Handbook on the South Asian Economies

Handbook on the South Asian Economies

Elgar original reference

Edited by Anis Chowdhury and Wahiduddin Mahmud

This Handbook on the South Asian Economies (a companion to the Handbook on the Northeast and Southeast Asian Economies) is a comprehensive and unique collection of original studies on the economic and social development of countries in South Asia. The analytical narratives draw upon a wide range of extant literature in an easily accessible way, whilst highlighting the impact of socio-political factors on economic outcomes. The introductory chapter by the editors provides a comprehensive survey of the main features of South Asian economic development, especially in respect of the policy reforms since the late 1970s.

Introduction: South Asian Economic Development: Impressive Achievements but Continuing Challenges

Edited by Anis Chowdhury and Wahiduddin Mahmud

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian economics, development studies, asian development, economics and finance, asian economics, international economics

Extract

Wahiduddin Mahmud and Anis Chowdhury Setting the context South Asia comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka and is home to almost 1.5 billion people, nearly a third of them very poor, having less than US$1 (in purchasing power parity terms) a day to consume.1 Only Sri Lanka and the Maldives belong to the category of ‘low-middle’-income countries as defined by the World Bank; the rest are all low-income countries. Not least because of its large population size, South Asia has more poor people than any other region in the world. South Asia also holds the key to a significant reduction of global poverty. The region has been next only to East Asia in its economic growth performance since the beginning of the 1980s. Its average annual growth rate of real GDP at 5.6 per cent in the 1980s and 5.5 per cent during 1990–2001 exceeded that of low-income countries, at 4.5 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively, during the same periods.2 More recent growth performance in some of the economies of the region, especially India, is even more promising. The success of the Four Little Dragons (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) in East Asia is now said to be followed by that of the Two Giants – China and India – which together are now leading the ascendancy of Asia in the global stage (Radelet and Sachs, 1997). However, whether the economic fundamentals in the South Asian countries have changed...