Economic Development of East and Southeast Asia

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Kent Deng SAR 605


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in Quantitative Economic History, MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in Global Economic History (Erasmus Mundus), MSc in Global Politics and MSc in Political Economy of Late Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


There are no pre-requisites: knowledge of Asian history of the relevant period and region would be an advantage.

Course content

The course deals with conditions and paths of economic development in East Asia (excluding Japan) and Southeast Asia in the past centuries. The first part of the course looks at the debate on Asian economic history, endowments available, and institutions technology and economies that evolved independently in Asia to support a large population with reasonable standards of living. The second part of the course examines reasons for the lack of indigenous modern growth in Asia, conditions and timing of miracle growth of the Asian Tigers, ASEAN and Mainland China after World War Two, and impact of such growth of the world economy.

Topics covered include: traditional economic patterns in the region by the 17th century; the impact of the early European maritime traders; the impact of the later Europeans traders backed by industrialisation; attempts and success of the Western colonisation; resistance to the change from the core area in East Asian Mainland. Reforms and modernisation in Asia; Asia and globalisation.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

20 seminars of two-hours each in the MT and LT. Written essays are circulated in advance.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6 of each term, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Two essays (3,000 words each) are expected during the course. The first is due at the end of the 9th week (in the MT) and the second, the 17th week (in the LT).

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list and topics for seminars is distributed at the beginning of the course. Preliminary readings include: A Booth, 'The Economic Development of Southeast Asia: 1870-1985' Australian Economic History Review, 31 (1); G Snooks et al Exploring Southeast Asia's Economic Past (1991); I Brown, Economic Change in Southeast Asia (1997); Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence (2000); J M Hobson The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation (2004); P. Dicken et al., Globalisation and the Asia Pacific (1999); S. Kim, East Asia and Globalization (2000); K.T. Lee, Globalisation in the Asia Pacific Economy (2002); and Rui H and P. Nolan, Globalisation, Transition and Development in China (2004).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.

Teachers' comment

Survey questions on feedback to students may be non-informative because assessed work comes later in the term than the survey.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills