Why are some Asian countries successful in increasing their GDP, raising their populations’ living standards, protecting the environment and establishing a high-quality democracy? Why are other countries in the same region mired in underdevelopment, with their population suffering from abject poverty, repression and environmental destruction? Is there a recipe for success, or do success and failure stand at the end of individual and highly contingent pathways, representing experiences that cannot be replicated or serve as object lessons for others? This report compares the developmental pathways of eight very different Asian economies by relating their modes of governance to developmental outcomes. The sample consists of longstanding democracies (India, Japan), young democracies (South Korea, Indonesia), one-party autocracies (China, Vietnam), and “electoral autocracies” (Malaysia, Singapore).