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Citizen Power, Politics, and the "Asian Miracle": Reassessing the Dynamics

O. Fiona Yap
Citizen Power, Politics, and the "Asian Miracle": Reassessing the Dynamics
ISBN: 978-1-58826-344-5
2005/187 pages/LC: 2004024309

"Yap's findings are profound and reach far beyond an understanding of East Asian development.... [This] is an important book that will be useful to a wide range of scholars."—Mary Alice Haddad, Journal of East Asian Studies

"[This] is a first-rate example of useful and serious scholarship, and it is recommended enthusiastically and without reservation."—Robert L. Curry Jr., ASEAN Economic Bulletin

"An invaluable contribution, both to the literature on Asian political economy in general, and in applying robust quantitative methodology in particular."—Linda Low, Asian-Pacific Economic Literature

"A unique and innovative study.... Both theoretical and empirical, quantitative and qualitative, this book offers a wealth of important findings on policymaking in Pacific Asia."—Yi Feng, Claremont Graduate University


Departing from characterizations of Asian governments as benevolent overlords and Asian citizens as politically naive and/or docile, Fiona Yap explores the dynamic interactions between state and citizenry in the arena of economic policies.

Yap focuses on the cases of Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan to show that, with the strategic use of activities ranging from labor unrest to investment in production, citizens can push a government to accept responsibility for poor economic conditions and to adopt specific reforms. Melding some forty years of comparative empirical data with formal modeling, she demonstrates a surprising pattern of government-citizen bargaining that exists independent of democratic institutions/processes.


O. Fiona Yap is professor of economics and public policy at the University of Adelaide.


  • The Relevance of Citizen Cooperation.
  • Politics and Economics in Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia.
  • Beyond the "Asian Miracle": Testing for Economic Bargaining.
  • Cases of Motivation: Increasing Accountability and Transparency.
  • Cases of Cooperation: When and Why Citizens Invest Resources.
  • Dynamic Political Economy Through Accountability and Responsiveness.
  • Appendix: Data Collection and Operationalization.