The (Japan-Born) "Flying-Geese" Theory of Economic Development Revisited--and Reformulated from a Structuralist Perspective

Ozawa, Terutomo

The Japan-born "flying-geese (FG)" theory of growth has recently gained recognition in academia and popularity in the media. Since Kaname Akamatsu introduced his ideas in a very broad fashion in the 1930s, opportunities abound for further elaboration and application to contemporary development issues. This paper reviews some of his key ideas and presents a reformulation from a new evolutionary structuralist perspective. The oft-used, yet vague, concept of "the ladder of economic development" is defined in terms of a "leading-sector" stages model, a la Schumpeter--and what comes next as a new rung is considered. The enabling mechanisms of structural upgrading are explored, and the dynamics and benefits of an FG formation of aligned countries are stressed. Also, a new stages (FG-theoretic) model of balance-of-payments is introduced to discuss the financial issues of "borrowed growth" and "global (G2) imbalances." The dynamics of structural upgrading and interactive growth via trade and investment within a hierarchy of countries is the essence of these reformulated FG models, which make up what is now increasingly shaped and recognized as "new structural economics."

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Academic Units
Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University
Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Papers, 291
Published Here
February 15, 2011