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Economics, Governance and public sector management, Industry and trade

Land readjustment in Japan: Beyond the myth of Japanese consensus and harmony

Land readjustment in Japan: Beyond the myth of Japanese consensus and harmony
The landscape of Misato City in Japan has changed drastically in the last 35 years. In the 1980s, Shin-Misato Station was the Mushashino marshalling yard for freight services. Most of the land near the station was used for agriculture, but once residential houses increased and more people came to settle in the area the government built a passenger train station.

Governance and public sector management, Transport

Thinking beyond the suitability of high-speed railway in India

Thinking beyond the suitability of high-speed railway in India
In India, the project to build the country’s first 500-kilometer high-speed railway (HSR) from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is underway. For comparison, all top 10 economies in the world except the United States have constructed several HSR lines in the past 30 years. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) alone has built nearly 28,000 kilometers of HSR in the past 20 years. Nevertheless, opinion makers in India are expressing contradicting views, questioning whether it is suitable for the country to develop expensive infrastructure such as HSR.

Governance and public sector management, Transport, Urban development

Don’t be derailed by rights-of-way

Don't be derailed by rights-of-way
The disappointing scale-back of California’s showcase high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Anaheim has many experts asking what lessons can be learned. Similar pushbacks have occurred on other continents: witness the popular resistance to construction of a new superstation as part of Stuttgart’s urban renewal, which escalated into violent demonstrations, delays, and stalemates.

Economics, Governance and public sector management

Bridging the digital tax divide in Asia

Bridging the digital tax divide in Asia
Digitalization has transformed the global economy and had significant impacts on Asia and the Pacific, home to some of the world’s biggest and most advanced e-commerce markets, such as the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and the Republic of Korea (Asian Development Bank and United Nations ESCAP 2018).

Finance sector development, Governance and public sector management, Information and Communications Technology

Will Facebook’s Libra scramble the regulatory calculus for crypto assets?

Will Facebook’s Libra scramble the regulatory calculus for crypto assets?
There are currently over 2,000 crypto assets like Bitcoin that can be exchanged for goods and services in many countries anonymously, instantaneously, and at any time. These emerging forms of private sector money, or crypto currencies, provide their own units of account and are based on ledger technology such as blockchain which makes the falsification of transaction data difficult. Unlike cash, transactions using crypto assets are also technically traceable and a positive or negative interest rate can be charged, potentially improving the effectiveness of monetary policy.

Agriculture and natural resources, Capacity development, Environment, Governance and public sector management, Health, Water

Do the socioeconomic spillovers from sewage treatment plants in developing countries justify heavy investment in them?

Do the socioeconomic spillovers from sewage treatment plants in developing countries justify heavy investment in them
Decent sanitation for all is crucial for rapidly urbanizing developing countries, such as India. As large volumes of wastewater in developing countries remain untreated, the investments in treatment facilities have not kept pace with the steady increases in population and urbanization and the resulting increases in wastewater volumes.

Economics, Governance and public sector management, Regional cooperation and integration

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.

Governance and public sector management

Malaysia’s affirmative action should be based on need

Malaysia’s Affirmative Action Should Be Based on Need
When Malaysians came out in numbers to replace the government that had ruled since Independence, they signaled a clear desire for change. But what kind of mandate does the new government have? Pakatan Harapan’s election campaign included a host of promises, most of which are now being pursued without much controversy.

Agriculture and natural resources, Governance and public sector management

Land trust laws as a solution to the land acquisition dilemma for infrastructure development in Asia

Land trust laws as a solution to the land acquisition dilemma for infrastructure development in Asia
Many developing countries struggle with the dichotomy of acquiring land for infrastructure development and balancing landholder interests. Industrialization of rural villages across developing Asia (particularly in India) has created widespread social and political tensions in the recent past. Most of these are attributed to land acquisition (Sarkar 2007). The “right” of sovereignty on land has long been a contested subject. Even in democracies, the exigencies of collective benefit versus individual land rights have been at loggerheads. In the long run, growth dividends from infrastructure development and industrialization are likely to materialize (Paul and Sarma 2017), and acquisition of land to facilitate this process remains one of the main development challenges in many Asian countries.

Governance and public sector management, Private sector development

“Monsters” in the house? What to do about Malaysia’s government-linked companies

“Monsters” in the house? What to do about Malaysia’s government-linked companies
About a month before Malaysia’s parliamentary election in May 2018, then-opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad raised concerns over the role that government-linked companies (GLCs) were playing in the economy, being “huge and rich” enough to be considered “monsters”. Data support his description—GLCs account for about half of the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, and they constitute seven out of the top-10 listed firms in 2018. They are present in almost every sector, sometimes in a towering way. Globally, Malaysia ranks fifth-highest in terms of GLC influence on the economy.