Economics, Governance, Regional Cooperation

Tackling the challenge of growing inequality in Asia

Tackling the challenge of growing inequality in Asia
Income inequality is one of the most profound social, economic, and political challenges of our time. A survey conducted by Pew Research Center (2014) found that more than 60% of worldwide respondents regard the gap between the rich and the poor as a major concern. Piketty (2014) draws the unequivocal conclusion that growing inequality between the rich and the poor—between the owners of capital and the rest of society—is the normal state of affairs under capitalism, and that periods of decreasing inequality, such as during a post-war boom, are the exception, not the rule.

Economics, Finance, Information and Communications Technology

Fintech adaptation can bridge Asia’s SME financing divide

Digital innovation can improve financial access for SMEs
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role as a driving force in economies around the world, especially in Asia. SMEs in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region are estimated to comprise more than 98% of the total number of enterprises, and they contribute to around 40% of gross domestic product.

Economics, Regional Cooperation

Greater partnerships for the effective management of labor migration in Asia

Greater partnerships for the effective management of labor migration in Asia
The pace and size of labor migration have been on the rise in past decades, largely due to the different stages of economic development across Asia. Labor migration flows from Asia peaked in 2015 and dropped in the following 2 years, falling to 5.2 million in 2017, the lowest level since 2011.

Economics, Transport

A step forward in attracting private sector financing for infrastructure projects

A step forward in attracting private sector financing for infrastructure projects
Such infrastructure projects would not be effective without proper operation and maintenance, and economic activities would be unsustainable without efficient infrastructure. The transport sector is an important component of any economy, and it is a crucial input for development. This is especially so in a globalized economy, where economic opportunities are increasingly related to the efficient mobility of people, goods, and information.

Economics, Poverty Reduction

The impact of trade opening on developing Asia: Evidence and policy implications

The impact of trade opening on developing Asia: Evidence and policy implications
Even though in aggregate, trade leads to economic gains, it almost always creates winners and losers. To design appropriate social protection policies, it is important to know the identities of these winners and losers. These policies need to be in place for equity reasons as well as to build and sustain support for free trade.

Transport

High-Speed Rail: Necessary but not sufficient for socioeconomic development

High-Speed Rail: Necessary but not sufficient for socioeconomic development
Since its inception in Japan in 1964, high-speed rail (HSR), and its impact on the economy, has received attention from policymakers worldwide. Early HSR development was more of a race to go faster, and the early success led policymakers around the world to believe in the power of HSR for catalyzing growth.

Industry and Trade

Services policies and manufacturing exports

Services policies and manufacturing exports
Services and manufacturing are closely intertwined. Manufacturers use services as inputs into their production process. It is difficult to imagine a modern global value chain working without efficient transport services, financial services, logistics, and business services.

Industry and Trade

How services helped power “Factory Asia”

How services helped power “Factory Asia”
Measuring productivity in the services sector is fraught with difficulties. One key aspect of the “premature deindustrialization” argument is the hypothesis that services are low productivity relative to manufacturing, and that prospects for rapid and sustained productivity growth, which are the primary source of gains in per capita income, are greater in manufacturing than in services.

Economics, Information and Communications Technology, Trade

What can services trade policy do for sustainable development?

What can services trade policy do for sustainable development?
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has many services dimensions; improved access to and provision of services are necessary for attaining many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Because of their effects on competition in services markets and the ability of foreign providers to supply services to consumers and firms in developing countries, services trade policies should be considered in the arsenal of policy instruments that can be used in efforts to realize sustainable development objectives. 

Economics

Sectoral labor income share dynamics: Cross-country evidence from a new dataset

Sectoral labor income share dynamics: Cross-country evidence from a new dataset
The study of the labor income share plays an important role in understanding the relationship between national income and personal income. However, most of the empirical studies on the labor income share are conducted at the country level, while the limited number of industry-level analyses focus primarily on advanced countries due to limited data availability.