The Foundations of Rapid Economic Growth

The Case of the Four Tigers



Abstract The fast pace of economic growth of the East Asian nations known as the “Four Tigers”–South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore–has become a legend It is usually claimed that the export-oriented industrialization (EOI) strategy was the basic cause of that rapid growth However, it is contended that the growth strategy of these countries was the result of certain unique historical and geo-political factors The colonial government had created the necessary infrastructure and international linkages which set the stage for initiating the EOI strategy Furthermore, because of the political support accorded to them from foreign governments, these countries, with the exception of Hong Kong, excluded major oppositional groups from sharing political power, and thus they were able to pursue effectively growth and export-oriented policies South Korea and Taiwan also received a large amount of foreign aid from the U S This aid, and the fact the U S laid open its huge market for cheaper Asian exports without insisting on reciprocity, prepared the conditions for export-led growth in those countries