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ASIAN ECONOMIC HISTORY
David Mitch Economics 382
Office: Administration 821 Fall, 2000
Office Hours: Tues., Thurs., 11:30 to 12:45
and by arrangement.
Email address: Mitch@UMBC2.UMBC.EDU
(feel free to send me email messages).
ASIAN ECONOMIC HISTORY
Course Scope and Goals: The countries of Asia seem likely to be central participants in the
global economy and hence influences on your economic prospects for the foreseeable future.
This course will focus on the history of three major Asian economies: China, India, and Japan.
However, other regions of Asia will also be examined, depending in part on student interest.
Hopefully, at the end of this course you will have some understanding of:
a) the factors that have contributed to the contrasting courses of development of these three
b)the similarities and differences between how Asian economies and those of Western countries,
such as the United States, have been organized.
Course Requirements :
1) A midterm and a final examination covering the material presented in class and the in
the readings. Although the final will emphasize material covered after the midterm, it may
contain some material from the first part of the course. The midterm will count for
approximately 25 percent and the final for 35 percent of your final grade. The format of both
exams will consist of three types of questions: a) questions asking you to identify and explain the
significance of key terms and concepts in Asian Economic History b) a short essay question
asking you to summarize the basic arguments and conclusions that have been made with regard
to a specific issue in Asian Economic History and c) a longer essay question asking you to tie
together and integrate a number of topics covered in class and readings in addressing some broad
issue in Asian Economic History.
2) One paper (suggested length 5 to 10 pages) on an assigned topic related to the lectures
and readings. A list of topics will be distributed. The purpose of the paper is not to force you to
do a large amount of outside reading. Rather, I want you to use it as an opportunity to think
more deeply about some of the material covered in class and the assigned readings. The paper is
due Tuesday, Dec.12, 2000. Any late papers will be subject to a grade penalty. The paper will
count for 40 percent of your final grade in the course.
A Note on Grades: I grade on an absolute scale, not on a curve.
In grading essay questions and papers, I will use the following scale for converting from
numerical percentages to letter grades:
85-100 A 40-59 C 0-19 F
60-84 B 20-39 D
Many of the readings from the course will come from the xeroxed course packet available in the
book store. You should find it quite helpful to purchase this packet.
READINGS FROM THE COURSE PACKET WILL HAVE THE ABBREVIATION (CP)
BESIDE THEM ON THE SYLLABUS BELOW.
In addition, I have ordered the following books for purchase at the bookstore. A number of
exam questions will be based on material in these books.
Mark Borthwick, Pacific Century: The Emergence of Modern Pacific Asia (Westview Press,
Lloyd E. Eastman, Family, Fields, and Ancestors: Constancy and Change in China's Social and
Economic History, 1550-1949.(Oxford University Press, 1988).
Dietmar Rothermund, An Economic History of India from Pre-Colonial Times to 1991. Second
Edition. (Routledge, 1993).
W.J.Macpherson, The Economic Development of Japan c.1868-1941.
(Cambridge University Press, 1995).
Shigeto Tsuru, Japan's Capitalism: Creative Defeat and Beyond.
(Cambridge University Press, 1993).
Ezra F. Vogel, The Four Little Dragons. The Spread of Industrialization in East Asia. (Harvard
University Press, 1991.
Tentative Schedule and Reading Assignments :
August 31: Introduction; Why Study Economic History ?
Why Study the Asian Case ? Some basic features of the economies of Asia.
Reading: Borthwick, pp.1-11.
Sept.5 to Sept.7: The Economics of Rice Agriculture.
Suggested Reading: "The Rice Plant: Diversity and Intensification" and "Paths of Technical
Development" from Francesca Bray, The Rice Economies, Chaps.1 and 2 (U. of California
Press, 1986). (I will try to put this book on reserve in the Library).
Sept.7 to Sept.12: Trends in Population and Agriculture in China until 1949.
Reading: Eastman, Chapters 1,4, and 5.
Sept.14 to 19: The Puzzle of Chinese Stagnation.
Readings:a) (CP) "Quantitative Growth, Qualitative Standstill" from Chap. 17 of Mark
Elvin, The Pattern of theChinese Past (Stanford University Press, 1973).
b)Borthwick, pages 17-47 and 51-55.
Sept.19 to Sept. 21: Family Organization and Economic Performance in the Chinese Rural
Reading: Eastman, Chap.2.
Sept.21 to Sept.26: Trends in Commerce and Manufacturing in China until 1949.
Readings: a)Eastman, Chapters 6,7,8.
b)Borthwick, pp.89-100, 103-105, 173-190.
Sept.28: The Economy of India Prior prior to Colonial Rule.
Readings: a)Rothermund, Chapters 1 and 2.
Oct.3: The Economy of India under British Rule.
Readings: a)Rothermund, Chapters 3,4,5.
Oct. 5 to Oct.10: The Agrarian and Feudal Origins of the Modern Japanese Economy.
Readings: a)Macpherson, Economic Development of Japan, Chapters 1 and 3.
b) (CP) "Agrarian Change and Modern Japan," from Chap. 13 of Thomas
C. Smith, The Agrarian Origins of Modern Japan.
Oct.10 to Oct.17: The Economic Development of Japan prior to World War II.
Readings: a)Macpherson, Economic Development of Japan,
Chapters 2, 4 through 9.
b)Borthwick, Chap.3 (pp.119-160), pp.201-211.
Oct. 17: Review
Oct. 19: Midterm Examination
Oct.24 to Oct.26: The Japanese Miracle -- Economic Growth in Japan since 1945.
Readings: a)Macpherson, Economic Development of Japan, Chap.2.
b)Tsuru, Japan's Capitalism, Chap. 3, Chap.7, pp.181-2.
Oct.26 to Oct.31: Japanese Corporate Forms -- Zaibatsu and Keiretsu.
Readings: a)Tsuru, Japan's Capitalism, Chaps.1,2, and 7.
b) Borthwick, pp.259-261.
Oct.31 to Nov.2: The Role of Government in Promoting Growth in Japan since 1945.
Readings: a)Borthwick, pp.261-270.
b)Tsuru, Japan's Capitalism, Chap.4
c)Chalmers Johnson, MITI and The Japanese Miracle. The
Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925-1975.
Nov.7 to Nov.9: The Japanese Employment System: A Job for Life?
Reading: (CP) "Introduction" and "The Management Revision"
from Andrew Gordon, The Evolution of Labor Relations in
Japan, Heavy Industry, 1853-1955 (Harvard University Press, 1985).
Nov.14 to Nov.16: The Economic Development of India since 1945 -- Achievements and
Reading: Rothermund, Chapters 10 through 15.
Nov.21 to Nov.30: The Chinese Economy since 1949 -- Revolution and Transformation.
Readings: a)(CP) D.Gale Johnson, The People's Republic of China 1978-
b)Borthwick, pp.403-414, 421-422, 426-442, 453-455.
Nov.30 to Dec.5: The Industrialization of South Korea and Taiwan.
Readings: a)Ezra Vogel, The Four Little Dragons, Chaps.1,2,3.
b)(CP) "Economic Development in Taiwan and South Korea, 1965-1981,"
Tibor Scitovsky from Lawrence J. Lau editor, Models of Development: A
Comparative Study of Economic Growth in South Korea and Taiwan (ICS
c)Borthwick, pp.271-280, 287-317, 354.
Dec.5 to Dec.7: Hong Kong and Singapore -- from Port Cities to
Manufacturing and Financial Centers.
Readings: a)Ezra Vogel, The Four Little Dragons, Chap.4.
b)Alwyn Young, "A Tale of Two Cities: Factor Accumulation and
Technical Change in Hong Kong and Singapore" from NBER
Macroeconomics Annual, Vol.7, 1992.
c)Borthwick, pp.317-318, 357-358.
Dec.7 to Dec.12: Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and
Vietnam) -- An Overview.
Reading: Borthwick, pp.280-287,334,346-349,466-467,472-481.
Dec.12: Term Paper Due
Thursday, Dec.21, 10:30 to 12:30 , FINAL EXAMINATION.