While the rapid economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region was receiving great attention, its political consequences were being largely ignored, except for the widespread assumption that since nearly everyone wanted growth, it must be a good thing. But was growth having a stabilizing or destabilizing effect on the governments involved? Was it driving them in more authoritarian or more democratic directions? How to explain that high growth in China was compatible with communism, in Japan, with democracy, and in the other countries of the region with a bewildering variety of authoritarian, quasi-democratic, or democratic regimes? Had growth no political bearing? Or were the dynamics of its impact too subtle to analyze? The product of the Pacific Basin Program at Columbia University's East Asian Institute, this volume addresses these key issues.