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Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean, ADBI

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 include the empirics of economic development, particularly industrial development processes and poverty reduction in developing countries.

Dean Sonobe has more than 20 years’ experience analyzing the role of human capital, institutions, and management in industrial development in Asia and other regions. Notably, he and prominent agricultural and development economist, Keijiro Otsuka, applied their unique enterprise survey approach to a series of development process case studies in different industries in East Asia. They expanded the scope of their industry study to cover South Asia, Africa, and Central America and conducted randomized controlled trials of management training programs for business owners and managers.

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. He also previously served as a professor of economics 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.
13 October 2020 Surveys spotlight pandemic impacts and pathways for recovery in developing Asia - Asia's Developing Future

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.

22 July 2020 How can digitalization deliver a pandemic soft landing for Asian economies? - Asia's Developing Future

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.

25 May 2020 Behavioral insights can support the transition to a post-COVID-19 world - Asia's Developing Future

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.