5 new books that will change the way you think about developing Asia

Published on Monday, 10 August 2015

Published by ADB Blog Team on Monday, 10 August 2015

A young girl reading a book in Nepal.
A young girl reading a book in Nepal.

The summer is here, and we’ve already started to think about our holidays. There is no better time to catch up on our ever-expanding reading list, and here are 5 recent ADB publications you may consider adding. There’s something for anyone interested in Asia or development. For those following the so-called “infrastructure wars,” Ganeshan Wignaraja’s volume on connecting South Asia and Southeast Asia will be invaluable. Jesus Felipe’s latest edition fills a needed gap in the ongoing debate on industrial policy, while Iwan Aziz and Hyun Song Shin discuss how Asia can avoid future crises through better financial regulation. We start with a new look on empowerment, public service delivery and growth in Asia.

The 2004 World Development Report from the World Bank turned the development community’s attention to the notion of accountability as a cornerstone of developing effective public services. But is accountability everything? Presenting fresh evidence on the relationship between governance and development outcomes, contributors argue that we must look beyond simple measures of accountability. The Asia-Pacific region must do better in empowering citizens to demand essential public services if it wishes to continue improving the quality of life for millions of its people. Check out this interview with the authors and a recent blog.

Countries where inequality has worsened over the past two decades collectively account for over 80% of Asia’s population. The authors systematically explore the global debate over inequality, its drivers, and its consequences through the lens of fiscal policy. The book sets forth a number of concrete options for making fiscal policy a more effective tool for more inclusive growth that benefits all Asians.

With growing complexity in the world of finance, and the resulting higher frequency of financial crises, attention has shifted toward the inadequacy of financial regulation. The authors examine what this means for Asia's financial sector and its stability. By focusing on legal and institutional frameworks, the book also elaborates on various issues and challenges in terms of how financial liberalization can maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of a crisis.

Industrial policy has the potential to unlock economic growth and to increase competitiveness, but in practice, many countries have had trouble implementing an effective industrial policy. Why? In this volume, contributors identify some of the key aspects that can make industrial policy a success – from sector selection to diversification, upgrading, and technological dynamism. This is an invaluable addition to the new body of literature on how countries can achieve high levels of growth in the 21st century.

There is increasing debate about the role of infrastructure in improving inclusive economic growth and the difficulty of funding the $8 trillion worth of infrastructure that the world's most populated and dynamic region needs. Yet there is little discussion of infrastructure's role in linking different parts of Asia. A  new joint study by experts from ADB and the ADB Institute highlights how investment in hard and soft infrastructure can deepen economic ties between South Asia and Southeast Asia. Read Mr. Wignaraja’s latest blog.

What’s on your reading list? Let us know what we should be reading by submitting a comment below, or tweet @ADB_HQ.