Asia's role in twenty-first-century global economic governance



    1. Director of Research at the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
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    • The author thanks the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, Seoul, South Korea, for financial and logistic research support while he was a visiting fellow there in July 2011, and an anonymous referee of this journal for helpful suggestions in revising the article. The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of any institution.


This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 88, Issue 5, vi, Article first published online: 17 September 2012


The basic foundations of today's framework for global economic governance were laid in the years following the Second World War. Reflecting the balance of economic power at the time, Asia did not play a major role in either designing the institutional architecture or setting the agenda for global economic governance. In more recent decades the centre of gravity of the global economy has shifted towards Asia, and this trend is likely to continue in the decades to come. Asia's growing economic weight enhances its potential to play a much stronger role in shaping twenty-first-century global economic governance. Realization of that potential will, however, depend upon how successfully Asia addresses five key challenges: rebalancing sources of growth; strengthening national governance; institutionalizing regional integration; providing political leadership; and adopting the global lingua franca—English. While the Asian policy-makers' ambition to play a bigger role in global economic governance is growing, their appetite for addressing the necessary policy challenges is not necessarily keeping pace with that growing ambition. This gap between ambition and action will need to be gradually closed—only then can Asia help itself in playing a bigger role in global economic governance.