Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean, ADBI

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Tetsushi Sonobe

Dean Sonobe is the chief executive officer of the ADBI and has responsibility under the direction of the ADB President for the management of the Institute.

Tetsushi Sonobe is the Dean and CEO of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), the Tokyo-based think tank of the Asian Development Bank that promotes the realization of a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific through policy research and capacity building.

Born in 1960 in Tokyo, Dean Sonobe obtained his PhD in economics from Yale University and BA in economics from the University of Tokyo. His research interests are centered on the empirics of economic development, particularly the roles of industrial clusters, human capital, social capital, management practices, and market competition in industrial development in developing Asia and other regions.

Before joining ADBI in April 2020, Dean Sonobe served for six years as a vice president of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo and taught economics for thirty years at Tokyo Metropolitan University and GRIPS. Dean Sonobe is a recipient of the Nikkei Book Publication Prize and the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize, and a founding board member of the Japanese Association for Development Economics.

Books in English

  • Beirne, J., P. J. Morgan, and T. Sonobe, eds. 2021. COVID-19 Impacts and Policy Options: An Asian Perspective. Tokyo: Asian Development Bank Institute.
  • Sonobe, T., N. J. A. Buchoud, T. G. Tiong, S. Baek, N. S. Hendriyetty, and E. P. Sioson, eds. 2022. Creative Economy 2030: Imagining and Delivering a Robust, Creative, Inclusive, and Sustainable Recovery. Tokyo: Asian Development Bank Institute.
  • Sonobe, T., and K. Otsuka. 2006. Cluster-Based Industrial Development: An East Asian Model. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Sonobe, T., and K. Otsuka. 2011. Cluster-Based Industrial Development: A Comparative Study of Asia and Africa. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Sonobe, T., and K. Otsuka. 2014. Cluster-Based Industrial Development: KAIZEN Management for MSE Growth in Developing Countries. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Otsuka, K., K. Jin, and T. Sonobe, eds. 2018. Applying the Kaizen in Africa: A New Avenue for Industrial Development. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shiraishi, T., and T. Sonobe, eds. 2019. Emerging States and Economies: Their Origins, Drivers, and Challenges Ahead. Singapore: Springer.
  • Takagi, Y., V. Kanchoochat, and T. Sonobe, eds. 2019. Developmental State Building: The Politics of Emerging Economies. Singapore: Springer.

Books in Japanese

  • Sonobe, T., and K. Otsuka. 2004. 産業発展のルーツと戦略 [Roots and Strategies of Industrial Development: Lessons from the East Asian Experience]. Tokyo: Chisen-Shokan. Awarded the Nikkei Prize for Outstanding Book Publication.
  • Sawada, U., and T. Sonobe, eds. 2006. 市場と経済発展 [Market and Economic Development: Toward Poverty Reduction in Developing Countries]. Tokyo: Toyo-Keizai-Shimposha. Awarded the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize.
  • Sonobe, T., and M. Fujita, eds. 2010.立地と経済発展 [Location and Economic Development: Toward Poverty Reduction in Developing Countries]. Tokyo: Toyo-Keizai-Shimposha.

Journal Articles in English

  • McKenzie, D., C. Woodruff, K. Bjorvatn, M. Bruhn, J. Cai, J. Gonzalez-Uribe, S. Quinn, T. Sonobe, and M. Valdivia. 2020. Training Entrepreneurs. VoxDevLit 1(1).
  • Shimada, G., and T. Sonobe. 2021. Impacts of Management Training on Workers: Evidence from Central America and Caribbean Region. Review of Development Economicshttps://doi.org/10.1111/rode.12773
  • Mottaleb, K.A., M. Mainuddin, and T. Sonobe. 2020. COVID-19 Induced Economic Loss and Ensuring Food Security for Vulnerable Groups: Policy Implications from Bangladesh. PLoS ONE, 15(10): e0240709.
  • Trinh, Q. L., P. J. Morgan, and T. Sonobe. Investment Behavior of MSMEs During the Downturn Periods: Empirical Evidence from Vietnam. Emerging Markets Review, 100739.
  • Hamada, K., and T. Honda [now Sonobe]. 1992. Engine of the Rising Sun: Productivity Growth in Postwar Japan. Revisita di Politica Economica, 12: 397–438.
  • Ito, T., M. Itoh, and T. Sonobe. 1996. Editors’ Introduction. Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, 10: 335–338.
  • Sonobe, T., and K. Otsuka. 2001. A New Decomposition Approach to Growth Accounting: Derivation of the Formula and its Application to Prewar Japan. Japan and the World Economy, 13(1): 1–14.
  • Otsuka, K., S. Suyanto, T.P. Tomich, and T. Sonobe. 2001. Evolution of Customary Land Tenure and Development of Agroforestry: Evidence from Sumatra. Agricultural Economics, 25(1): 85–101.
  • Sonobe, T., D. Hu, and K. Otsuka. Process of Cluster Formation in China: A Case Study of a Garment Town. Journal of Development Studies, 39(1): 118–139.
  • Yamamura, E., T. Sonobe, and K. Otsuka. 2003. Human Capital, Cluster Formation, and International Relocation: The Case of the Garment Industry in Japan, 1968-98. Journal of Economic Geography, 3(1): 37–56. 
  • Sonobe, T., M. Kawakami, and K. Otsuka. 2003. Changing Roles of Innovation and Imitation in Industrial Development: The Case of the Machine Tool Industry in [Taipei,China]. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 52(1): 103–128.
  • Sonobe, T., D. Hu, and K. Otsuka. 2004. From Inferior to Superior Products: An Inquiry into the Wenzhou Model of Industrial Development in China. Journal of Comparative Economics, 32(3): 542–563.
  • Yamamura, E., T. Sonobe, and K. Otsuka. 2005. Time Paths in Innovation, Imitation, and Growth: The Case of the Motorcycle Industry in Postwar Japan. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 15(2): 164–186.
  • Sonobe, T., and K. Otsuka. The Division of Labor and the Formation of Industrial Clusters in [Taipei,China]. Review of Development Economics, 10(1): 71–86.
  • Sonobe, T., D. Hu, and K. Otsuka. 2006. Industrial Development in the Inland Region of China: A Case Study of the Motorcycle Industry. Journal of Comparative Economics, 34(4): 818–838.
  • Yaguchi, Y., T. Sonobe, and K. Otsuka. 2007. Beyond the Environmental Kuznets Curve: A Comparative Study of SO2 and CO2 Emissions between Japan and China. Environment and Development Economics, 12(3): 445–470. 
  • Sonobe, T., J. Akoten, and K. Otsuka. 2009. An Exploration into the Successful Development of the Leather-Shoe Industry in Ethiopia. Review of Development Economics, 13(4): 719–736.
  • Nam, V.H., T. Sonobe, and K. Otsuka. 2009. An Inquiry into the Transformation Process of Village-based Industrial Clusters: The Case of an Iron and Steel Cluster in Northern Vietnam. Journal of Comparative Economics, 37(4): 568–581.
  • Nam, V.H., T. Sonobe, and K. Otsuka. 2010. An Inquiry into the Development Process of Village Industry: The Case of a Knitwear Cluster in Northern Vietnam. Journal of Development Studies, 46(2): 312–330.
  • Sonobe, T., J. Akoten, and K. Otsuka. 2011. Growth Process of Informal Enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study of a Jua Kali Cluster in Nairobi. Small Business Economics, 36(3): 323–335.
  • Kimura, S., K. Otsuka, T. Sonobe, and S. Rozelle. 2011. Efficiency of Land Allocation through Tenancy Markets: Evidence from China. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 39(3): 485–510. 
  • Zhang, H., and T. Sonobe. 2011. Development of Science and Technology Parks in China, 1988-2008. Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 5(2011-6): 1–25.
  • Zhang, H., and T. Sonobe. 2011. Business Incubators in China: An Inquiry into the Variables Associated with Incubatee Success. Economics: The Open-Assessment Journal, 5(2011-7).
  • Mottaleb, K.A., and T. Sonobe. 2011. An Inquiry into the Rapid Growth of the Garment Industry in Bangladesh. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 60(1): 67–89.
  • Mano, Y., A. Iddirisu, Y. Yoshino, and T. Sonobe. How Can Micro and Small Enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa Become More productive? The Impacts of Experimental Basic Managerial Training. World Development, 40(3): 458–468.
  • Gebreeyesus, M., and T. Sonobe. 2012. Global Value Chains and Market Formation Process in Emerging Export Activity: Evidence from the Ethiopian Flower Industry. Journal of Development Studies, 48(3): 335–348. 
  • Arif, B.W., and T. Sonobe. 2012. Virtual Incubation in Industrial Clusters: A Case Study in Pakistan. Journal of Development Studies, 48(3): 377–392.
  • Mano, Y., A. Iddrisu, and T. Sonobe. 2012. Entrepreneurial Skills and Industrial Development: The Case of a Car Repair and Metalworking Cluster in Ghana. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 3(3): 302–326.
  • Mottaleb, K.A., and T. Sonobe. 2013. The Development Process of Rural Informal Industries in Developing Countries: The Case of Bangladesh. Journal of Developing Areas, 47(2): 229–249.
  • Higuchi, Y., T. Sonobe, and K. Otsuka. 2014. Differences in Management Practices and Productivity in Micro and Small Enterprises in Industrial Clusters. Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy, 5(2): 1450006.
  • Suzuki, A., V.H. Nam, and T. Sonobe. 2014. Willingness to Pay for Managerial Training: A Case from the Knitwear Industry in Northern Vietnam. Journal of Comparative Economics, 42(3): 693–707.
  • Mano, Y., J. Akoten, Y. Yoshino, and T. Sonobe. 2014. Teaching Kaizen to Small Business Owners: An Experiment in a Metalworking Cluster in Nairobi. Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, 33: 25–42.
  • Otsuka, K., and T. Sonobe. 2015. Cluster-Based MSE Development: The Role of Kaizen Training. Pakistan Development Review, 54(4): 609–626.
  • Higuchi, Y., V.H. Nam, and T. Sonobe. 2015. Sustained Impacts of Kaizen Training. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 120: 189–206. 
  • Otsuka, K., Y. Higuchi, and T. Sonobe. 2017. Middle-Income Traps in East Asia: An Inquiry into Causes for Slowdown in Income Growth. China Economic Review, 46(S): S3–S16.
  • Otsuka, K., and T. Sonobe. 2018. Role of Human Capital in Cluster-Based Industrial Development. Developing Economies, 56(2): 104–116.
  • Higuchi, Y., E.P. Mhede, and T. Sonobe. 2019. Short- and Medium-Run Impacts of Management Training: An Experiment in Tanzania. World Development, 114: 220–236.
  • Higuchi, Y., E.P. Mhede, V.H. Nam, and T. Sonobe. 2020. Medium-Run Impacts of Management Training in Garment Clusters. The World Bank Economic Review, 34(S1): S68–S71.

Journal Articles in Japanese

  • T. Sonobe. 2021. 貧困削減の進捗と開発協力の将来 [The Progress of Poverty Eradication and the Future of Development Cooperation], Kokusai Mondai, 700 (April). http://www2.jiia.or.jp/kokusaimondai_archive/2020/2021-04-005.pdf 
  • Itoh, M., and T. Honda [now Sonobe]. 1984. 研究開発と競争構造 [R & D and Competition Structure], Kikan Gendai Keizai, 58: 25–37.
  • Itoh, M., K. Kiyono, and T. Hondaa [now Sonobe]. 1986. 政策決定と民間の対応(1)――貿易政策の効果についての新しい視点 [Policy Making and Responses from the Private Sector (1): New Perspective of the Effect of Trade Policy]. Keizaigaku Ronshu, 52(3): 33–46.
  • Itoh, M., K. Kiyono, and T. Hondaa [now Sonobe]. 1987. 政策決定と民間の対応(2)――貿易政策の効果についての新しい視点 [Policy Making and Responses from the Private Sector (2): New Perspective of the Effect of Trade Policy]. Keizaigaku Ronshu, 52(4): 69–79.
  • Sonobe, T., and M. Kawakami. 2001. 台湾における経済発展と産業立地――製造業センサス・ データによる分析 [Economic Development and Industrial Location in Taipei,China: Analysis of Data from Census of Manufacture]. Ajia Keizai, 42(1): 2–19.
  • Yaguchi, Y., and T. Sonobe. 2002.日本における大気汚染対策の経済誘因:都道府県データによる分析 [Economic Incentives Shaped by Air Pollution Abatement Measures in Japan]. Nihon Keizai Kenkyu, 45: 229–245.
  • Higuchi, Y., and T. Sonobe. 2015.経営者の子どもの教育と職業選択に関する一考察—ハノイ近郊の産業集積地における中小企業の事例より— [Inquiry into Educational and Occupational Choices of Children of Business Owners: A Case Study of Small and Medium Enterprises in Industrial Clusters Near Hanoi]. Ajia Keizai, 56(1): 34–54.

Market participation profoundly impacts farmers’ livelihoods and well-being by boosting household incomes and contributing to food and nutrition security.

Accountability and transparency are fundamental principles of the G7.

The health of mothers and newborns can reveal important clues about the quality and accessibility of healthcare services.

Electric vehicles have increased through rapid efforts by governments to encourage environmentally friendly vehicles in the transportation sector.

The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) showcased significant advancements but also exposed new commitments, contradictions, contentions, and challenges.

Historically, failure to bundle multiple measures, such as climate action, finance, and justice, into agricultural policies and programs has impeded progress across several SDGs.

COP-28 aims to pave solid future pathways to address the urgency of the climate crisis as it reaches unprecedented levels.

The G7 and G20 recognize the paramount importance of innovation in steering economies toward a more sustainable future.

The unsustainable use of water resources in agriculture will have severe implications for future food and water security.

Without specific efforts to recover learning, prolonged education disruptions can lead to learning losses and disparities that affect students of all income levels.

The informal sector, which employs over 62% of the global population, is a fundamental source of livelihood for over 2 billion people (ILO 2020). Here, “employment” includes self-employment, and the informal sector refers to the part of the economy that is generally not monitored by a tax authority or other forms of government.

Food insecurity continues to be a pressing issue worldwide, despite scientific innovation and technological advancements in agriculture. Therefore, food security continues to be at the center of the global development agenda.

While the World Bank has identified Bangladesh as one of only three big economies that had increases in remittance inflows in 2020, along with Pakistan and Mexico (Ratha et al. 2020), and remittances have long made up a substantial share of people’s income in the country, preliminary results from a recent study supported by the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) finds surprising resilience for remittance inflows into the rural economy during the first wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Bangladesh.

The connection between climate change and agriculture (both crops and livestock) is complex. On the one hand, agriculture is adversely affected by climate change (Aryal et al. 2020a; Lobell et al. 2011), but on the other hand, it is also one of the major factors exacerbating climate change (Smith et al. 2008; Aryal et al. 2020b).

Global climate change caused by human activities will continue to be catastrophic for humanity. In particular, climate change is having serious impacts on the world’s water systems (United Nations 2020), and changes in these systems can have an enormous impact on people’s lives.

Income growth, urbanization, nutritional awareness, and supermarket revolutions in Asia are fueling demand for high-value agricultural products (HVPs), such as vegetables and fruits.

In this podcast, ADBI Dean Tetsushi Sonobe, Co-Chair of the T7 Task Force on Sustainable Economic Recovery, and ADBI’s John Beirne and Dina Azhgaliyeva discuss the role and future of the T7.

In this podcast, Asian Development Bank Institute Dean Tetsushi Sonobe explains how global efforts to advance quality infrastructure development could enable a more sustainable and inclusive COVID-19 recovery.

In this podcast, ADBI Dean and CEO, Tetsushi Sonobe, discusses the importance of digital development for reviving growth among the region’s developing economies, related challenges and signs of progress, and the road ahead.

The Think20, the think tank engagement group of the Group of 20, is hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2020. Under the T20, top experts have developed new evidence-based proposals to help G20 leaders navigate COVID-19 challenges and advance sustainable and inclusive global recovery.

In this episode of Asia’s Developing Future, renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University and ADBI Dean Tetsushi Sonobe discuss the policymaking calculus for advancing infrastructure growth as a sustainable and inclusive recovery driver in politically charged environments.

ADBI has been conducting extensive, multi-country surveys to gauge the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government policies on households, small enterprises, and key sectors such as farming and tourism in developing Asia and the Pacific.

Capitalizing on the accelerating digital transformation of economies in the COVID-19 era will be key to crisis recovery, according to Asian Development Bank Institute Dean Tetsushi Sonobe. In this podcast, he explains why and the policy implications for developing Asia and the Pacific.

The coronavirus has had an acute impact on world trade, global connectivity, and work environments. In this podcast, Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute, discusses the path to economic recovery, the importance of digitalization, and how the application of behavioral insights can drive resilience in a post-COVID-19 world.