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A seminar by Minquan Liu from Peking University on "Human Development in East and Southeast Asian (ESA) Economies since 1990: A Review"

21 Jun 2010



Guest speaker Minquan Liu, Chair of the Department of Economics and Director of the Center for Human and Economic Development Studies at Peking University, gave a seminar at UNRISD on 16 June on the topic of his forthcoming paper, “Human Development in East and Southeast Asian (ESA) Economies since 1990: A Review”.

Liu outlined his presentation around six areas he thinks make for a successful human development strategy: agricultural and rural development; human capital formation/accumulation; inclusive urbanization to reduce dualism; cleaner industrialization; public participation and empowerment in decision making and governance; and closer regional and international cooperation. He spoke about the importance of these six areas in promoting social development, cohesion, and environmental sustainability within the processes of undertaking economic development.

Liu presented data from the last two decades highlighting startling trends in growing social inequality with respect to income and access to services in the industrialized and industrializing economies of East and Southeast Asia, further discussing potential public policy implications to counter such trends.

Countries transitioning from primary to secondary “stages” of industrialization, Liu argued, should be particularly mindful of the six areas, citing examples of social and market pressures to expand access to quality education and social protection. He also highlighted the historical importance of land reform in the case of Taiwan in providing a basis for broad based social development and economic growth, in comparison to recent trends in land consolidation and growing inequality across East and Southeast Asian cases since 1990.

The influence of the human development framework and human capital accumulation theory are strongly present in his work. However, the patterns and data he has uncovered provide a rich and interesting starting point for talking about the role and place of social policy in the present and future development of Asia.