Asian Housing Policy: Similarities
Mohammed Razali Agus, John Doling and Dong-Sung Lee
The eight countries included in the following chapters make up those which of all the Asian economies have proceeded furthest along trajectories of industrialisation and economic growth. The aim of this chapter is to provide a general context in which they can be individually and collectively located. In operational terms this sets the task as identifying some of the characteristics that provide the eight countries with common ground, that is, establishing them as members of a group. It is also to suggest not only that there is a group identity, but also that this group differs from one or more other groups that include in their membership the old, industrialised countries of the west – in North America, Australasia and western Europe.
If the first task is to establish within-group similarities and betweengroup differences, the second is to identify the extent of within-group differences with respect to the Asian countries included here. The intention is to avoid a common feature of comparative studies that include a distinct Asian model, namely the tendency to homogenise them, by recognising that each country's policy system has its own distinct trajectory (Goodman et al. 1998). The central argument in the first chapter, then, is that the eight Asian countries have similarities that both allow us to think of them as a group and distinguish them from western countries. But, the similarities in the characteristics of the eight countries are not so great that they could be considered identical; there is, in short, considerable within group variation.
Before starting to develop this argument it is appropriate to note some features of the empirical information available to us as editors as well as to the authors of the country chapters. Governments of all