Matthias Helble

About Matthias Helble

Matthias Helble is a senior economist and co-chair, Research, Asian Development Bank Institute.
Author Archive | Matthias Helble
Economics

How to achieve inclusive growth? Income inequality and health in G20 countries

How to achieve inclusive growth? Income inequality and health in G20 Countries
The G20 leader’s summit came to a close earlier this month in Istanbul, Turkey. The emphasis of Turkey’s G20 presidency this year is on “inclusive and robust global growth.” Turkey recognizes inequality as a major problem within countries as well as across national borders and stresses the need for reducing inequality in order to achieve mutual growth. In this article, I examine the relationship between income inequality and health among G20 countries. I find that as income inequality lessens, key health outcomes, such as child mortality and life expectancy, also improve substantially. This is an important finding that could provide guidance for ADB member economies in formulating their domestic policies to foster inclusive growth.

Industry and trade

TPP as inspiration for the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi?

TPP as inspiration for the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi?
At the beginning of October, 12 Pacific Rim countries agreed on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The TPP agreement has been hailed as a landmark trade pact, as it includes many issues that have so far not found their way into the rule of law in the multilateral trading system. As a reaction to the successful deal, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo announced that the TPP “will serve as an inspiration for WTO members” for the forthcoming 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. In this article, I argue that neither the process of TPP talks nor the content of the TPP agreement can provide a positive stimulus for the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations.

Economics, Finance sector development

Currency arrangements in the Pacific—time to re-think?

Currency arrangements in the Pacific—time to re-think?
The Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank are a heterogeneous group of economies with different levels of economic development and economic size. However, when it comes to choosing an optimal exchange rate, the Pacific DMCs face similar challenges. All of the Pacific economies are relatively small and have underdeveloped financial and exchange rate markets.

Industry and trade

Plurilateral trade agreements: an overlooked but powerful force for international trade opening for Asia?

Plurilateral trade agreements: an overlooked but powerful force for international trade opening for Asia?
After over a gloomy decade of inconclusive talks, a small but important step was taken in early December 2014 to finish the Doha Round negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2015 and beyond, actions to arrive at a Doha Round Agreement should be accompanied by embracing new plurilateral trade agreements within the WTO. This move can benefit growth and development in Asia. This article reviews the outlook for the WTO Doha Round and examines the case for plurilateral trade agreements for Asia.

Industry and trade

From global factory to global mall: East Asia’s changing export composition

From global factory to global mall: East Asia’s changing export composition
Over the past decades, East Asia has been the most successful region in the world in building up cross-border supply chains and has subsequently become described as “Factory Asia” (Baldwin 2008). In a form of “triangle trade”, advanced countries in East Asia exported sophisticated parts and components to less developed countries in the region, where these are assembled into final consumption goods and then shipped to rich-nation markets, especially the US and EU (Baldwin and Kawai 2013).

Economics

Improved flight connectivity could spur tourism and economic growth in the Pacific region

Improved flight connectivity could spur tourism and economic growth in the Pacific region
Tourism is one of the most promising growth sectors in the Pacific region. The number of tourist arrivals has more than doubled in the past decade, from around 600,000 in 2002 to 1.3 million ten years later. The potential for tourism in the Pacific is substantial as many islands offer unspoiled nature and scenic landscapes. However, travel to the Pacific can be inconvenient. There are only 35 direct flights from countries outside the Pacific to countries in the Pacific and the flight frequency is low. New research by ADBI shows that the number and frequency of direct flights is an important determinant on the number of tourist arrivals in the Pacific. The research also highlights that the potential of receiving large numbers of Asian tourists remains untapped. However, realizing the great potential of tourism will not only depend on better connectivity, but also on the capacity of Pacific region countries to respond to the growing demand.

Finance sector development

E-commerce in Asia brings international price arbitrage opportunities

E-commerce in Asia brings international price arbitrage opportunities
Cross-border e-commerce is booming in the Asia and Pacific region. And exchange rate fluctuations play a key role in these transactions. In their quest for the best deals, consumers in the region are taking advantage of exchange rate movements, and shop abroad whenever the exchange rate is favorable. Our research proves that short-term international price arbitrage is occurring—an important finding for monetary policy and the private sector.

Industry and trade

Back on track? The importance of the Bali Package for the WTO and global trade

Back on track? The importance of the Bali Package for the WTO and global trade
After several days of grueling negotiations the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013, adopted the Bali Package aimed at mainly streamlining global trade. However, this is only the first step toward a Doha deal and much work remains to re-formulate a post-Bali agenda, as well as reform of the WTO to restore its relevance as a key pillar of multilateral trade relations.