Over the past several decades, Asia and the Pacific Region have produced several of the world’s largest and longest modern economic booms, starting from the Japanese economic miracle (1950–1990), Miracle on the Han River (1961–1996) in South Korea, economic boom (since 1978) in China, Tiger Cub Economies (1990–2020) in Southeast Asia, and economic boom in India (since 1991).
Asia and the Pacific Region’s economic growth has had a profound impact on the world economy and the global environment. As the world’s largest continental economy both by GDP nominal and PPP and the fastest growing economic region, Asia competes with regions in the international market for selling final products and buying raw materials and energy. Economic growth in Asia affects the industrial activity and economic well-being of other continents, while exerting significant influence on the environment locally and globally. It is important to understand the forces that drive this economic growth, as well as the regional challenges and international implications that result from such growth.
Despite the importance of Asia and the Pacific Region, there is no initiative to date in the U.S. that focuses on studying sustainable development issues in this region. UW-Madison has considerable expertise on various dimensions of the Asia economy, including agricultural development, real estate and urban planning, energy and environment, migration, industrial growth and trade. However, it has no adequate infrastructure to help facilitate cooperation among experts across departments and schools on campus and to maximize synergy. As stated in Wisconsin Idea, “education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom.” The goal of this initiative is to embody Wisconsin Idea and extend our expertise to engage a fast-growing region that is largely neglected in our intellectual endeavor.
PAPSI organizes activities around the following three areas:
- Research: The institute will help coordinate the efforts of scholars (faculty and students) across campus and will support research to understand sustainability issues in Asia and Pacific Region (past, present and future) and its impact on the world economy. Focus areas will include rural and agricultural development, city and urban planning, environmental and energy challenges, firm activities and industrial dynamics, as well as markets and regulation. Current research projects aim to understand: the impact of industrial policies; the dynamics of firm productivity and location choices; the causes, consequences, and policy choices regarding air pollution; the transportation policies and outcomes; and electricity sector restructuring.
- Workshop and Seminars: The initiative organizes workshops and seminars featuring experts on the Asia and Pacific Region’s economy from inside and outside UW-Madison. PAPSI will collaborate with other organizations (such as The Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago, the Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER), John Thornton Center at Brookings Institute, and universities in ASEAN) to hold workshops to maximize impact.
- Education: The initiative offers undergraduate and graduate students research opportunities, hosts visiting students and scholars from Asia, and offers certificate programs that educate practitioners, executives, and government officials on sustainability and economic issues in Asia.
The initiative will serve as a hub of UW-Madison’s expertise on Asia and the Pacific Region. Through education and research activities, the initiative will contribute to UW-Madison’s internationalization efforts by bringing UW-Madison to Asia and the Pacific Region and vice versa. The initiative will be recognized as the go-to-place for expertise on Asia and Pacific Region’s economy both inside and outside UW-Madison.