Population Change and Economic Development in East Asia: Challenges Met, Opportunities Seized

Population Change and Economic Development in East Asia: Challenges Met, Opportunities Seized

Population Change and Economic Development in East Asia: Challenges Met, Opportunities Seized

Population Change and Economic Development in East Asia: Challenges Met, Opportunities Seized


What role did population change play in East Asia's rapid economic development? A reliable answer to the question is important because the extraordinary economic record of East Asian countries during their high-growth era (1960-90) is central to current development policy debates. This book argues that previous studies have neglected the fundamental ways in which demographic forces have influenced economic growth and regional economic integration. Consequently, the significance of East Asia's remarkable decline in childbearing, the diminished rates of population growth, and the accompanying changes in age structure are not fully appreciated by policymakers.

The fifteen essays in this volume address two broad sets of issues. First, did rapid demographic change contribute to East Asian economic development? Specifically, what aspects of the region's development were influenced by such demographic trends as economic growth, inequality, and the economic status of women? Second, what was the role of population policy in East Asia? What policies and programs were implemented, and which of them achieved their goals? Were demographic outcomes a product only of the region's rapid economic development, or did population policies accelerate the transition to low fertility and slower population growth?

These questions are addressed through a detailed examination of the experience between 1960 and 1990 of six East Asian economies: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia. The essays compare the countries' distinctive approaches to population policies and examine the important channels through which population change has affected economic development. Among the topics covered are the impact of population on productivity and innovation; economic structure; saving, investment, and international capital flows; international labor migration; human resource development; distribution of income; and the economic status of women.


This volume is the result of a project initiated by the East-West Center. Papers were presented at three meetings held in 1997: the Conference on Population and the Asian Economic Miracle, East-West Center, Honolulu, HI, January 7–10, 1997; a Learning Forum on Demographic Momentum and Macroeconomics, the World Bank Institute and the East-West Center, Washington, DC, July 21–22, 1997; and the Policy Seminar on Asian Economic Development: Long Term Perspectives, Nihon University, East-West Center, and the World Bank Institute, Tokyo, October 20–21, 1997. A second volume, Population Policies and Programs in East Asia (Mason 2001), has been published and documents how policies contributed to demographic change in East Asia.

Many individuals, in addition to the authors, contributed to this project by participating in the conferences, by discussing papers, and by providing valuable input. I would like to acknowledge Muthiah Alagappa, Mahluddin Khan Alamgir, Sajeda Amin, Nancy Birdsall, David Bloom, Colin Bradford, Jeff Brown, Lee-Jay Cho, Minja Kim Choe, Julie DaVanzo, Angus Deaton, Phil Estermann, Jacques van der Gaag, David Horlacher, Ponciano Intal Jr., Andrew Kantner, Mitsuaki Kojima, Toshio Kuroda, Sumner LaCroix, Karen Mason, Thomas Merrick, Duck Woo Nam, Naohiro Ogawa, Mathana Phananiramai, Catherine Pierce, Lant Pritchett, Robert Retherford, Gerard Russo, Joanne Salop, T. Paul Schultz, Sara Seims, Yukiyasu Sezai, R. Paul Shaw, Young-Soo Shin, Hananto Sigit, Steven Sinding, Kenji Sumida, Krishnamurthy Sundaram, Ann Takayesu, Noreen Tanouye, Pravin Visaria, Michael Ward, Sidney Westley, John Williamson, Peter Xenos, and Sharon Yamamoto. Two individuals contributed to this effort in special ways. Sandra Ward spent endless hours copy editing these papers. Burnham O. Campbell helped to initiate this project and would have served as coeditor had it not been for his untimely death.

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