Structural changes in East Asia : factor accumulation, technological progress and economic geography
This thesis deals with understanding the rapid industrial change in East Asia between the mid 1970s and the mid 1990s. The countries analysed are South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China. Patterns of industrial development are studied across the region in depth. We calculate industrial and regional specialisation indices to obtain an idea of the trends being witnessed. A more formal analysis of the mobility which can be observed is then conducted. Measures of mobility and persistence are obtained for the movement of industries in the region. The nature of industrial growth and decline in the region points to the possible importance of a number of theoretical explanations. We subsequently analyse whether the patterns of change in industry seen indicate similarity in paths of development across countries. We investigate the industrial structure of pairs of countries in the region over time. We find that there is similarity in the development paths of industry in East Asian countries, with factor endowment considerations not the sole explanators. We next examine possible theoretical explanations of the industrial change seen. We test for Heckscher-Ohlin and Ricardian effects in a neo-classical frame-work. We find discernible patterns and significance in terms of factor endowment effects. Technology is seen to be less important but still plays a considerable part in explaining manufacturing change. A further theoretical explanation considered is that of economic geography. We analyse various statistics for industrial change related to economic geography. We also test a specification comparing factor endowments and economic geography. The contribution of economic geography to change in the region is measured and seen to be discernible but small and declining in importance when compared to comparative advantage forces.