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

What institutions do Asian countries need to keep growing?

Author: David Dollar, Brookings Institution

The notion of a ‘middle-income trap’ has entered the lexicon of policymakers in emerging markets in Asia and elsewhere. Many leaders of countries that have experienced fast growth — such as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang — worry that economic growth will come off the boil as their countries reach middle-income status. Read more…

Poor numbers misrepresent the development of India’s tribes

Authors: Vikas Kumar, Azim Premji University; and Ankush Agrawal, IIT

The growing clamour for evidence-based policymaking in India has increased the importance of data quality. Unfortunately, government statistics for marginalised communities, such as tribes, are often unreliable. Read more…

Fixing the faultlines in post-earthquake Nepal

Author: Pradumna Bickram Rana, RSIS

After the 25 April 2015 earthquake, and the massive aftershock on 12 May, Nepal is entering the second phase of its recovery and reconstruction. Losses are still being tallied, so it is not yet possible to detail a complete list of the required long-term policies and strategies. But if the country’s governance were to improve and appropriate policies were adopted, a stronger and more picturesque Nepal could emerge from the crisis. Read more…

Should China peg the renminbi to a genuine basket?

Author: Heikki Oksanen, University of Helsinki

The Peoples’ Bank of China (PBoC) has maintained a close relationship between the renminbi (RMB) and the US dollar since the RMB was first pegged in 1994. Twenty years on, after the PBoC has made the RMB somewhat more flexible, pegging it to a genuine broad trade-weighted basket would promote stability for China and its trading partners. Read more…

Strategic cooperation key to Japan’s peaceful future

Author: Narushige Michishita, GRIPS

Japan’s most important foreign policy goal is to create an environment under which China’s rise will be peaceful and cooperative. In strategic terms, maintaining the balance of power in the region and creating crisis prevention and management mechanisms are the most effective means of achieving this policy goal. Read more…

A way to go yet for Modi

Author: Rajiv Kumar, CPR

There is no doubt that Modi works hard and drives his government at a similar hectic pace. Midnight oil is burnt regularly in the Prime Minister’s Office, which now resembles an omnipotent and omnipresent command station. Read more…

New hope for Indonesia’s ethnic minorities

Authors: Ihsan Ali-Fauzi, Paramadina University, and Ben Hillman, ANU

During the past decade attacks on religious minorities have cast a shadow over Indonesia’s reputation as a tolerant and moderate Muslim-majority nation. Across the archipelago Christian, Buddhist, Ahmadi and Shi’ite communities have been exposed to increasing levels of discrimination, harassment, intimidation and violence, largely at the hands of Sunni hardliners. Read more…

Myanmar’s military wrangle with a new political reality

Author: Adam P. MacDonald, Halifax

A number of major issues threaten to degrade, if not entirely disrupt, Myanmar’s elections scheduled for November. These issues include ongoing fighting between the military and various armed ethnic armies, violent social and religious tensions between Buddhists and Muslims, and the lethargic pace of constitutional reforms. Read more…

What Australians really think about a rising China

Authors: James Laurenceson and Hannah Bretherton, ACRI

What does China’s rise as a major power mean for Australia? The answer depends on who you ask.

In March 2015 the Sydney Morning Herald’s International Editor, Peter Hartcher, described China as a fascist state that bullies its own citizens and neighbouring countries alike. That about sums up the ‘China threat’ view. Read more…

Myanmar elections lack legitimacy without constitutional change

Author: Melissa Crouch, UNSW

Constitutional reform is an important part of Myanmar’s transition from military rule. Although widespread political reforms have been enacted since 2011, these have not yet been accompanied by constitutional change. The next few months will determine whether constitutional amendment will take place before the elections scheduled in November. This will affect the very legitimacy of the election itself. Read more…

The rights and wrongs of US overflights in the South China Sea

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

Over the past six years, unilateral and escalatory actions by claimants to territories in the South China Sea have exacerbated tensions in the region.

China has not been the precipitator of the tensions in these waters — whether it be in initiating resource exploration activities in disputed areas, introducing military vessels to enforce jurisdictional claims, or conducting land reclamation work in the adjoining waters. Read more…

Glimpses of Lee Kuan Yew

Author: Jerome A. Cohen, NYU

Seldom has the death of a great Asian leader commanded as much appreciation in the West as the passing of Lee Kuan Yew. The mind numbs at the number of well-earned tributes to the man who led Singapore to become a successful and influential nation-state. Read more…

The importance of reliable resource markets to Australian and Asian security

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Recent talk that would encourage government messing with Australian iron ore markets sits awkwardly in the context of the core strategic importance of raw materials in Australia’s economic relationships with Asia, both sides round. Read more…

Supporters of an Australian iron cartel have a monopoly on bad economics

Author: Luke Hurst, ANU

As Australia moves away from a decade of resource-driven prosperity, it is even more important that it avoid mistakes that previously might have been papered over by the boom times. Yet there are loud voices calling for the mistakes of the past to be made again. One of the loudest is that of Australian mining company Fortescue’s non-executive chairman, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest. Read more…

Australia lacks the inside support for outward integration

Author: Annmarie Elijah, Hazel Moir and Andrew Willcocks, ANU

Australian federal government policymakers need to have broader and more robust consultations with business, consumers and state governments when it comes to trade treaties. As an open economy that is heavily dependent on trade for its wellbeing, it is important for Australia to get trade and economic integration right.  Read more…