Ravi Kanbur, 09 March 2018

Gunnar Myrdal’s “Asian Drama” was published 50 years ago. On the face of it, the book, framed in terms of the realities of an economically stagnant Asia, appears to have little to offer the modern development economist. This column argues, however, that the issues Myrdal raised are fundamental ones not only for development but for our discipline of economics and for the broader terrain of political economy.

Kostadis Papaioannou, Ewout Frankema, 15 June 2017

Tropical Asia has historically hosted larger and denser agricultural civilisations than tropical Africa. Using colonial-era rainfall and population data, this column explores the role of climatological conditions in the development of dense rural populations in the two regions. Rainfall shocks were both more frequent and severe in Africa than in Asia, lending support to the argument that ecological barriers to agricultural intensification were more challenging in tropical Africa than elsewhere.

Kozo Kiyota, Keita Oikawa, Katsuhiro Yoshioka, 09 October 2016

The international competitiveness of industries has received much scholarly attention, but this research has tended to focus on Europe and North America. This column examines the competitiveness of industries in six Asian countries. Global value chain income is increasing in China, India, and Indonesia. And unlike workers in EU countries, workers in the Asian countries have benefited from this increased competitiveness.

Joshua Aizenman, Yothin Jinjarak, Jungsuk Kim, Donghyun Park, 08 January 2016

Taxation in developing nations has always been difficult, but the Global Crisis has brought further complications. This column examines and compares the tax revenue trends in Asia and Latin America to shed light on some of these issues. Despite their similarities, there is no one-size-fits-all explanation for tax/GDP ratios between the two regions. While progress has been made, the gap between the advanced economies and developing countries offers ample room for improvement. This is particularly important for developing nations as they face growing demand for fiscal spending.

Yasuyuki Todo, 24 December 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was reached in October following seven years of negotiations. This column examines how Japan can maximise the TPP’s effect on its economy, identifying several additional policies that will be necessary. These include support for Japanese small and medium enterprises seeking to expand operations overseas, and policies that encourage and ease incoming foreign direct investment.

Yuko Kinoshita, Fang Guo, 31 March 2015

Japan and Korea need to encourage female labour market participation to counter acute labour shortages. This column argues that following Nordic countries’ experiences, it would be possible to achieve both high female labour force participation rate and fertility rate. However, this is only possible if supported by appropriate public and private sector policies.

Charles Yuji Horioka, Akiko Terada-Hagiwara, 25 January 2014

Corporate saving has sharply increased over the last two decades, but there has been relatively little research on its determinants. This column presents recent work that estimates Asian firms’ cash flow sensitivity of cash. The impact of cash flow on the increase in firms’ cash holdings is positive and statistically significant, and larger and more highly significant for smaller firms. Since smaller firms are more likely to be financially constrained, these results suggest that Asian firms – especially smaller ones – save more when their cash flow increases in order to finance future investments

Matthias Helble, Ganeshan Wignaraja, 13 November 2013

Intensifying negotiations leading to the December WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali have renewed optimism for concluding the beleaguered Doha Round and boosting Asia’s trade. Agreement in Bali on tariff-quota administration, trade facilitation, and food security would improve the prospects for a Doha deal and WTO credibility. Failure at Bali, however, would spur the rise of mega-regional trade agreements – to the detriment of countries outside these agreements.

Ganeshan Wignaraja, 06 April 2013

Asia’s trade-policy landscape is set to change with the start of negotiations on a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership involving ASEAN and major regional economies. This column argues that such a deal could bring economic benefits, but that realising them depends on tackling several challenges during the negotiations and afterwards.

Hal Hill, Jayant Menon, 25 July 2012

Asia’s recent doubling of its financial safety net looks impressive. But this column argues it is more icing than cake. It is, in fact, unusable – there is no fund but a series of promises; the institutional mechanisms to replace IMF-type surveillance and conditionality have not been established; and there are no rapid-response procedures to handle a fast-developing financial crisis.

Ganeshan Wignaraja, 12 June 2012

Small- and medium-sized enterprises are a crucial part of trade-led growth in Asia. This column argues that tackling key constraints at firm and country level would help unlock the full potential of these companies as players in economic growth.

Charles Yuji Horioka, Akiko Terada-Hagiwara, 28 November 2011

Emerging Asia's economies have contributed to both global imbalances and the global saving glut with current-account surpluses caused by buoyant saving and stagnant investment. This column examines the cause of these trends and argues that in Asia as a whole the situation may remain the same in the next 20 years unless governments promote financial-sector development and improvements in social safety nets, both of which will reduce the need for precautionary saving.

Ganeshan Wignaraja, 20 October 2011

South-South trade and trade agreements are booming amid the stalled Doha trade talks and a fragile world economy. In Asia alone, trade agreements have grown from only 3 to 61 between 2000 and 2010. This column examines Asia’s experience and argues that South-South trade agreements should increase their coverage of goods and services and improve consistency with global rules to fully support South-South trade.

Olaf Unteroberdoerster, Jade Vichyanond, Adil Mohommad, 12 June 2011

Persistent global imbalances are raising concerns about the sustainability of the global recovery and economic growth in general. This column argues that a proper appreciation of the influence of exchange rates and demand on global imbalances requires taking into account an important feature of Asia’s trade – cross-border supply chains or “vertical integration”.

Pradumna Rana, 20 May 2011

Macroeconomic cooperation in Asia has taken huge strides forward over the last 18 months, including the Chiang Mai Initiative and the more recent establishment of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office. But this column argues that while the road towards an Asian Monetary Fund is now shorter, we shouldn’t expect to see a new fund for at least another five years.

Muhammad Chatib Basri, 28 April 2011

The Doha Round of trade negotiations began nearly ten years ago with a focus on lowering trade barriers, particularly for the sake of developing countries. Today, the Doha Round is stuck in limbo. This column argues that both developed countries as well as developing countries stand to gain from moving the discussions forward – particularly those in the Asia Pacific region.

Peter Drysdale, 07 May 2011

Discussions on breaking the impasse between the US and China are continuing following last month’s landmark meeting of WTO members. This column – written by the intellectual father of APEC – argues that allowing Doha to languish for years is deeply dangerous. Part of an eBook posted in April, the column asserts that failure to conclude Doha this year would put a dagger at the heart of the multilateral system. With the rise of China, the decline of US trade leadership, turmoil in the Middle East, and a damaged and imbalanced global economy, the world needs multilateralism more than ever.

Stefan Gerlach, Peter Tillmann, 07 October 2010

Following the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, many of the region’s countries adopted inflation targeting. This column compares the persistence of inflation between those with inflation targeting and those without, finding that inflation persistence falls in the former. Nevertheless, the behaviour of inflation still varies across inflation-targeting economies.

Claude Barfield, Philip Levy, 28 January 2010

The future of Asian regionalism is in extreme flux, presenting President Obama with both opportunities and dangers. This column argues Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations present an opportunity to trigger a wholesale reconfiguration of Asian commercial alliances in a way that would meet important and long-held US goals.

Simon Evenett, 14 December 2009

The third report of Global Trade Alert contains the latest assessment of protectionist dynamics at work in the world economy with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

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