Journal article Open Access

Economic Diversity of the ASEAN Countries

Louangrath, P.

This research examines economic identity of the ASEAN countries. It is proved that the ASEAN is a heterogeneous group lacking common economic identity. The method used in this research involves series of statistical tests. The data is comprised of economic data from the IMF’s World Economic Outlook 2013. Four main economic issues are used: per capita GDP from 2004 to 2013, GDP growth rates from 2004 to 2013, HDI-2013 for ASEAN member countries, and Gini coefficient. Following the Dixon and Damgaard’s approach, the Gini coefficient for the ASEAN region was calculated. The Anderson-Darling tests proved that the per capita GDP among the member countries are not normally distributed. This finding points to the lack of homogeneity within the group. Secondly, the paired means difference analysis of the per capita GDP and the GDP growth rates confirmed that there is a significant difference among the ASEAN countries. Thirdly, the HDI for 2013 shows significant difference among the ten countries (Td = 2.68). While the Gini coefficient for the individual countries ranges from 35 to 47, the Gini coefficient for the ASEAN group is about 65. The Laplace trend test for 2004 to 2013 shows that there is a significant trend narrowing the gap of the regional Gini coefficient (Zlaplace = 3.38). The Weibull regression also shows a negatively slope for ASEAN’s Gini coefficient year-by-year trend. This research confirms that the ASEAN countries do not have a common economic identity. The empirical fact would make market integration under AEC-2015 a great challenge for stakeholders.

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