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

How significant was the LDP’s victory in Japan’s recent general election?

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW, Canberra

The recent lower house election in Japan has been widely heralded as a resounding victory for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Certainly it was a massive rejection of the governing Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), whose vote tally fell by more than half, from 45 per cent of the total vote in 2009 to 20 per cent this election. Read more…

Can Pakistan find a way?

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Last October, the Taliban shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai for her advocacy of female education encouraged friends of Pakistan around the world to hope that at least this shocking act might prove a turning point against extremism in Pakistan.

Read more…

Pakistan’s bleak outlook lightened by the game-changer with India

Authors: Mohsin Khan and Shuja Nawaz, Atlantic Council

With a general parliamentary election likely to be held early in the year, and changes to the leadership of the army and judiciary due by the end of the year, Pakistan faces some daunting challenges as it enters 2013.

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Mapping rural labour migration in China

Author: Sylvie Démurger, University of Lyon

China’s rapid economic development and the government’s policy towards encouraging higher inter-regional labour mobility have led to a massive rural–urban labour force exodus since the mid-1980s.

The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics estimated the total number of rural migrants working in cities in 2011 at 158 million. Read more…

Indonesia and the minimum wage: inflation vs. productivity

Author: Kodrat Wibowo, Padjadjaran University

Labour unions have organised strikes in most major cities in Indonesia in recent months, demanding a higher minimum wage for workers.

The minimum wage in Indonesia is determined by consensus in a tripartite forum between three major actors in the labour market: unions, employers and local governments. Read more…

Could Malaysia elect an Islamist prime minister?

Author: Farish M. Noor, RSIS

The recent general assembly of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) was notable for less talk of theology or doctrine and an increased focus on PAS’ upcoming campaign for the 13th general election, scheduled to be held anytime between December this year and next April.

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Central Asia in 2012: stability and strategic choices

Author: Kirill Nourzhanov, ANU

In 2012, all five Central Asian republics managed to avoid major crises and political cataclysms.

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Feeding the multitudes: food security in Asia

Author: Peter Warr, ANU

Food security and agricultural development are back on the international agenda after a long absence.

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The Pacific islands in 2012: navigating diplomatic cross currents

Author: Sandra Tarte, USP

When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unprecedented appearance at the 2012 Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit in the Cook Islands, some observers struggled to find an explanation for such high level interest in a region often dismissed as irrelevant and a geopolitical backwater.

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Indonesia’s strong growth and stable outlook

Author: Thee Kian Wie, LIPI

Despite slower global growth and continued uncertainty in the global financial market, Indonesia’s economic growth remained strong throughout 2012.

Indonesia’s GDP, while slowing down slightly, still grew by 6.2 per cent year-on-year (yoy) during the third quarter of 2012, which was slightly lower than during the second quarter, due to the continuing slower growth of exports. Read more…

Singapore in 2012: balancing growth with domestic imperatives

Authors: Mukul G. Asher and Chang Yee Kwan, NUS

Singapore has continued to skilfully pursue a business location strategy in 2012, the key requirements of which include keeping the share of wages in the national income below the share accruing to capital, and tapping into new commercial opportunities and economic partners.

Predictably, the external sector’s contribution to growth has been, and will continue to be, dominant. Read more…

Elementary education in India: quality or quantity?

Author: Ranjit Goswami, RK University

The ninth E9 Ministerial Review Meeting, which took place in New Delhi in November, was held among nine of the world’s most populous developing nations: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.

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The Indian economy: a rough 2012 but tougher 2013

Author: Pravakar Sahoo, IEG

In economic terms, 2012 has been a remarkable year for the Indian economy.

The year started in the shadow of the policy reversal on FDI in multi-brand ownership, followed by a working budget without major policy reforms and concrete steps to control fiscal deficit, subsidies and tapering growth. Read more…

Doha climate talks: time for an alternative approach

Author: David Hodgkinson, The Hodgkinson Group

The 18th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met in Doha recently, while the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) gathered for the eighth time.

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Korea’s political nostalgia brings a dose of change

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Korea’s famous PSY and his Gangnam Style video has stormed the world with a record of over a billion YouTube views this year, establishing South Korea as super cool East Asia, at least among the young and wannabe young around the world.

Korea may have wrestled the super cool Asia title from Japan. Read more…