The purpose of this paper is to emphasize that East Asia and South East Asia, despite enormous economic advances, have a deficit on rule of law, analysed as either judicial autonomy and legal integrity (rule of law I) or as voice and accountability (rule of law II).
First, a distinction is made between two key aspects of rule of law; second, these two aspects are measured by data from the World Bank Governance project, relating them to various measures on socio‐economic development and economic growth.
It is not generally true that development leads to or entails freedom, as several countries in the ASEAN +3 region display low scores on either one of the dimensions of rule of law or both.
In both research and in practice, one needs to devote more effort into understanding how rapid economic development may be possible without strong rule of law, either as legal integrity and judicial autonomy, or as voice and political accountability. In the process of globalisation, demands for more of rule of law in this region appear justifiable.
This paper provides useful information on economic development and political development, which is highly relevant for understanding the implication of economic growth in the countries in ASEAN +3.
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