The Pacific Trade and Development (PAFTAD) Conference series has been at the frontier of analysing challenges facing the economies of East Asia and the Pacific since it was first established in January 1968 in Tokyo. The theme of the twenty-seventh conference, held at the Australian National University in Canberra on 20-22 August 2001, was the 'new economy' and its implications for the region. The papers presented at the conference are gathered together in this volume.
The 'new economy' is an illusive concept. But there is general agreement that it is wreaking fundamental changes to the way in which economies operate and the efficiency with which they will operate around the world. There is less agreement on whether the new economy has permanently changed the way in which economies at its forefront, like the United States, work or how its beneficial effects can be transmitted to other economies, such as those at earlier stages of economic development in Asia. And there are questions about why some countries, like Japan, which seem to be well positioned to prosper in the age of the new economy continue to stagnate and other countries, like Australia, with a smaller industrial and information technology base, appear to have done so well. There are questions not only about how national policy regimes best capture the benefits of the new economy but also about how international and regional policy regimes can be directed more effectively towards that end. And there is the question of the 'digital divide' or whether the distribution of its benefits leave some people and some countries in some ways excluded.
A distinguished group of economists from around the region gathered in Canberra at PAFTAD 27 to discuss all these questions, from the perspective of the experience of Asia and the Pacific. The presentation and discussion of papers was followed by their revision for publication in this book in the rigorous PAFTAD tradition.
I am very grateful to all the contributors-paper writers, discussants and referees-who have collaborated so enthusiastically to bring this research to early publication. My debt to the authors of chapters in the volume is obvious. In addition, Hugh Patrick, Ross Garnaut, Yung Chul Park, Peter Petri, Frank