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Research Projects

FY 2012/2013 Research Topic: C-33
Latecomer's Catch-up Revisited


“Catch-up” is a term that is often used when we describe the development or industrialization of latecomers, including Asian countries. However, in quite a few cases where we closely examine their actual development processes, we find that “catch-up” reveals nothing more than a very vague image or possibly gives a mistaken understanding of the situation. In particular, “catch-up” has been becoming less effective since the 1990s. Our project will critically examine “catch-up” as an analytical concept, so that we can innovate and deepen our understanding and image of Asian economies. In this study, we will attempt to achieve the following: 1. To reconstruct “catch-up” as a more elaborate and operational concept, e.g. the issue of how to measure the degree of “catch-up” requires further debate; 2. To reconsider the explicit and implicit prerequisites of the term “catch-up”, as some conditions might be true of Japan, Korea and Taiwan, but not of Southeast Asian countries and other latecomers, while some policies that were allowed in the 1960s or the 1970s might be now prohibited; and 3. To compare the merits and demerits of “catch-up” and other development paths. In other words, we will attempt to illustrate that “catch-up” is not the only or best development strategy, and therefore some countries should follow different paths other than “catch-up.”


April 2012 - February 2013

Members of the Research Project

[ Organizer ] SATO Yukihito
[ Co-researchers ] ITO Shingo (Unit Chief, China Unit, Mizuho Research Institute, Ltd.)
MARUKAWA Tomoo (Professor, The University of Tokyo)
OIKAWA Hiroshi (Professor, Kansai University)
YOSHIOKA Hidemi (Associate Professor, Kumamoto University)