The Asian Economy: Trade Structure Interpreted by Feedback Loop Analysis1

Michael Sonis, Geoffrey J.D. Hewings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent discussions that focused on the problems of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT] together with the emergence of strengthened and expanded free trade areas [such as NAFTA, European Union and MERCOSUL/MERCOSUR] have created the need for careful analysis of the nature of internal annd external dependence among nations and, within any nation, among the constituent regions. The picture that is obtained from inspection of import and export flows is only one (and often the smaller) part of the nature of dependence; there is a need to consider the indirect effects and, in addition, the possible feedbacks that may accrue from expansion of links between any two countries rippling through a broader set of economies and returning to expand activity in the originating economy. However, until recently, a dearth of data precluded the type of analysis conducted here; the development of consistent intercountry input-output tables for Europe enabled the first attempt at an understanding of intercountry dependencies (see Sonis, Oosterhaven and Hewings, 1993). This paper will explore similar perspectives with a set of Asian intercountry input-output tables for 1985. In this paper, some new perspectives are advanced that provide a more comprehensive view of the interactions between the economies of Asia. The analysis focuses on the potential for uncovering alternative perspectives about the role of linkages and multipliers in input-output systems. The analysis draws on some pioneering work by Miyazawa in the identification of internal and external multiplier effects. Paths of direct and indirect dependency are revealed as well as the nature and strength of feedback loops. In addition, some potential exists for contibutions to the debate raised by Krugman (1991, 1993) on the role of regionalism versus multilater-alism. Using these methods, it is possible to provide insights into the way in which these economies are integrated, the strength of the integration and the potential consequences of action in one economy on the rest of the system. The analysis parallels some earlier work on the European economies and will provide the basis for future comparative analysis as updated tables are produced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-305
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Regional Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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