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What Happened to the Asian Miracle? The Asian Tigers Throughout the 1990s, Asian economies were reporting stellar rates of economic growth Per Capita income has increased by a factor of ten over the past 30 years.

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the asian tigers
The Asian Tigers
  • Throughout the 1990s, Asian economies were reporting stellar rates of economic growth
    • Per Capita income has increased by a factor of ten over the past 30 years.
    • Asian countries attracted over half of all capital inflows to developing countries
the asian tigers4
The Asian Tigers
  • Throughout the 1990s, Asian economies were reporting stellar rates of economic growth
  • Suddenly, however, in the summer of 1997, Thailand devalued the Baht followed by devaluations of the Philippine Peso, the the Malaysian Ringgit, then the Indonesian Rupiah
the asian tigers6
The Asian Tigers
  • Throughout the 1990s, Asian economies were reporting stellar rates of economic growth
  • Suddenly, however, in the summer of 1999, Thailand devalued the Baht; followed by devaluations of the Philippine peso, the the Malaysian Ringgit, then the Indonesian Rupiah
  • Following the devaluation, the region suffered a major contraction and persistently lower rates of economic growth.
why did asia collapse
Why did Asia Collapse
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been the wild man of the Asian crisis, blaming all his problems on manipulations by Jewish speculators
  • Was the Asian Crisis due to irrational speculation or were there real structural problems in Asia?
the good news
The Good News
  • On the surface, the Asian economies looked very strong
    • High rates of economic growth
    • High labor productivity growth
    • High rates if investment financed by high domestic savings
    • Low government deficits
more good news
More Good News
  • Asian Stock and Real Estate Markets were booming
however underneath the good news
However, underneath the good news……
  • Was Asian growth due to “inspiration” or “perspiration”?
however underneath the good news17
However, underneath the good news……
  • Was Asian growth due to “inspiration” or “perspiration”?
  • All the Asian countries had very high rated f labor productivity growth, where labor productivity is defined as

LP = Y/L (real output per labor hour)

  • This measure of productivity omits an important input
sources of economic growth
Sources of Economic Growth
  • Recall, that we assumed three basic inputs to production
sources of economic growth19
Sources of Economic Growth
  • Recall, that we assumed three basic inputs to production
    • Capital (K)
    • Labor (L)
    • Technology (A)
sources of economic growth20
Sources of Economic Growth
  • Recall, that we assumed three basic inputs to production
    • Capital (K)
    • Labor (L)
    • Technology (A)
  • Growth accounting attempts to separate the growth effects of each input
growth accounting22
Step 1: Estimate capital/labor share of income

K = 30%

L = 70%

Step 2: Estimate capital, labor, and output growth

%Y = 5

%K = 3

%L = 1

Growth Accounting
growth accounting23
Step 1: Estimate capital/labor share of income

K = 30%

L = 70%

Step 2: Estimate capital, labor, and output growth

%Y = 5

%K = 3

%L = 1

Productivity growth will be the residual output growth after correcting for inputs

Growth Accounting
growth accounting24
Step 1: Estimate capital/labor share of income

K = 30%

L = 70%

Step 2: Estimate capital, labor, and output growth

%Y = 5%

%K = 3%

%L = 1%

Productivity growth will be the residual output growth after correcting for inputs

%A = %Y – (.3)*(%K) – (.7)*(%L)

Growth Accounting
growth accounting25
Step 1: Estimate capital/labor share of income

K = 30%

L = 70%

Step 2: Estimate capital, labor, and output growth

%Y = 5

%K = 3

%L = 1

Productivity growth will be the residual output growth after correcting for inputs

%A = %Y – (.3)*(%K) – (.7)*(%L)

%A = 5 – (.3)*(3) + (.7)*(1)

= 3.4%

Growth Accounting
productivity growth in thailand
Productivity Growth in Thailand
  • Labor productivity growth in Thailand averaged around 15% in the 90’s, but how much of this was technological?
    • %Y = 8
    • %L = 3
    • %K = 40
productivity growth in thailand28
Productivity Growth in Thailand
  • Labor productivity growth in Thailand averaged around 15% in the 90’s, but how much of this was technological?
    • %Y = 8
    • %L = 3
    • %K = 40

%A = 8 – (.7)(3) – (.3)(40) = -6

the bad news
The Bad News
  • The growth in Thailand was attracting lots of foreign investment and was fueling an investment boom.
    • This boom was largely debt financed
  • However, without technological improvement, this growth is not sustainable.
asian financing
Asian Financing
  • While these countries did have high domestic savings rates, much of the financing came from overseas
asian financing35
Asian Financing
  • While these countries did have high domestic savings rates, much of the financing came from overseas
  • Further, a large fraction of this debt (20-70%) was short term.
asian financing moral hazard
Asian Financing: Moral Hazard
  • A further complication was that the Asian governments implicitly backed all private sector loans. This exacerbates the natural moral hazard problem already present in financial markets
the beginning of the end
The Beginning of the End
  • By the mid nineties, the profitability of Asian companies began to fall
the beginning of the end39
The Beginning of the End
  • By the mid nineties, the profitability of Asian companies began to fall
  • As profits fell, loan defaults increased
to make matters worse
To Make Matters Worse
  • Most countries were pegged to the dollar. As domestic inflation rates rose, they experienced a real appreciation against the US.
to make matters worse42
To Make Matters Worse
  • Most countries were pegged to the dollar. As domestic inflation rates rose, they experienced a real appreciation against the US.
  • As the dollar appreciated against the Yen, so did the Baht, Ringgit, etc.
to make matters worse43
To Make Matters Worse
  • Most countries were pegged to the dollar. As domestic inflation rates rose, they experienced a real appreciation against the US.
  • As the dollar appreciated against the Yen, so did the Baht, Ringgit, etc.
  • Japan slid into a recession in the early nineties.
liquidity problems
Liquidity Problems
  • With exports falling, there was insufficient cash to refinance short term borrowing
  • Further, many of these loans were dollar denominated, which put additional strain on dollar reserves (to maintain the peg)
why not float46
Why not float?
  • With many loans denominated in dollars, a currency depreciation raises the value of the loan in domestic currency.
  • Domestic interest rates would have to be raised to attract capital (interest rates would need to compensate for the currency depreciation)
is maintaining the peg better48
Is maintaining the peg better?
  • Not really…….by maintaining the peg to the dollar, the central bank must continue to buy up domestic currency which contracts the domestic money supply.
enter the imf
Enter the IMF
  • As the Asian debts piled up, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) intervened. The offered emergency loans, but with strings attached.
enter the imf50
Enter the IMF
  • As the Asian debts piled up, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) intervened. The offered emergency loans, but with strings attached.
enter the imf51
Enter the IMF
  • While the IMF did not insist that the countries maintain their pegs at all cost, they required three policies to “restore confidence”
    • Raise interest rates
    • Balance Government Budgets
    • Conduct Fundamental Reform
did the imf make things better or worse
Did the IMF make things better, or worse?
  • Those countries that were able to meet the requirements slipped further into recessions
  • Those countries that couldn’t meet the requirements suffered further “investor confidence”
malaysia opts out
Malaysia opts out
  • Malaysia, rather than accepting the IMF terms, chose to follow a different strategy
    • Malaysia imposed capital controls which restricted capital flows out of the country.
    • This allowed Malaysia the freedom to follow more expansionary policies without worrying about losing foreign capital.
  • This strategy seemed to work in that Malaysia recovered faster than other countries.
what s the moral of the story
What’s the moral of the story
  • In bad times, policies required to maintain external balance (currency value) turn out to be policies that would never have been considered in countries with a peg.
  • Typically, the better solution is:
    • Devalue, but devalue “enough”
    • Drop the peg and concentrate on economic recovery.