Asia-Pacific Economies after the Global Financial Crisis: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward

Asia-Pacific Economies after the Global Financial Crisis: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Although the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 was the worst economic crisis in over 60 years for many industrial countries, most Asian and Pacific developing countries weathered it quite successfully. The resilience of the region is somewhat puzzling at first sight. In an increasingly globalized world, aren’t economic shocks supposed to be transmitted faster and farther than ever before? And shouldn’t the largest shock in decades affecting the central financial centres of the world cause substantial ripple effects? Yet, even those Asian and Pacific countries that were most exposed to drops in imports from the Western industrial countries and suffered significant drops in economic activity in 2009 recovered briskly in 2010. Furthermore, in contrast to the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998, no country in the region experienced a collapse of its banking sector or a balance of payments crisis.

The purpose of the book is to understand why countries in the region were significantly less affected by the crisis than the world’s most advanced economies of Europe and the United States, and what are the main lessons from their experience for building resilience from future crises. The majority of the essays collected in this volume are revised and updated versions of papers presented by experts from the region at a conference organized by the Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific in Manila in September 2011.

The authors of country essays were asked whether the view that the impacts of the global financial crisis were significantly less severe than those of previous crises, including the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998, is correct, and – if it is correct – which were the main sources of resilience of their economies. They were also asked what economic policies should be reinforced to respond more effectively to future crises, and what reforms at the institutional and policy-making level are the most necessary. The answers to these questions provided a rich material that makes up the content of the present book. While there are many similarities in the impacts and responses to the crises, the country essays are representative of the region’s diversity in terms of policy goals and frameworks. This diversity suggests that when it comes to discussing economic policies in the region it is not the case that “one size fits all”, which makes collections of country studies such as this a valuable contribution to observers and analysts interested in the economics of Asia and the Pacific.