Economic Crisis and Corporate Reform in East Asia

June 05, 2000


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Corporate Governance

Economic Crises


The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 involved, among other things, a failure of regulation. Some believe this failure is endemic to global capitalism, and others believe it was profoundly local and idiosyncratic, emanating from regulatory flaws in the affected countries, stretching an arc from Thailand and Indonesia to Korea and Japan. There is also a debate about the nature of the regulation that failed. Some argue that the crisis emanated from a surfeit of nettlesome regulations and endemic industrial policy; others claim it happened for want of effective regulations and (even) industrial policy. Across the hypotenuse of these disagreements, however, stretches a universal recognition that regulatory infrastructure and institutions do matter and that they must play a major role in the way we think about economic development. After the miracle years in East Asia, "good governance" has become the Spirit of the Age.