SouthEast Asian DEvelopment in the Long Term
Data for research
The SeaDelt website makes historical statistical data and other resources available for the countries of Southeast Asia. It encourages further research in development studies and economic history related to the region.
Data for a region pursuing shared interests
Southeast Asia is a region of the world with over 600 million people and 10 countries. They are working to achieve integration in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community that came into force in 2015.
Data for a long-term perspective on development
Economic and social development in ASEAN today is the outcome of a long process that was different from other regions of Asia, particularly South Asia and East Asia.
The World Bank’s 1993 Asian Miracle report suggested that East and Southeast Asian countries followed a similar path of industrialization and development. Kaname Akamatsu’s 1962 flying geese paradigm is a convenient framework for analyzing the successive waves, starting with the Newly Industrializing Economies (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore), then the ASEAN-4 countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines) and more recently China and Vietnam, followed by Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
But was this the case in the long term? Population densities were lower in Southeast Asia than in Japan. Countries had comparative advantages in primary commodity production for export. Rice was relatively abundant and affordable in the region. Ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs played an important role in business development. Underpopulation led to the arrival of millions of labour migrants from China and India in the past. These are some parameters that shaped the institutions and development paths of the economies and societies of Southeast Asia in ways different from South and East Asia.
The past is an important factor that shaped the current state of development in the countries of the region and that influences their future development opportunities.
Data on economic and social development are since the 1990s provided online by key agencies like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). These data inform our understanding of Southeast Asia today and its development during the last 25 years.
But many opportunities remain for relevant comparative research reaching back well before the 1990s. Institutions that guide today’s development in the countries of Southeast Asia were shaped over centuries. Available resources today are the result of at least 100 years of capital accumulation, and decennia of investment in human capital formation. Patters of demography and urbanisation, inequality and social mobility in Southeast Asia today are the outcomes of developments in the past.
Comparative research depends on the availability of data. Many such data exist, but they are not in the same place and online for all 10 countries in Southeast Asia that are now ASEAN members. The difficulty of finding such data is a major hurdle for further research. SeaDelt aims to overcome that impediment.
Last update on Wednesday 14 July 2021 (03:35) by Pierre van der Eng