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

Population increases in Singapore: balancing growth and quality-of-life

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

Singapore’s White Paper on population, issued on January 31 2013, has generated intense debate on the appropriate balance between growth and quality-of-life for Singapore citizens, illustrating the accelerating dilemma between the two faced by Singaporean policymakers and society.

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War crime verdicts and systemic fragility in Bangladesh’s democracy

Author: Syeda Naushin Parnini, University of Malaya

In Bangladesh, the government’s recent willingness to intervene in a verdict handed down by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) indicates that the state is in dire need of robust and neutral institutions to safeguard its fragile democracy.

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Indonesia: faltering growth and a hint of protectionism?

Author: Ganeshan Wignaraja, ADBI

Indonesia, ASEAN’s largest economy, faces a growth dilemma. Faltering growth has prompted the introduction of new restrictive trade and investment measures.

Yet  such policies have historically had little success in connecting enterprises with global value chains. Read more…

Outlook for energy security of China

Author: Kejun Jiang, NDRC

Energy security has typically focused on energy imports, but increasingly the security of energy production, energy transportation, the energy environment, energy prices and energy investment have also become important considerations.

Given this diversification of interests, China must now consider its energy security from a new perspective.

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From people to concrete: reviving Japan’s ‘construction state’ politics

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW, Canberra

Construction contractors in Japan are dancing with delight at the Abe administration’s public works spending spree.

With the masses of projects that have suddenly come their way, they are now fighting over dump trucks, heavy machinery and construction technicians. Read more…

Finance ministers in APEC

Author: Herfan Brilianto, Jakarta 

Indonesia assumes the 2013 APEC chair as the Asia Pacific economy faces a challenging 12 months.

Indonesia’s choice of APEC theme, ‘Resilient Asia-Pacific: Engine of Global Growth’, reflects concern over downside risks that need to be managed if the regional economy is to achieve sustainable growth. Read more…

How will India respond to civil war in Pakistan?

Author: Sunil Dasgupta, UMBC and Brookings Institution

In 1971, India intervened militarily on behalf of Bengalis in the civil war in East Pakistan, dividing the country in two and helping to create Bangladesh.

In 2013, prospects of another civil war in Pakistan — this time one that pits radical Islamists against the secular but authoritarian military — have led once again to questions about what India would do. Read more…

What’s new in world trade policy?

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The global financial crisis has put enormous pressure on the open international trading system. The cyclical surge in unemployment in industrial economies has unleashed demands for protection against imports of goods in the production of which a lot of labour is used. Read more…

The WTO and global supply chains

Author: Richard Baldwin, Graduate Institute, Geneva and University of Oxford

The cross-border flows of goods, investment, services, know-how and people associated with international production networks — call it ‘supply chain trade’ for short — has transformed the world. But the WTO has not kept pace. Read more…

What can the G20 do about the WTO?

Author: Philippa Dee, ANU

The G20’s role in trade reform is to deal with systemic issues that are not well handled by the WTO under a ‘business as usual’ approach. So the forum must deal with the current danger: if the WTO is allowed to muddle through, the existing trade rules that have underpinned globalisation and growth for decades could unravel. Read more…

North Korea’s nuclear test

Author: Ron Huisken, ANU

Pyongyang’s third nuclear test, conducted on 13 February 2013, sparked a flurry of commentary on what to do next.

All the familiar and varied themes of response have been refreshed — toughen the sanctions and accelerate countermeasures (especially against ballistic missiles), engage North Korea unreservedly, Read more…

Human rights and democracy in Sri Lanka: the West’s deepening dilemma

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

Sri Lanka is a small country of about the population of Australia.

Its location astride the major energy sea lanes of communication of the Indian Ocean and just south of India, however, puts it in a strategic box seat for the forthcoming struggle for influence over the liquid energy requirements of the East Asian economic giants, including China. Read more…

G20 and Asian leadership

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

Only five years after its excellent start, the G20 is still trying to define its role and its ambition.

Although the agenda is already too wide, some huge threats to the prospects for inclusive and sustainable development remain unattended. Read more…

Thailand: stalemate and accommodation

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

Thailand has regained relative calm and stability over the past year, following a long period of political turmoil stretching back to 2005.

The government has finally had some breathing space to roll out its Thaksin-inspired consumption-driven policy agenda. Read more…

Direct cash transfers: a panacea for poverty and inequality in India?

Author: Pravakar Sahoo, IEG

India’s job-less and non-inclusive growth story in the last two decades has made little impact on incidences of poverty and inequality.

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