Abstract for: The Evolutionary Economic Geography of Regional Economic Development in Asia

The paper will review representations of regional development models in terms of their assumptions (peeled away like an onion) and in terms of their level of complexity, very much in the tradition of Peter Allen's classification system. Some applied models of regional economic development in Asia will be presented in more detail and compared to each other in terms of their ability to understand development and to gain knowledge about real world problem solutions. Understanding reality and gaining knowledge about a problem require us to reduce the real complexity of any particular situation to a simpler, more understandable system by making specific simplifying assumptions. It is shown that there exist representations that, while being sufficiently simple to be understood, remain sufficiently representative of reality and yield significant power to make a big difference to regional economic development in Asia when compared to other, less useful representations. For instance, what is important to be explained in dynamic socio-economic systems is the structural change in terms of degree of heterogeneity of agent populations in space, the modularity and hierarchy of a system, and similar aspects of composite structural existence.