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Economic Growth and Institutional Change in Indonesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries

25 februari 2002 t/m 26 februari 2002

Background and aim
The `First Conference on Indonesia's Modern Economic History, 1815-1990' was held at the Indonesian Academy of Sciences in Jakarta on 1-4 October 1991 (for proceedings see Lindblad 1993, 2000). Since then much has happened in the study of Indonesian economic history. An international conference held at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science in Amsterdam on 20-22 september 1994 focused on the historical foundations of a national economy in Indonesia (for proceedings see Lindblad 1996).
In the course of the 1990s attention gradually shifted from the identification and exploration of new, challenging research themes towards synthesis and attempts to link economic development with broader historical issues. In 1998 the first booklength survey of Indonesia's modern economic history appeared stressing the theme of `missed opportunities' in terms of economic growth and development in Indonesia (Booth 1998). The emphasis on synthesis and lessons to be learnt from economic history also characterised the international conference on `Crisis and Continuity: Indonesian Economy in the Twentieth Century' organised by the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta on 26-28 July 1999 (for proceedings see Lembaran Sejarah 2000). At this conference attention was in particular given to the nearly completed manuscript for a forthcoming international textbook on the modern economic history of Indonesia (Dick a.o. 2002). This textbook aims at a juxtaposition of three themes: globalisation, economic integration and state formation.

Two research traditions have become especially important in the study of Indonesian economic history during the past decade. One is highly quantitative culminating in reconstructions of Indonesia's national income over a long period of time, from the late nineteenth century up to today (see the pioneering study of Van der Eng 1992, also Van der Eng 2001). The other research tradition highlights the institutional framework of economic development in Indonesia, both as a colonial legacy and as it has evolved since Independence. There is a growing appreciation among scholars that these two approaches complement each other. The conference planned for 25-26 February 2002 aims at bridging the gap between these two research traditions. Key questions are as follows: To what extent can institutional changes explain variations in macro-economic time series? What can we infer from quantitative series with regard to the functioning of economic institutions? The Amsterdam conference gathers experts from Indonesia and Australia as well as from the Netherlands, including representatives of the by now completed project to reconstruct the Dutch national accounts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Programme and Contributors

Session I. National Accounts of Indonesia
Chair: Dr. J. Thomas Lindblad (University of Leiden)

Dr. Pierre van der Eng (Australian National University, Canberra):
'Indonesia’s growth experience in the 20th century: Evidence, queries, guesses' (PDF file, 100 kb.)
Discussant: Dr. Jan-Pieter Smits (University of Groningen)

Prof. Jan Luiten van Zanden (University of Utrecht/IISG):
'Economic growth in Java 1820-1940. Is it possible to reconstruct the historical national accounts of (19th century) Java?'
(PDF file, 101 kb.)
Discussant: Prof. Peter Boomgaard (University of Amsterdam/KITLV)

Session II. Institutional Change in Indonesia
Chair: Prof. Peter Boomgaard (University of Amsterdam/KITLV)

Prof. Howard Dick (University of Melbourne):
State, politics, society and institutional learning. Lessons of the 20th Century (PDF file, 69 kb.)
Discussant: Prof. Jan Luiten van Zanden (University of Utrecht/IISG)

Dr. Bambang Purwanto (Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta):
'Peasant economy and institutional change in late colonial Indonesia' (PDF file, 189 kb.)
Discussant: Dr. Freek Colombijn (University of Leiden)

Dr. Mudrajad Kuncoro (Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta):
'A quest of industrial district: An empirical study of small and cottage industries in Java'  (PDF file, 730 Kb.)
Discussant: Dr. Marcel Timmer (University of Groningen)

Session III. Trends in the Late Colonial Period
Chair: Dr. Bambang Purwanto (Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta)

Prof. Peter Boomgaard (University of Amsterdam/KITLV):
'From subsistence crises to trade cycle depressions, 1800-1940' (PDF file, 239 Kb.)
Discussant: Prof. Anne Booth (University of London)

Dr. Jeroen Touwen (University of Leiden):
'Accelerations in Java Sea trade. Foreign and domestic trade and shipping in late colonial Indonesia, 1870-1940' (PDF file, 346 Kb.)
Discussant: Dr. Mudrajad Kuncoro (Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta)

Prof. Anne Booth (University of London):
'Growth Collapses in Indonesia: A Comparison of the 1930s and the 1990s' (PDF file, 70 Kb.)
Discussant: Prof. Howard Dick (University of Melbourne)

Session IV. The Transition Period 1930-1970
Chair: Prof. Jan Luiten van Zanden (University of Utrecht/IISG)

Dr. J. Thomas Lindblad (University of Leiden):
'The importance of indonesianisasi during the transition from the 1930s to the 1960s'
(PDF file, 65 kb.) | Diagram (Excel spreadsheet, 56 kb.)

Discussant: Dr. Willem Korthals Altes

Information: Thomas Lindblad, thomaslindblad@hotmail.com or j.t.lindblad@let.leidenuniv.nl