Seminar: Geo-economics of the Asia Pacific; TPP, AIIB and the Trump Shock

Date and Time: 26 June 2018, 6pm-8pm

Location: Room MAL B35, Malet Street, Birkbeck College, London, WC1E 7HX, United Kingdom


In the contemporary Asia Pacific, great power rivalry has unfolded not only in security and military affairs, but also more prominently through economic interactions in the area of trade and investment. Hence, geo-economics, an admixture of the logic of conflict with the methods of commerce, (Luttwak 1990, 19), has become an important component of power politics in the region.

In the area of trade, despite President Trump’s withdrawal from the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in January 2017, the remaining 11 countries have managed to agree and sign the TPP-11 in March 2018. In the area of investment, China’s ambition through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is reshaping the region’s economic landscape. This talk with Proffessor Saori N. Katada focuses on these economic developments in the last five years and examines how these initiatives shape the regional economic order. 

Saori N. Katada is Associate Professor at School of International Relations at University of Southern California. She is a co-author of two new books: The BRICS and Collective Financial Statecraft (Oxford University Press, 2017), and Taming Japan’s Deflation: The Debate over Unconventional Monetary Policy (Cornell University Press, forthcoming November 2018). Her single-authored book Banking on Stability: Japan and the Cross-Pacific Dynamics of International Financial Crisis Management (University of Michigan Press, 2001) received Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Book Award. She has also published six edited and co-edited books and numerous articles on the subjects of trade, financial and monetary cooperation in East Asia as well as Japanese foreign aid. She is currently working on a book manuscript on Japan’s foreign economic policy and East Asian regionalism. For her research on regionalism, she was recently awarded Asia Studies Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, Japan Foundation Research Grant and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. She has her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Political Science) in 1994, and B.A. from Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo). Before joining USC, she served as a researcher at the World Bank in Washington D.C., and as International Program officer at the UNDP in Mexico City.

Tickets can be booked through eventbrite

For more information about this event please contact Dr Ali Burak Guven (

This event is jointly hosted by the Department of Politics, Birkbeck, the Centre for Political Economy and Institutional Studies, Birkbeck and UCL Centre for Comparative Studies of Emerging Economies

Report on Centre for Political Economy and Institutional Studies launch

From left to right: – Dr Luca Adriani, Dr Dermot Hodson, Prof. Ron Smith and Dr Sappho Xenakis

The need for rigorous interdisciplinary research on institutions emerged as the overarching theme of a half-day workshop on 15 June to launch Birkbeck’s new Centre for Political Economy and Institutional Studies. After a welcome from Prof. Sarah Hart (Assistant Dean, Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics) and Prof. Philip Powell (Dean of Business, Economics and Informatics and Vice-Master), Enterprise & Innovation, three distinguished guest speakers from the fields of economics, politics and criminology talked about the importance of institutions and political economy for their research.

Prof. Stephen Farrell (University of Sheffield) presented preliminary results from an ESRC funded project The Long-Term Impacts of Thatcherism. His evidence showed the scope and limits of historical institutionalism in explaining the Thatcher and Major governments’ shift towards more punitive approaches to crime.

Dr Waltraud Schelkle (London School of Economics) presented some of the key findings of her new book, The Political Economy of European Monetary Solidarity. The interplay between domestic and EU institutions rather than economic ideas, she argued, explains why the EU embraced regressive austerity policies in response to the global financial crisis.

Prof. Geoffrey Hodgson (University of Hertfordshire) argued for the importance of institutions in understanding international economic performance. Drawing on a range of examples from the economics literature, he discussed, the institutional drivers of China’s remarkable growth rates since the 1970s and the divergent growth trajectories of economies in Asia.

The audience brought together students and faculty from three Birkbeck schools with academics from other London universities and political economy practitioners.

To conclude the event, the co-directors of the Centre for Political Economy and Institutional Studies – Dr Luca Adriani (Department of Management), Dr Dermot Hodson (Department of Politics) Prof. Ron Smith (Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics), Dr Sappho Xenakis (Department of Criminology) – led a roundtable discussion about the origins and aims of the Centre and future activities and events.

This discussion covered the importance of political economy for Birkbeck’s 200th anniversary and the scope for cross-disciplinary teaching on political economy and institutions. The importance of the Centre for Birkbeck’s research environment was discussed along with the demand from government and private sector economists for a deeper understanding of institutions.

The event was sponsored by Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics and the School of Law.