Over the past decade, the Philippine development story has attracted international attention as it transformed from being the “Sick Man of Asia” to “Asia’s Rising Tiger”. However, the country’s strong growth momentum was abruptly interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to cast a huge shadow over its development outlook. With the country now at the crossroads, this paper reflects on and draws lessons for economic development and policy by examining the country’s three main economic episodes over the post-independence era: (a) the period of moderately strong growth from 1946 to the late 1970s, (b) the tumultuous crisis years from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, and (c) the period from the early 1990s to the 2019 when it rejoined the dynamic East Asian mainstream. Through comparative analysis, the paper also seeks to understand the country’s development dynamics and political economy. We conclude by highlighting elements of a recovery and reform agenda in the post-pandemic era.
Key Words: Philippines, economic development, economic history, political economy, institutions, COVID-19, ASEAN, comparative analysis
JEL codes: E02, I0, N15, O10, O43, O53, P52