From advanced countries to emerging and low-income economies, governments have invested a vast amount of fiscal stimulus into protecting their people and defending their economies from further downturns.
Furthermore, multiple lockdowns have also affected social aspects of development, such as education, food and nutrition, as well as closures of some small businesses. UNICEF (2020) noted that more than 1 billion children are at risk of falling behind due to school closures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19. Even though countries have implemented remote education programs, children in the poorer areas may not have internet access, personal computers, TVs or even radio at home, amplifying the effects of existing learning inequalities. World Bank (2021) also pointed out that more countries are facing growing levels of acute food insecurity, higher than before COVID19 pandemic. The United Nations (2020) pointed out that, shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. In terms of climate change action, the world is still far from meeting its Paris Agreement targets.
This course reviews the key factors influencing the rapid growth and development of Asian economies since the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 and how globalization and regional cooperation affect the development of countries in this region. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game-changer in this area and has fundamentally transformed many aspects, including the process of policy formulation.
The course will examine a range of development challenges that the region has faced, and the response made by various economies. It will draw on diverse country, sub-regional, and regional experiences to identify policies that seem to have contributed most significantly to growth and development, examine why they “worked,” and how they might be applied in other developing economies. It will consider current policy debates on a host of “hot” topics including poverty and social security, macroeconomic fiscal and monetary policies, infrastructure, the role of small medium enterprises (SMEs), financial sector development, industrial development, food security, and education. At the end of the course, students should understand the key drivers of Asian economic growth, development and integration in the past 50 years and be familiar with a range of development issues likely to influence future policy options in the region.