East Asian Economic Development


Satya Gabriel


sgabriel at mtholyoke.edu

Office Hours:


Class Days/Time:

MW 11-12:15


Skinner 216

Faculty Web Page:

Click Here for S. J. Gabriel Home Page

Course Description

This course provides an overview of economic development in East Asia. The complex interplay of competition over public policy, global competition over variable inputs (with the notable exception of low and mid-level workers, who face high barriers to working abroad in all but a few select industries), and struggles over the structure and functioning of domestic economic relationships in China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Viet Nam will serve as the core subject matter of the course. Special attention is given to conditions under which certain national governments have successfully blended elements of import-substituting industrialization with export-oriented growth policies and generated extraordinary economic growth rates for extended time periods. These governments have faced and continue to face pressures to liberalize their economies, including weakening or abandoning the "state-centered" or "state corporatist" foundation to the national economy. A common philosophical approach to development has epitomized development strategies in all of the East Asian success stories. One aspect of this learned/shared philosophical orientation is the adoption of a modernist teleology. Technological advance is understood within this philosophy to be the catalyst for economic growth, structural transformation in a wide range of economic, political, and cultural relationships, and the seeding throughout the economy and society of modern business practices, modern buildings, modern machines, modern clothing, modern behaviors. Thus, modernism as a philosophy is manifest in material structures and machines and in cultural forms of behavior, both in workplaces and in social life, including consumption behavior. In other words, choices about investments in property, plant, equipment, and infrastructure is coupled with enculturation in new rules of human interaction, both in the workplace and beyond. Because we will focus on those East Asian countries that share cultural traits traceable to China's most recent dynasties and identified with what is often called the "Confucian way of life" then it is useful to explore the ways in which those traditional "Chinese" cultural elements have transformed modernist thinking and vice versa, providing the basis for hypotheses linking the cultural to the economic and political. Is East Asia unique and is that posited uniqueness a condition for the success of the aforementioned state-centered path of rapid development?

Course Goals and Student Learning Objectives

Required Texts/Readings


Ha-Joon Chang, The East Asian Development Experience: The Miracle, the Crisis and the Future.
Satya Gabriel, Financial Institutions and Development in China

Classroom Protocol

Students are expected to attend each and every class meeting and to arrive in class on time. Turn off cell phones and close notebook computers during the lectures. Students should be prepared to answer questions in class and responses will contribute (positively or negatively) to final grades.

Grading Policy

Course grades will be based on the total accumulation of points from three sources: weekly quizzes, class participation, and the final examination. 
Students will have at least two methods for qualifying out of taking the final examination (by earning 70 points on 7 quiz scores and/or writing an optional 15 page research paper, whose outline and thesis must be approved no later than April 1 with a first draft completed by April 15 and the final version turned in no later than the last day of final examinations.
Note that students also have the option of substituting up to two five to seven page essays on an approved thesis statement for 2 quizzes. These essays are automatically included in the 7 counted quiz scores (whether or not the grade is the equivalent of 10 out of 10 points).

In-class participation -- 10 percent of the final grade 

Weekly quizzes -- 70 percent of the final grade 

Final Examination -- 20 percent of the final grade  (some students will test out of taking the final examination based upon performance in weekly quizzes)


Sept. 9-14: Read intro and chapter 1 of Ha-Joon Chang and chapter 1 of the China text.

Sept. 16: Read chapter 2 of Ha-Joon Chang

Sept. 21-23: Read chapters 3 and 4 of Ha-Joon Chang.

Sept. 28-30: Read chapters 5 and 6 of Ha-Joon Chang.

Oct. 5-8: Read Part IV (chapters 7-9) of Ha-Joon Chang.

Oct. 12-14: October break

Oct. 19-21: Read chapters 1-2 of the China text

Oct. 26-28: Read Chapters 3-4 of the China text

Nov. 2-4: Read chapters 5-6 of the China text

Nov. 9-11: Read chapters 7-8 of the China text

Nov. 16-18 Read chapters 9-10 of the China text

Nov. 23: Review and Conclusions Session.