NATSEM Seminar Series

Making Economic Policy in an Illiberal Era: The Southeast Asian Experience

Mon 28 October 2019Professor Hal Hill / 11am-12 noonFishbowl, Buildng 24, University of Canberra


In the current global environment of authoritarian populism, the retreat from economic liberalism and the appeal of anti-globalization movements, this paper investigates the effects on and responses of five middle-income Southeast Asian economies, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. While their political histories and institutional capabilities vary greatly, these economies have a history of at least moderately fast economic growth for extended periods, and of increasing regional and global economic integration. We argue that most of the factors behind the discontent with globalization in the rich economies are not present to the same degree in these countries, and that there has therefore been no major retreat from the economic policy settings that have underpinned their past economic success. However, there are no grounds for complacency. Economic growth is slowing in some of the countries, economic insecurity remains widespread, and the development of durable independent institutions has lagged economic growth.


Hal Hill is the H.W. Arndt Professor Emeritus of Southeast Asian Economies in the Arndt Corden Department of Economics, Crawford School, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. His main research interest is the economic development of Southeast Asia.

He is the author/editor of 18 books and about 160 journal articles and book chapters. Books since 2000 include The Indonesian Economy (Cambridge University Press), The Philippine Economy (Oxford University Press, co-edited with Arsenio Balisacan), Malaysian Development Challenges (Routledge, co-edited with Tham Siew Yean and Ragayah Haji Mat Bin), and Regional Dynamics in a Decentralized Indonesia (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies).

His current projects include the preparation of a fully revised edition of his Indonesian Economy, volume; a co-edited volume on the Philippine Economy; various aspects of Indonesian industrialization; and economic transitions in the Mekong economies.

He has held visiting academic appointments at the University of the Philippines, Gadjah Mada University, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Oxford University, Colombia University, the International University of Japan, the Tinbergen Institute, the National University of Malaysia, the Rockefeller Bellagio Center, and Freiburg University.

He serves on various boards and committees, including the Steering Committee of ADEW (, the leading development economics forum in Australia), the International Advisory Panel of ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute (, and the Council of the East Asian Economic Association (

He is a frequent lecturer on various aspects of the Southeast Asian economies, and for many years taught a course on this subject at ANU and elsewhere.

He has advised and consulted to the Australian Government, the Indonesian Government, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and various United Nations agencies.

He is a member of the editorial board of 14 academic journals, including the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Asian Pacific Economic Literature (also as book review editor), and the Asian Economic Policy Review

Since 2003 he has convened the annual H.W. Arndt Memorial Lecture at ANU.

He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia, and has been an official guest of the Republic of Indonesia under its Presidential Friends of Indonesia program. He is a frequent media contributor.

He has been gratified to receive two volumes: The Philippine Review of Economics, Volume LII No 2, December 2015, eds, Maria Socorro Gochoco-Bautista, Arsenio Balisacan and Emmanuel S. De Dios. Trade, Development, and Political Economy in East Asia, eds, Prema-chandra Athukorala, Arianto A. Patunru and Budy P. Resosudarmo, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 2014.


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