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This paper investigates the effects on, and responses of, five middle-income Southeast Asian economies to the current global environment of authoritarian populism, the retreat from economic liberalism, and the appeal of anti-globalisation movements. While the political histories and institutional capabilities of the five – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – vary greatly, these economies have a history of at least moderately fast economic growth for extended periods, and of increasing regional and global economic integration.
The study argues that most of the factors behind the discontent with globalisation in the rich economies are not present to the same degree in these countries, and that there has therefore been no major retreat from the economic policy settings that have underpinned their past economic success. However, there are no grounds for complacency. Economic growth is slowing in some of the countries, economic insecurity remains widespread, and the development of durable independent institutions has lagged economic growth.
Hal Hill, H.W. Arndt Professor Emeritus of Southeast Asian Economies in the Arndt Corden Department of Economics, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU