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Non-institutional economic regionalization in East Asia

by Zhou, Irene Chang.

Abstract (Summary)
Econornic regionalization in East Asia has been the subject of considerable research in economics and political science. The literature on Asia Pacific economic relations has generaily focused on efforts to build intergovernmental organizations or comprehensive legd agreements. Such efforts are referred to in this thesis as institutional regionalization. Less attention has been paid to the role played by the private sector and market forces. This thesis is an attempt to fdl this gap. It addresses three major forms of what it calls non-institutional regionalization in East Asia: (1) a muiti-tier division of labor, which promotes economic regionalization along the lines of industrial production; (2) subregional economic zones, organized on the bais of production orientation and geographical proximity; and (3) Asian business networks, formed along ethnic and cultural ties. All three forms of regionalization are non-institutional in the sense that they do not involve the creation of formal institutions. The thesis concludes that economic regionalization in East Asia has been driven by the private sector. East Asian govemments are reacting to economic changes initiated by the pnvate sector. This weak institutional pattern of economic regionalization is not likely to change in the near future due to the heterogeneity of the region. In addition, East Asian counaies prefer the Asian way of regionaikation, that is, by consensus, without imposed deadlines for fkee trade or the use of discriminatory trade practices. Thus, efforts to promote institutional economic regionalization in East Asia should be gradual, patient and onented toward the long term. The following paper wodd not have been possible without support fiom many people. First and foremost I wodd Iike to thank my senior supervisor Professor Peggy Meyer and my second supervisor Professor Tsuyoshi Kawasaki, who guided me with their insightfid comments and their profound knowledge of the relevant fiterature. Their consideration and patience despite rny slow Pace of work always gave me strong mental support and confidence to f~sh this work. Fuaher, special thanks go to those at the Department of Political Science for their support during my years of study at the Department, especially Marlie Murphy for always making time to meet my needs and concerns. My family members both in Canada and China, especially my parents in Chongqing of China provided invaluable emotional and mord support from thousands of kilometers away. For aU that I am tnily grateful. Finally, I want to acknowledge the patience and support of my husband, Xank Leong. Without his encouragement and tnily sharing the joy of slow progress, 1wodd have never completed this thesis.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1998

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