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Book review: A Region of Regimes: Prosperity and Plunder in the Asia-Pacific, by T.J. Pempel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of East Asian Studies
Published21 Apr 2022

King's Authors


A Region of Regimes is one of the last manuscripts in the Cornell Studies in Political Economy series, which was skilfully edited by Peter Katzenstein and Roger Haydon for more than forty years. T.J. Pempel, the author, has himself been an important contributor to the series, with seminal works on East Asian political economy published on specific countries (for example, Regime Shift: Comparative Dynamics of the Japanese Political Economy, 1998) and making sense of particular events, or ‘critical junctures’, such as the East Asian Financial Crisis and the Global Financial Crisis (Two Crises: Different Outcomes: East Asia and Global Finance, 2014). He also published thematic accounts of the region’s political economy in the series, including Remapping East Asia: The Construction of a Region (2005).

In this latest book, Pempel offers a capstone of his decades of researching and writing about East Asian political economy. He develops an analytical framework for studying the region, one that is more wide-reaching in the sense that he is covering ten (very different) countries across the political, economic and security realms. He organises the region into three clusters of regime types: (1) the ‘developmental regimes’ of Japan, Korea and Taiwan, (2) the ‘ersatz developmental regimes’ (‘ersatz’ means an inferior substitute good) of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, and (3) the ‘rapacious regimes’ of the Philippines, North Korea and Myanmar.

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