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BPEA Article

Economic Growth in East Asia: Accumulation versus Assimilation



THE IMPRESSIVE economic performance of many Asian economies during the past three decades is now an old story. The growth of per capita GDP averaged over 4 percent in China and the major East Asian economies (Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand) between 1960 and 1994, compared with less than 2 percent in other developing economies and 2.6 percent among the industrial countries. East Asia stands out as the only region where living standards are catching up to those in industrial countries, while other parts of the developing world seem to be struggling to either tread water or fall further and further behind (see table 1).



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