Seoul Journal of Economics
[ Article ]
Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 33, No. 4, pp.505-538
ISSN: 1225-0279 (Print)
Print publication date 30 Nov 2020
Received 29 Sep 2020 Revised 29 Oct 2020 Accepted 29 Oct 2020

Which Economic Model is more Competitive? The West and the South after the Covid-19 Pandemic

Vladimir Popov
Vladimir Popov, Research Director, Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, Französische strasse 23, Berlin, 10179, Germany; Principal Researcher, Central Economics and Mathematics Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nakhimovsky prospect 47, 117418, Moscow, Russia, Tel: +49 30209677900

JEL Classification: D63, F6, O1, O17, O40, O43, P10, P17, P51


China and other East Asian countries were able to deal with the coronavirus pandemic much better than most Western countries. Both the number of infections and the mortality rate were lower than in Western countries by two orders of magnitude. Besides, economic recession associated with the pandemic is likely to be much deeper in the West than in the South. These developments give new arguments to the views that East Asian economic and social model is more viable than the Western model.

This paper argues that East Asian model is superior to the other models in the Global South at least in the catch up development and possibly even in the innovations beyond the technological frontier. The crucial features of the East Asian economic model are relatively low income and wealth inequalities, strong state institutional capacity (as measured by the murder rate and the share of shadow economy), high patriotism and trust in the government institutions. In short, the East Asian model is based on solidarity and priority of collective interests more than on guarantees of individual rights and competition.


East Asian economic model, Western economic model, State capacity, Inequalities, Growth, Catch up development, Covid pandemic


I am grateful to DOC Research Institute in Berlin ( for supporting this project.


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