Journal of International Development Studies
Online ISSN : 2434-5296
Print ISSN : 1342-3045
Initial Conditions of Economic Development of Southeast Asia: With Particular Reference to Agricultural Production
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2016 Volume 25 Issue 1-2 Pages 139-147


The objective of this article is to examine the initial conditions of economic development of Southeast Asia, or the ten ASEAN nations. For this purpose, this article focuses on agricultural production, more specifically, the rice yield per hectare and self-sufficiency of rice in the region, in the late 1930s. The late pre-war era was chosen in consideration of the availability of comparable data. There are two major findings. First, the level of variance of rice yield in Southeast Asia (0.042) was much lower than that of Northeast Asia (0.147). In other words, Southeast Asia had more homogeneous initial conditions in terms of rice production, in comparison with the neighboring Northeast Asia. Second, the rice exporters in the region, i.e. Burma, French Indochina, and Thailand met the demand of the rice importers in the region, i.e. Dutch East Indies, British Malaya and Borneo, and the Philippines. Meanwhile, the rice importers could finance their rice import by their agricultural export. To put it another way, Southeast Asia in total was in the condition of self-sufficiency of rice. This is considered as a stable foundation of development for the regional members at the time of their beginning ‘modern economic growth.’

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© 2016 The Japan Society for International Development
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