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Flying Geese Model
The phase "flying geese pattern of development" was coined originally by Kaname Akamatsu in 1930s articles in Japanese, and presented to world academia after the World War II in 1961 and 1962 articles in English.

The flying geese (FG) model intends to explain the catching-up process of industrialization of latecomer economies from the following three aspects:

  1. Intra-industry aspect: product development within a particular developing country, with a single industry growing over three time-series curves, i.e., import (M), production (P), and export (E).
  2. Inter-industry aspect: sequential appearance and development of industries in a particular developing country, with industries being diversified and upgraded from consumer goods to capital goods and/or from simple to more sophisticated products.
  3. International aspect: subsequent relocation process of industries from advanced to developing countries during the latter's catching-up process.

The late Saburo Okita (1914-1993), well-known Japanese economist and a foreign minister in the 1980s, greatly contributed to introducing the FG pattern of development to the wider audiences including the political and business world. Thus, the regional transmission of FG industrialization, driven by the catching-up process through diversification/rationalization of industries, has become famous as an engine of Asian economic growth.

The Flying Geese Pattern of Development
Dr. Sabro Okita's Presentation
(the 4th Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Conference, Seoul, 1985)

The division of labor in the Pacific region has aptly been called the FG pattern of development..... Traditionally, there have been two patterns or types of international division of labor: the vertical division of labor such as prevailed in the 19th century to define relations between the industrialized country and the resource-supplying country or between the suzerain and the colony; and the horizontal division of labor typified by the EEC with its trade in manufactures among industrialized countries, often among countries at the same stage of development and sharing a common culture. By contrast with both types, the FG pattern represents a special kind of dynamism. In the Pacific region, for example the United States developed first as the lead country. Beginning in the late 19th century, Japan began to play catch-up development in the nondurable consumer goods, durable consumer goods, and capital goods sectors in that order. Now the Asian NICs and the ASEAN countries are following in Japan's footsteps...

Because there is such great variety in the Asian nations' stages of development, natural resource endowments, and cultural, religious, and historical heritages, economic integration on the EEC model is clearly out of the question. Yet it is precisely this diversity that works to facilitate the FG pattern of shared development as each is able to take advantage of its distinctiveness to develop with a supportive division of labor.

Source: Sabro Okita, "Special presentation: prospect of Pacific economies," Korea Development Institute. Pacific cooperation: issues and opportunities (pp.18-29). Report of the Fourth Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference, Seoul, Korea, April 29 -May 1, 1985, p.21.


Akamatsu, Kaname (1961): A Theory of Unbalanced Growth in the World Economy. In: Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, Hamburg, no.86, pp.196-217.

Akamatsu, Kaname (1962): A Historical Pattern of Economic Growth in Developing Countries. In: The Developing Economies, Tokyo, Preliminary Issue No.1, pp.3-25.

Kojima, Kiyoshi (2000): The 'flying geese' model of Asian economic development: origin, theoretical extensions, and regional policy implications. In Journal of Asian Economics 11, pp.375-401.

Schroeppel, Christian and Mariko Nakajima (2002): The Changing Interpretation of the Flying Geese Model of Economic Development. final version of July 2, 2002. In forthcoming , German Institute for Japanese Studies: Japanstudien, Vol. 14.

*This note was written by GRIPS Development Forum, based on Kiyoshi Kojima (2000) and Christian Schroeppel and Mariko Nakajima (2002).