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

South Korea’s urban development dilemma

Authors: Hyung Min Kim, Xianjiaotong-Liverpool University, and Kyoung Seok Jang, NARS

South Korea experienced rapid urbanisation after the Korean War when a high number of rural peasants left their hometowns for Seoul in search for better economic opportunities. Read more…

Beyond Bali: imperatives for reforming India’s food security system

Author: Raghbendra Jha, ANU

India agreed to an interim ‘peace clause’ on its food subsidy policies at the ninth ministerial conference of the WTO held in Bali in December 2013. While the Indian media largely heralded this decision as a triumph for India’s food security policy, a closer inspection of what was actually agreed to shows that this optimism could be misplaced. Read more…

Small and medium business speaks up in Vietnam

Author: Tu Phuong Nguyen, University of Adelaide

New social forces emerging from market reforms are penetrating the formal agenda of Vietnam’s one-party regime. In particular, beyond the corporatist state structure, private entrepreneurs have engaged more actively in organised business groups, and these groups are helping to voice the concerns of these entrepreneurs. The policy environment is more open, Read more…

India needs original thinking to lift its economy

Author: Rajiv Kumar, CPR

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) took the market by surprise by raising the repo rate (the rate at which the central bank lends money to commercial banks in the event of a shortfall of funds) on 28 January by 0.25 per cent to 8 per cent.

But to those who have followed the recommendations of the Urjit Patel Committee (UPC), the measure will be seen as consistent with the RBI’s declared target of bringing headline CPI inflation to below 8 per cent. With this move, the RBI has tried to move ahead of the curve of inflationary expectations, in line with its new official policy of inflation targeting. Read more…

Beijing redoubles counter-terrorism efforts in Xinjiang

Author: Michael Clarke, Griffith University

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is taking an increasingly hard line on Xinjiang. But long-term Chinese policy itself is contributing to Xinjiang’s unrest.

On 15 January, authorities in Beijing arrested the outspoken critic of government policies in Xinjiang, Ilham Tohti. Tohti, an Uyghur scholar, has called into question the dominant government narratives on aggressive economic development for the Uyghur and the extent of Uyghur ‘terrorism’. Read more…

Time for Indonesia to regain confidence in economic integration

Author: Sjamsu Rahardja, World Bank

Integrating with the global market place was once Indonesia’s offensive strategic choice to accelerate economic reform and development.

Indonesia has benefited significantly from opening up to trade and investment. It responded without hesitation to plummeting revenues from oil exports in the early 1980s with sweeping reforms to reduce tariffs, non-tariff barriers, red tape in customs clearance and procedures for obtaining business permits. Read more…

For the internet age, Taiwan’s ICT industry needs a new model

Author: Andy Yee, Hong Kong

Taiwan has long been a world leader in high-tech hardware manufacturing, with roots all the way back to the era of export-oriented industrialisation in the 1960s. Its companies command huge market shares in critical ICT products, ranging from computer chips and smartphones to personal computers. Read more…

Will China find the memory of Zhao Ziyang too hard to handle?

Author: Kerry Brown, University of Sydney

Rumours of former Chinese Communist Party general secretary and premier Zhao Ziyang’s posthumous political rehabilitation have come and gone in the last decade. Zhao’s predecessor, Hu Yaobang, was in office for seven years from 1980 and was a taboo subject in China only briefly for what was seen as his mismanagement of the limited Student Protests on 1987 that led to his `sacking’ (in effect early retirement) by paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. Read more…

Seizing the global infrastructure opportunity in Indonesia

Authors: Mahendra Siregar, BKPM, Andrew Elek, ANU, and Maria Monica Wihardja, World Bank

Five years after the 2008 global financial crisis, the world economy is still operating well below capacity, largely because of serious policy mistakes in ‘advanced’ economies. Extraordinarily loose monetary policy has not been enough to counter the perverse fiscal austerity forced on the Eurozone by Germany and on the United States by the Tea Party. This combination of macroeconomic policy settings is not only inefficient — it is also unsustainable. Read more…

Charting a course for Asian integration and security

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

This week another round of TPP negotiations is taking place in Singapore. USTR Michael Froman is talking up protections for US vested interests at home in order to obtain Congressional authority to complete the negotiations, rather than free trade across the region. The package on the table in TPP still has very little in it for countries like Australia, especially if the Australia-Japan trade deal is pulled off separately. Read more…

Making RCEP about region-wide liberalisation

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

During the penultimate week of January, officials of the 16 Asia Pacific nations comprising the membership of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) held their third round of talks in Kuala Lumpur. The scope and method of the negotiations were discussed and working groups established in the areas of competition, IPR, technical cooperation and dispute settlement. A fourth round is scheduled for April in China. Read more…

Chasing the chimera of coordinated monetary policy at the G20

Author: Maria Monica Wihardja, World Bank

Evidence shows that the volatility in monetary policy in advanced economies (AEs) is the root cause of the volatility of capital flows to emerging market economies (EMEs) and the exchange rate pressures in these EMEs.

Indonesia is one example of the countries that have experienced such spillover: since the third quarter of 2009 until the second quarter 2011, gross financial inflows were in surplus. Read more…

Farewell to free access: Japan’s universal health coverage

Author: Etsuji Okamoto, NIPH

While the Obama administration is struggling to achieve universal health coverage in the US, Japan celebrated the 50th anniversary of its universal health coverage system in 2011. Japan’s universal health insurance coverage is now deeply rooted in both patients’ and doctors’ minds. But the principle of ‘free access’ to medical procedures and medications is being challenged by the economic realities of sustaining this system. Read more…

Don’t miss the fiscal reform season in Malaysia

Author: Shankaran Nambiar, MIER

For a long time, Malaysian policymakers have tip-toed around the question of budget discipline. But the need for fiscal consolidation is pressing, and although the government has recently announced changes that will help reduce the deficit, it needs to make sure that these reforms don’t hit the middle class unfairly. Read more…

Japan’s courtship of ASEAN doomed to end in tears?

Author: Dylan Loh Ming Hui, RSIS

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosted the 40th commemorative Japan–ASEAN summit in Tokyo in December 2013. In a joint statement, Japan and ASEAN referred to ‘the importance of maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region and promoting maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, exercise of self-restraint and resolution of disputes by peaceful means’. Read more…