The Economics of Rapid Growth: The Experience of Japan and Korea

Japan and South Korea are two of the most important success stories in recent economic history. Both countries have succeeded in achieving remarkably high growth rates to transform themselves from isolated agricultural societies to major industrial powers. In The Economics of Rapid Growth, Dirk Pilat uses catch-up theory to explain why countries with lower levels of income can use the technology of more advanced economies to foster growth and industrialization. His analysis emphasizes the importance of pre-existing education levels, financial and commercial institutions and infrastructure to explain the rapid economic growth of Japan and Korea. A growth accounting framework is used to show the contribution of capital, labour and land to the rapid economic growth from the early 1950s. This growth is put in an international perspective by detailed sectoral productivity comparisons which include discussion of some of the measurement problems implicit in international comparisons. The final parts of the book look at the links between productivity and competitiveness, as well as the role of trade policy and exports in productivity growth. This acclaimed book will be widely read by researchers, students and policymakers concerned with growth, development and the emergence of two of the most powerful economies in the modern world.