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date: 10 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the development and differentiation of the Asian region in the twenty-first century. The discussion commences with a broad overview of those national economies in Asia that have been described as ‘the breakout nations’, drawing on the available comparative economic, environmental, and social data. It then moves on to a consideration of the nature of the complex and changing interrelations between economies in the broad region, stressing the nature of uneven development emerging. A discussion of the key development issues identified and the drivers at work follow this. Is the ‘convergence thesis’ a useful framework for understanding what is happening? In looking to the future, what might happen in the leading Asian economies, both established and emerging over the next decade and beyond? Finally, the challenges that the study of a dynamic region like Asia raises for the development of economic geography as a discipline are noted.

Keywords: Asian region, uneven development, convergence, economic geography, breakout nations, twenty-first century

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