A Global Discourse in the Making: Revisiting the Productivism, Inequality and Economic Growth Nexus in Greater China and East Asia


Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Several international organizations have recently acknowledged the pro-growth effect of low inequality based on the empirical findings of cross-regional large-N quantitative studies. This paper combines key explanations in macro-economic theory and comparative social policy analysis, and selects five causal conditions to conduct a more detailed qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) for six rich economies in Greater China and East Asia. The five conditions are an economic miracle condition comprising a large manufacturing value-added share, extensive capital formation, and domestic savings; demographic dividend; globalization; income inequality; and social protection. No necessary and individually sufficient condition explains economic growth patterns (1981–2015). Instead, six different combinations of conditions that historically created pathways to economic “miracle” growth are uncovered. Among the five conditions, the demographic dividend, globalization, and inequality appear in both directions meaning they facilitated or hindered economic growth in different contexts. The economic miracle condition and productivist welfare present important INUS conditions for economic “miracle” growth. Although included in most solution terms, they did not produce a favourable outcome on their own, but only in combination with other conditions. The paper provides new insights into the historical complexities of regional welfare capitalisms. Although instrumental for the shift within the global discourse, it is a disaggregated regional focus of analysis that remains the most promising in progressing key theories within the comparative analysis of social policy development and change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2017
Event“Doing” Comparative Social Policy Analysis in Changing Global Context - Lingnan University, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
Duration: 8 Dec 20179 Dec 2017


Conference“Doing” Comparative Social Policy Analysis in Changing Global Context
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityTuen Mun
Internet address

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