Asian States, Asian Bankers: Central Banking in Southeast Asia

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By Natasha Hamilton-Hart

Central banks are the primary financial regulators and guardians of national money in Southeast Asia. Financial stability depends on their capacity to manage the demands of banks, politicians and financial markets. But why are some central banks unbending regulators, and others notoriously soft in their approach to rule enforcement? How do central banks manage the challenges associated with globalized financial markets? What determines the governing capacity of central banks operating in open economies?

Asian States, Asian Bankers seeks to answer these questions based on an investigation of central banking in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia that is informed by history, politics and an understanding of the way individuals respond to both formal and informal institutions. The author follows the evolution of financial governance from the nineteenth century to the present, placing the strategies of contemporary players in Southeast Asia's financial systems in a historical and institutional context. The richly detailed account that emerges of the interaction between central banks, the private bankers they regulate, and the wider state systems of which they are a part provides a new perspective on the internal features of central banks, and the relationship of these banks with the political and market structures that surround them.


"The author asks some basic questions about Southeast Asia's principal financial regulators: Why are some central banks inflexible, while others are notoriously soft? How do they respond to globalised financial markets? What determines their governing capacity in open markets? Hamilton-Hart approaches the topic with richly detailed investigations into central banks in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Her analyses are grounded in considerations of history, politics as well as individual responses to formal institutions." - E-En Ng, New Straits Times

"A major contribution to the literature on the role of central banks in developing countries, on economic development in Southeast Asia, and on globalization and the response of domestic institutions." - Richard Stubbs

Natasha HAMILTON-HART is Associate Professor in the Department of Management and International Business at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. 

Publication Year: 2003
215 pages, 234mm x 165mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-270-4, Paperback

NUS Press and Talisman Publishing