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When Asia was hit by its regional financial crisis 20 years ago, Asian policy makers were quick to call for regional solutions to what was perceived to be a common problem: Asian countries’ dependence on foreign finance. Prominent political figures and scholars argued for a greater regional focus of monetary and economies policies, suggesting the introduction of currency baskets modeled on trade patterns, financial structures, and even Asian currency units akin to the European Currency Unit, the euro’s predecessor.
Everybody from President Trump to the Global Infrastructure Forum is trying to think of innovative ways to attract long-term private and institutional investors to pay for the huge and largely unmet demand for new highways, railways, and dams. Promising ideas, including guarantees or gap funding, the concessional blending of finance, and bankability enhancements, have been tried but are not enough to convince overseas pension schemes or high net worth individuals to invest their idling funds in worthwhile projects, especially in emerging economies with untried issuers (Regan, 2017).
By Han Phoumin. Posted May 3, 2017
Some 134 million people in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region do not have access to electricity (IEA and ERIA, 2013). At the end of 2015, the ASEAN Community declared that the lack of power and energy access could threaten the region’s economic growth and its economic transition.
By Eva Paus. Posted April 13, 2017
The “middle income trap” captures the situation where a middle income country can no longer compete internationally in standardized, labor-intensive commodities because wages are relatively too high, and it can also not compete in higher value added activities on a broad enough scale because productivity is relatively too low. The result is slow growth, stagnant or falling wages, and a growing informal economy.
The Bank of Japan (BOJ) announced in September last year that it would be switching the focus of its quantitative easing program from monetary base targeting to controlling the shape of the yield curve (Bank of Japan, 2016). A brief comparison of the two frameworks is as follows. The previous monetary easing framework, Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing (QQE) with a Negative Interest Rate, set out three policy dimensions: quantity, quality, and interest rates.
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.
By Gunther Schnabl. Posted March 15, 2017
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.
By James McAndrews. Posted March 10, 2017
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.
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.
By Ian Coxhead. Posted August 27, 2014
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.
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