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

China watches for its money in the euro zone after Cyprus

Author: Jonas Parello-Plesner, ECRF

‘I want my money back’ was the late Margaret Thatcher’s motto in internal EU negotiations during her time as prime minister. And the EU’s current external debt holders could soon be demanding the same thing.

Russia, the main external stakeholder affected by the recent Cyprus banking debacle, has already spoken harshly of the EU bailout as ‘expropriation’. Read more…

The road ahead for India’s National Food Security Bill

Author: Shenggen Fan, IFPRI

The Indian government recently proposed a revised version of the ambitious National Food Security Bill.

This law could be a game-changer for national food security if the resulting large-scale program is effectively designed, targeted and implemented. Read more…

China must push ahead with exchange rate reforms

Author: He Fan, CASS

For years China has been labelled a ‘currency manipulator’. Its critics claim that China intentionally suppresses the value of the renminbi through massive market intervention to raise the competitiveness of its exports. Read more…

Asia and the proper governance of international institutions

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Improving the governance of international institutions is now a core objective in reform of the global order, following the global financial crisis.The G20 group — its own formation a powerful testament to the need for inclusion of the emerging economic powers and more representative participation in managing the world economy — committed to more open and merit-based selection of top jobs in international institutions, such as the World Bank and the IMF, at its Pittsburgh summit. Read more…

Reducing Malaysia’s debt burden

Author: Nurhisham Hussein, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia came out of the ‘Great Recession’ relatively little the worse for wear. One hangover, however, is a burden of debt higher than typical emerging markets, in both the public and private sectors. Read more…

Family planning spurs development in Asia

Author: Amy Tsui, John Hopkins University

Some five to six decades ago, between 1951 and 1965, a rather remarkable chain of events took place in Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East: countries began to use family planning programs to address rapid population growth, and many subsequently experienced extraordinary economic growth.

Read more…

Asian Development Bank defies G20

Authors: Stephen Howes, Robin Davies and Ashlee Betteridge, ANU

There’s a strong and welcome trend toward appointing the leaders of major international organisations through competitive processes — except in Asia.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), whose president has just stepped down to head Japan’s central bank, has now appointed its new president just as it has always done: Read more…

Novartis vs. the government of India: patents and public health

Author: Hans Lofgren, Deakin University

In early April, India’s Supreme Court rejected an application by the Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis for a patent on a modified version of the leukemia medication imatinib mesylate.

Naturally, the outcome of the case affects the affordability of the drug. Read more…

Marriage in Asia

Author: Gavin W. Jones, NUS

As countries in Asia go through difficult demographic transitions, marriage patterns have never been more important.

Asia was traditionally characterised by universal marriage — defined as when fewer than 5 per cent of women have not married by the age of 50. Read more…

Malaysian government-linked corporations crowd out private investment

Authors: Jayant Menon, ADB and ANU, and Thiam Hee Ng, ADB

Private investment in Malaysia never fully recovered from the impact of the Asian financial crisis.

Foreigners have continued to shun Malaysia, but it now seems that even domestic investors are fleeing, with Malaysia becoming a net exporter of capital since 2005. Read more…

India and Pakistan compete for influence in Afghanistan

Author: Sajjad Ashraf, NUS

As the United States, the Karzai government and the Afghan resistance (branded as the Taliban by the Western powers and media) engage in various moves to secure an advantageous peace in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan are jostling to fill the vacuum US forces will leave behind when they leave.

Afghanistan’s importance derives from its location as a bridge between Central and South Asia. Read more…

Mari Pangestu the best candidate to lead the WTO

Authors: Hal Hill, ANU, and Maria Monica Wihardja, CSIS and UI

An international election process arguably more complex than the recent deliberations in the Vatican is about to get underway.

Over the next few weeks, the 159 ambassadors to the WTO in Geneva will assemble to elect a new director-general for the period 2013–17, starting 1 September 2013. Read more…

India’s disputed ruling on pharmaceuticals and patents

Author: Arvind Subramanian, PIIE

On 1 April 2013, the Indian Supreme Court dismissed the attempt by Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, to obtain patent protection for a new version of the leukaemia drug Glivec.

The court made its decision on the grounds that the drug is not a new medicine, but an adjusted version of a known compound. Read more…

Addressing risks in Myanmar

Author: Vikram Nehru, Carnegie Endowment

The last three months have been a roller coaster for Myanmar as a steady trend of positive economic news was eclipsed by ethnic bloodletting.

The most recent bout of violence, this time in the country’s central region, highlights the complexity of the challenges facing the government of President Thein Sein and the need to ensure law and order during a period of political change. Read more…

Very low fertility: An East Asian dilemma

Author: Peter McDonald, ANU

In the immediate post-war years, two prominent American demographers were attached to the MacArthur administration in Japan.

One was Warren Thompson who, from the 1920s, had been an advocate of control over population growth as a necessary condition of economic development in developing countries. Read more…