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Economics, Education, Governance, Poverty Reduction

Why is Income Distributed Unequally? A Comparison of Japan and the United States

Why is Income Distributed Unequally? A Comparison of Japan and the United States
Japan and the United States (US) are at similar levels of economic development, yet their income distributions are considerably different. Whereas Japan has a relatively equal income distribution, the US is marked by a high level of income inequality. What are the sources of income inequality in both countries? Our latest research aims to uncover the sources on income inequality in both countries by exploiting detailed household panel survey. Read more.

Economics, Finance, Governance

Ultra-low interest rates and wandering overinvestment cycles in East Asia

Ultra-low interest rates and wandering overinvestment cycles in East Asia
In the 1960s, Kaname Akamatsu (1961) described the gradual relocation of industries from the advanced industrialized countries in East Asia to the less advanced countries during the latter’s economic catch-up process as the “flying geese” pattern. For instance, the textile industry was clustered in Japan in the 1950s but then successively relocated to the newly industrialized economies (Hong Kong, China; Taipei,China; Singapore; and the Republic of Korea), the new generation of tiger countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand), the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and now increasingly to Viet Nam. Read more.

Economics, Finance, Governance

The brief for cash

The brief for cash
Cash is an extremely useful social contrivance. Two possible drawbacks of high-denomination cash have recently been discussed by Kenneth Rogoff (2016) in his book, The Curse of Cash, and echoed by other economists. They are the extensive use of high-denomination cash by criminals and others engaged in illicit and corrupt activities, and the role that cash plays in avoiding deeply negative nominal interest rates imposed on bank accounts. Rogoff and others call for a phasing-out of high denomination cash over a long period. Read more.

Governance

E-government as a vehicle to reduce white-collar crimes

E-government as a vehicle to reduce white-collar crimes
The increasing use of the internet in recent years has caught the fancy of consumers and producers, in commodities, services, and leisure activities. The wide prevalence of wireless internet access and the portability of devices such as smartphones and tablets have increased access and diffusion of related services and products as possibly no other technology in history. Read more.

Governance

Southeast Asia’s energy subsidies are a tax on development

Southeast Asia’s energy subsidies are a tax on development
Policy reforms to resolve inefficiencies are a major yet underappreciated source of economic growth. One obvious example is the presence of large energy subsidies in the developing world, which are common among oil-rich countries such as Nigeria and Venezuela. Yet energy subsidies remain both large and seemingly firmly entrenched even in some Southeast Asian countries, where net energy exports are rapidly diminishing. Read more.

Governance

India: Defeat of the inclusive growth agenda?

India: Defeat of the inclusive growth agenda?
Elections are complex affairs and the factors that give rise to a change of government normally include the three Ps of personalities, policies, and past performance. This is certainly true of the recent election in India. The Congress Party, led by the Gandhi dynasty, lost control of the government to a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party headed by the former chief minister of Gujarat state, Narendra Modi. A key question is whether the policies of inclusion, pursued by Congress for a decade, were rejected by the electorate. Read more.

Governance

Better urban management in the Pacific offers double dividends

Better urban management in the Pacific offers double dividends
A new report by Asian Development Bank (ADB), Moving from Risk to Resilience: Sustainable Urban Development in the Pacific, argues that efforts to improve urban management in the Pacific can improve both the quality of life in the region’s cities and towns and, at the same time, build greater resilience to natural hazards and climate change-induced events. Read more.

Governance

Why is the PRC showing signs of overheating despite slowing economic growth?

Why is the PRC showing signs of overheating despite slowing economic growth?
The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) economy has shown signs of overheating despite a sharp slowdown in economic growth, suggesting that, constrained by the supply of labor, its potential growth rate might have fallen significantly from its past level. With the priorities of the PRC’s authorities shifting from raising economic growth to curbing inflation, they are expected to change their stance on macroeconomic policy, including monetary policy, from easing to tightening. As a result, the PRC economy is likely to slow in 2014. Read more.

Governance

Abenomics: Progress, prospects and how the 2020 Tokyo Olympics can help solve Japan’s debt problem

Abenomics: Progress, prospects and how the 2020 Tokyo Olympics can help solve Japan’s debt problem
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economics platform, dubbed Abenomics, is a policy package consisting of three “arrows”: aggressive monetary easing with inflation targeting; flexible fiscal policy; and growth strategy. Together, the three arrows aim to lift Japan’s economy out of chronic deflation and stagnation, putting it on a path of sustainable growth. Thanks to the first and second arrows, Japan’s economy is firmly on the pathway to recovery and ready for the third arrow, barring political will. Tokyo’s recent successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games complements the Abenomics strategy by presenting a not-to-be-missed opportunity to solve Japan’s debt sustainability problem. Read more.

Governance

Think Tank challenge: Surviving the competition

Think Tank challenge: Surviving the competition
The growth of public policy research organizations, or think tanks, over the last few decades has been nothing less than explosive. Not only have these organizations increased in number, but the scope and impact of their work have also expanded dramatically. The potential of think tanks to support and sustain responsible governments and civil societies is far from exhaustive as policymakers worldwide face a common problem of bringing expert knowledge to bear in their decision making. Read more.