East Asian Economies

Educator Guide | Activity
ABC-CLIO Database: World History: The Modern Era
Time Period: A New Millennium, 1991-present
Topic: A Multipolar World: Rise of China
Skill: Analyze
Process: Compare and Contrast

Objective: In this activity, students will learn about the postwar economic booms in the East Asian economies. Then they will complete a Venn diagram and analyze the similarities and differences between the economies of Japan, China, and the "Four Asian Tigers."

Notes on Implementation:

  • To extend this activity, have students research recent economic information by reading newspapers or doing research online. As they research, have them consider: how were Asian countries affected by the 2008 recession? How are their economies functioning today? Ask them to take notes on their findings and share them in a class discussion.


Key Understandings:

  • Changes in political structure or leadership affect economic policy in ways that can be beneficial or detrimental to society

Possible Answers for Activity:

To fill out the Venn diagram, students will place the following phrases in the given areas:

Japan only:
1) Free importation of intermediate goods, closed to foreign consumer goods

China only:
1) Recovered quickly from 1997 crisis because of partially-closed market

Four Asian Tigers only:
1) Developed finance as a big part of economies

China and Four Asian Tigers:
1) Helped by Japan's rise in the 1970s and 1980s

China and Japan:
1) Selective liberalization of markets while controlling other areas

Japan and Four Asian Tigers:
1) Economies boomed the earliest
2) They suffered the most during the 1997 crisis

1) Economic growth controlled by elite
2) Economy supported by large, low-paid workforce
3) Reforms made to improve economies

When discussing the key similarities and differences between the countries and how they led to each country's growth and today's economic climate, students should note that Japan's reforms, particularly the regulations about exports and imports, created huge growth very quickly. The Four Asian Tigers had similar early and fast growth. China had much slower growth until opening up a free market, but its decision to remain partially closed helped it recover much more quickly from the crisis in 1997. While Japan and the Four Asian Tigers took longer to recover, China was able to quickly establish itself as the new economic giant in the region.

MLA Citation

"A Multipolar World: Rise of China Activity: East Asian Economies." ABC-CLIO Solutions, ABC-CLIO, 2022, educatorsupport.abc-clio.com/Support/ActivityOverview/2257302. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.