Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

G20 infrastructure initiative: Keynesianism going global

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

The World Bank recently published a valuable research paper (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 5940 by Justin Yifu Lin and Doerte Doemeland) which presents the evidence needed to justify a globally coordinated initiative in carefully selected infrastructure investment.

A G20 initiative in 2012 could make this happen. Read more…

Immigration and the Thai labour market

Author: Dilaka Lathapipat, TDRI

There is a widespread belief among Thais that immigrants reduce local workers’ job opportunities and depress wages.

This is evident from an opinion survey study conducted in late 2010 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Triangle Project on public attitudes to migration and migrant workers. Read more…

Population prospects in East and Southeast Asia

Authors: Adrian C. Hayes and Zhongwei Zhao, ANU

According to UN estimates, the world’s population reached 7 billion in late 2011.

It took all of human evolution until approximately the year 1800 to reach the first 1 billion — and now we have seen an extra billion added in a mere 12 years. Read more…

Asian security strategy: one hand not clapping

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The whirlwind visit of President Barack Obama to Australia on the way to the East Asia Summit in Indonesia last November, many believe, forever changed the Asia Pacific strategic landscape with a re-assertion of American primacy and power in Asia.

What was the thinking behind the moves that Obama announced in Canberra and how will it shape Southeast Asia’s strategic future? Read more…

The emergence of ‘Offshore Asia’ as a security concept

Author: Geoff Wade, ISEAS, Singapore

That US engagement with East Asia has grown in recent years is news to none.

But as the dust settles following President Obama’s announcement of the imminent stationing of US marine forces in northern Australia, it is perhaps time to assess what this development might augur for the broader East Asian region in the longer term. Read more…

Russia’s accession to the WTO

Author: Abdur Chowdhury, Marquette University

Joining the WTO in 2012 marks the culmination of a long period of transformation for Russia, which first applied for membership in June 1993, and finally had its terms of entry accepted on 16 December.

To join the WTO, Russia has had to overhaul its national laws to bring them into conformity with the global trade regime, and work out bilateral market-opening deals with all other members. Russia has agreed to slash tariffs, get rid of industrial subsidies and allow foreign companies greater access to its domestic market. Read more…

Indian agriculture will benefit from retail FDI

Author: Nandita Dasgupta, UMBC

India’s food price inflation has been a major driving factor behind the country’s accelerating inflation over the past few years.

In particular, agricultural food prices rose sharply during 2011. Read more…

India’s economic slowdown a stain on 2011

Author: M. Govinda Rao, NIPFP

India’s economy was one of the earliest to stage a turnaround after the global financial crisis.

The decisions taken in early 2008 to increase public-sector wages, forgive loans for farmers who had borrowed from the banks, and massively expand the rural-employment guarantee scheme assisted the economy before the global financial crisis unfolded in the last quarter of the year. Read more…

Thai–Cambodian conflict rooted in history

Author: Kimly Ngoun, ANU

The conflict between Cambodia and Thailand has made headlines around the world over the past few years.

The latest dispute was precipitated by Thailand’s failed effort to block Cambodia from unilaterally nominating Preah Vihear Temple — an ancient Khmer temple located within a disputed border area — as a World Heritage site.

Read more…

Kim Jong-un’s regime: facing up to domestic challenges, China and the US

Author: Wei Zhijiang, Sun Yat-sen University

After the death of Kim Jong-il in December, Kim Jong-un has officially become the supreme leader of North Korea and the supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army.

This is in addition to his position as the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Korean Workers’ Party, which was announced in September 2010. Read more…

Taiwan’s elections: double victory, double challenge

Author: Malcolm Cook, Flinders University

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou and the Kuomintang (KMT) won a double victory at the 14 January elections. Ma was re-elected — albeit with a much smaller margin — and the KMT maintained a reduced majority in the Legislative Yuan.

Read more…

Taiwan’s vote and its international implications

Author: Nitin Pai, Takshashila Institution

Taiwan’s presidential elections, since they first started in 1996, have in large part been referenda on the ‘One China’ policy.

Voters are generally offered two deviations from the status quo — either a path toward eventual reunification with mainland China or a path toward independence. Read more…

Political surprises dominate the Korean peninsula in 2011

Author: Yoon Young-kwan, Seoul National University

After North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean frigate, Cheonan, and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, inter-Korean relations did not improve much in 2011.

There was limited official contact between the South and the North and between the US and the North to discuss the possible resumption of Six-Party Talks or food aid. Read more…

Japan’s cabinet reshuffle: a futile gesture?

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

In selecting his first cabinet and party executive line-up in September 2011, the most important motivation for Japan’s Prime Minister Noda was intra-party harmony.

His ministers were largely selected to appease political strongman Ichiro Ozawa, who maintains a well-deserved reputation for either running parties or destroying them. Read more…

Kim Jong-nam and the question of North Korea’s leadership stability

Author: Scott A. Snyder, CFR

North Korea’s leadership succession from Kim Jong-il to Kim Jong-un has gone according to script.

The Korean Workers’ Party and the Korean People’s Army are supporting Kim Jong-un as North Korea’s new leader and North Korea’s propaganda machine has not missed a beat in announcing new titles, manufacturing accomplishments and portraying Kim Jong-un as a Great Successor worthy of the name. Read more…