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

Timor-Leste to go to the polls

Author: Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University

Timor-Leste will go to the polls as a result of its five-year electoral cycle on 17 March, kicking off an electoral process that will run until early July.

The question hanging over this process is whether it will mark the formal consolidation of democracy in the once deeply troubled territory, or whether it will signal a return to the problems of 2006–07 — which have been a common feature in many other post-conflict, post-colonial states. Read more…

The wonder of Indian democracy

Author: Ashutosh Varshney, Brown University

In the whole spectrum of India’s political experience, one thing that stands out is the wonder of Indian democracy.

Three aspects of Indian democracy cause theoretical surprise and one that generates concern. Read more…

Increasing Japan’s consumption tax: is this really the best time?

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

In the last week of December 2011, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda gathered together reluctant members of his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to endorse a doubling of the country’s consumption tax.

Politically, the increase is enormously risky. Read more…

Small states, high oil prices: renewable technologies in the Pacific

Authors: Matthew Dornan and Frank Jotzo, ANU

High oil prices are disproportionately affecting Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific, while renewable energy could replace oil used for power generation and help reduce the risk of cost blowouts.

In Fiji, the oil import bill was around 14 per cent of GDP in 2010 and is likely to be higher this year, with oil prices again remaining above US$100 a barrel. Read more…

China and India: moving beyond the boundary dispute?

Author: Jabin T. Jacob, RSIS

In the 50 years since the 1962 Sino–Indian conflict over their disputed boundary, relations between the two countries have been radically transformed.

Bilateral trade is booming, while China and India are equally concerned over regional and global issues such as energy security, climate change, the reform of international organisations, and the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Read more…

India’s democracy

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

India is a paradox, as Assa Doron and Barbara Nelson point out in the latest issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly, released this week.

On the one hand, the country’s high growth rate in the past two decades has led to its international profile reaching new heights. On the other hand, about a third of the population still lives below the poverty line. Read more…

India’s churning democracy: future directions

Authors: Barbara Nelson and Assa Doron, ANU

Indian democracy continues to puzzle many foreign observers. But for most Indians, democracy — however imperfect — is a matter of practice, something they grow up with.

Indian democracy may not be perfect — which democracy is? — but it would be safe to say that debates that raged until at least the 1980s about whether it will survive are now firmly in the rearview mirror. Read more…

Policy and potential economic growth in India

Author: Ashima Goyal, IGIDR

In India today there is an active debate on whether the country’s trend economic growth rate is rising.

Some continue to be bearish on growth prospects, regarding each slowdown as revealing the true lower potential growth rate. But traditional factors determining growth — including labour, finance, productivity and demand — throw more light on the issue. Read more…

Rafale deal reveals India’s political and strategic priorities

Author: James Boyers, London

In August 2007, India began a tender process to acquire 126 medium-range, multi-role jet fighters to replace its ageing Mirage fleet.

In late January, the Indian government announced it had chosen the French consortium-led Dassault Rafale over the UK–German consortium-led Eurofighter Typhoon as the preferred bidder in the tender process. Read more…

An assertive China rattles the region

Author: Nick Bisley, La Trobe University

Since the mid 1990s China has pursued a predominantly cautious approach to East Asia: it normalised relations with virtually all its neighbours, joined the region’s multilateral institutions and generally got on with being an ordinary member of Asia’s international society.

During this time, China’s approach largely conformed with Deng Xiaoping’s dictum to calmly bide one’s time and carefully hide one’s power and ambition. But since late 2009 China’s approach to its regional relations has undoubtedly become more assertive. Read more…

Thailand set to profit from Burma’s new Dawei port project

Author: Pavin Chachavalpongpun, ISEAS

Burma is opening up. In the past few months foreign leaders paid high-profile visits to the long-isolated country, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague who both congratulated Burma on its progress toward democratisation.

These endorsements signal that Western sanctions against Burma could soon be lifted. Read more…

Japan posts its first trade deficit in more than three decades

Author: Kozo Kiyota, YNU

The Japanese Ministry of Finance announced on 25 January that the country logged a trade deficit of 2.5 trillion yen (US$31.4 billion) in 2011, its first in more than three decades.

Japan’s imports rose 12 per cent while its exports fell 2.7 per cent compared with the previous year. Read more…

Population health prospects in Asia

Author: Anthony J. McMichael, ANU

Over the next half a century and beyond, two major, contrasting shifts in population health will affect the social and economic burdens of disease and the causes of premature death in the Asian region.

Pervasive and disruptive population-health developments could also affect the movement of people, social stability and geopolitical security. These projected shifts will have major implications for Australia. Read more…

China’s rebalancing will not be automatic

Author: Nicholas Lardy, PIIE

The imminent rebalancing of China’s economy has been forecast repeatedly over the past several years.

With the shrinking of China’s external surplus during 2011, proponents of this argument have all but declared victory. Read more…

Southeast Asia’s economic performance in 2012

Author: Vikram Nehru, Carnegie Endowment

Some Chinese astrologers have pronounced that 2012, the year of the dragon, will be particularly volatile.

But you do not have to believe in the Chinese zodiac to know that Southeast Asia is likely to have a tumultuous year. Read more…