Scholarly Journal Articles about the Asian Tiger Economies: Authors, Journals, and Research Fields, 1986-2001





By



Trinity University
San Antonio, TX 78212


and


Trinity University
San Antonio, TX 78212










May 2002



Scholarly Journal Articles about the Asian Tiger Economies: Authors, Journals, and Research Fields, 1986-2001


I. Introduction.
The “Asian Tigers” arrival into the world economy has been extraordinary. Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand have experienced dramatic changes over the past 20 years. Their economies have fundamentally changed from traditional agriculturally based societies to rapidly growing newly industrialized nations. Their incredible rates of growth were accompanied by significant structural changes. While most of the change has been positive, from time to time these nations have been rocked by economic “growing pains.” These transformations of the South East Asian economies have attracted considerable attention in popular and scholarly publications.
This paper extends bibliometric research into an area neglected thus far: the East Asian economies. It also extends bibliometric research itself in a new direction by investigating how economics literature responds to changes in the underlying economies. There were approximately 4,200 scholarly articles written about the East Asian economies that were indexed by the Journal of Economic Literature from 1986 to 2001 and included on the CD-ROM EconLit. This paper studies the economic literature about each of the major East Asian nations individually and for all of them combined. In addition, the paper presents a Who’s Who of this literature by identifying the leading authors, journals, and research fields. Concentration of articles among journals and authors is also explored in detail. Then the literature trends about the Asian Tiger economies are contrasted with those of other emerging market economies (Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, and Poland) and a developed market economy (Italy). Finally, the study attempts to find parallels between the growth in articles and the growth of the economies.

II. Data.
The data source for this study is EconLit, the CD-ROM database of the Journal of Economic Literature. Over 200,000 articles from over 600 scholarly journals from many countries and social science disciplines appear in this source from 1986 to 2001. For each country, articles were selected on the basis of whether they contained such words as “Thai,” “Thailand”, “Malay,” and “Malaysian” in the article’s title, geographic indicator, subject descriptor, or abstract. Some 4,277 articles met these criteria. Where the record for an article indicates two or more countries, one article was counted for each country. Because 623 of the articles examined more than one of the countries, the total number of unique articles used in the study totals 3,654.

III. Trends and Cycles of Publications
It is clear that over the past 25 years economists have found a fertile ground for research in the East Asian economies. As Figure 1 shows, the annual output of articles in scholarly journals about these economies grew much faster than all articles in economics. In terms of each of these nations, the South Korean economy captured the most attention, followed by Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Country Articles Journals Authors
South Korea 1,171 306 1,254
Indonesia 732 166 714
Hong Kong 671 223 773
Singapore 613 206 678
Malaysia 591 202 682
Thailand 499 190 652

Table 1 and Figure 2 describe the growth and annual variations in the numbers of journal articles about the Tiger economies from 1986 to 2000. As stated earlier, the economies of South Korea and Indonesia garnered the largest number of articles at the beginning of the period and maintained the lead at the end. For the six economies, the number of articles ranged from 11 to 29 in 1986 and from 61 to 106 in 2000. The number of articles showed no trend for all six countries from 1986 to 1992, with small declines offset by gains. After 1992-93, the number of articles for each country followed an upward trend, with minor declines for at least one year before 2000. Because lags exist between publication and listing in the database, the figures for 2001 are clearly understated and we ignore them in our analysis of trends and cycles. It may be that the declines for some of the countries in 2000 also represent delayed reporting. However, that publications about these economies grew sharply after 1993 is unmistakable.
Relative growth rates are best seen in Figure 3 with articles for each country represented by an index number based on 100 in 1986. From 1986 to 1993, the growth rates are bunched together, after which they fan out. Hong Kong is