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The High Income Trap in East Asia

Talks and Forums

The High Income Trap in East Asia

Siwei Huang

After decades of impressive growth, economies such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan reached high income status nearly three decades ago. While they were able to maintain high growth during its middle income transition by relying on exports, they have begun began to exhibit signs of a post-industrial economy with domestic structural problems including an aging population, excessive welfare entitlements and over-regulated markets. Their manufacturing industries can no longer compete with countries with lower labor costs. Yet they find it difficult to promote innovation or upgrade to higher value added services in order to remain competitive and provide benefits to a wide spectrum of the society. As a result, inequality has widened and social tension is on the rise in these countries, with a perception that developing countries are to be blamed for job loss, slower growth and social problems. Issues arising from such economic problems have strengthened national identities and promoted support for protectionism, which has in turn slowed down globalization and growth. This parallels developments in Europe and the United States where economic integration appears to threaten the very identity of specific groups of people who are losers of globalization. Is globalization a driver for growth or a source of inequality between and within countries? Will high income countries continue to generate backlashes against globalization?


June 16, 2017, 2:00 PM - 3:45 PM


CPD-LG.39, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Details about ISA International Conference 2017

Download the presentation file in PDF