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A Journey Through the Secret History of the Flying Geese Model

Discussion Papers


June 2008


Economic development in East Asia is characterized by the sequential "take-off" of member countries. This multi-tiered economic development in East Asia is often termed the “Flying Geese” pattern of economic development. However, some authors argue that the traditional Flying Geese pattern is not applicable to some industries such as electronics. Here, Japan may no longer be the sole "leading goose", with "followers" such as China (now producing cutting-edge products) having "caught-up". Does this mean that the Flying Geese Model has become "obsolete" in the 21st century? The main objective of this paper is to clarify the two concepts of Flying Geese which now seem confused: (1) application of the pattern of economic development in one specific country, and (2) application of the pattern of economic development to multiple countries in sequence. This paper provides validity checks of Flying Geese Models after differentiating these two concepts more clearly.

Keywords: Flying Geese Model, East Asia
JEL classification: O10, F19, N75

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Please note that discussion papers are works in various stages of progress and most have not been edited and proofread and may contain errors of fact or judgment. Revised versions of these papers may subsequently appear in more formal publication series. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). The IDE does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included and accepts no responsibility for any consequences arising from its use.