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

Credit where credit’s due for China’s economic authorities

Author: James Laurenceson, ACRI

Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman recently said with reference to China’s President Xi Jinping: ‘Are you starting to have the feeling that when it comes to economic policy Xi-who-must-be-obeyed has no idea what he’s doing?’ Read more…

Asia’s strategic weight

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Their sheer size and growth potential mean that China and India will be at the centre of the Asian economic powerhouse over the coming decades, however well it performs. Over the past two decades, the two countries have already more than tripled their share of the global economy. Adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), the Indian economy is now roughly the size of Japan’s. In PPP terms, China’s economy is already nudging that of the United States. Read more…

India’s role in Asia may not fit ‘Indo-Pacific’ agenda

Author: Hugh White, ANU

Many observers tend to assume that India will play a large and growing part as a great power in a wider ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategic system, that it will use its growing power to balance and limit China’s regional weight. But some caution is called for — although this outcome is possible, it is far from inevitable. Read more…

Ms Park goes to Beijing, but will Xi cooperate on North Korea?

Author: Zhiqun Zhu, Bucknell University

South Korean President Park Geun-hye will visit China from September 2–4 to attend Beijing’s official activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, including a military parade on 3 September. Her visit comes fresh off the heels of inter-Korean tensions triggered by a North Korean landmine which maimed two South Korean soldiers. Read more…

New measures are needed to understand gender and poverty

Author: Priya Chattier, ANU

The World Bank’s International Poverty Line (IPL) is the benchmark for tracking progress in the reduction of global poverty. But the US$2 a day guideline has drawn criticism among academics and policy circles for subsuming all those below the IPL under the ‘poverty’ category, and for its unidimensional focus on monetary poverty. A new, better measure is out there — and policymakers should use it. Read more…

Gay Asia should resist liberal assimilation

Author: Sherman Tan, ANU

While it is incredibly difficult to make generalisations about LGBTIQ advocacy efforts or debates over gay rights across Asia, many commentators have expressed optimism after a number of public expressions or political initiatives in support of gay unions and rights.

Read more…

Where to now for the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation?

Author: Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit, RSIS

East Asian financial cooperation is at a crossroads. The Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) and its surveillance unit — the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) — are continuing to grow in size and importance. But the structure of these two entities must change to accommodate this growth.

Read more…

Is Abe’s womenomics working?

Author: Helen Macnaughtan, University of London

In September 2013 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to create a society in which ‘all women can shine’. Abe acknowledged that women had long been an underutilised resource in the Japanese economy. He promised to boost female labour participation rates, increase the presence of women in corporate board rooms and improve gender equality. Two years on, is womenomics working in Japan? Read more…

ASEAN’s ambitions risk outstripping its capacity

Author: Barry Desker, RSIS

Southeast Asia looks set to usher in a new era of cooperation and stability following the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in early August. But significant challenges to regional integration remain and the risk is that ambitious claims may outstrip the capacity to deliver. Read more…

South Korea must confront structural problems in the economy

Author: Seongman Moon, KIEP

South Korea’s economic growth has slowed significantly since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The five-year average GDP growth rate was 7.9 per cent during 1991–95, but dropped substantially to 4.5 per cent for 2001–05 and then 3.8 per cent in 2006–10. This slowdown is closely linked to that in domestic demand. After the burst of the credit card lending boom from 1999–2002, growth in domestic demand has been close to zero and has even dropped into the negative. Read more…

Will regional tensions shift the deadlock on Okinawa’s military bases?

Authors: H.D.P. Envall and Kerri Ng, ANU

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be close to achieving one long-pursued goal, the relocation of the controversial Futenma airbase in Okinawa. This has been a perpetual sore in the US‒Japan alliance. But recent international trends may be reshaping Okinawa’s base politics and pushing the two allies closer to carrying out the Futenma relocation. Read more…

Don’t blame China’s skewed sex ratio on the one-child policy

Authors: Elizabeth J. Remick, Tufts University, and Charis Loh

In the last decade, China’s serious gender imbalance has made headlines: millions of Chinese men are doomed to bachelorhood due to a shortage of women, with awful social consequences. The conventional wisdom is that this skewing — a sex ratio at birth far higher than the natural ratio of 105 males to 100 females — is caused simply and solely by China’s one-child policy. Read more…

China, India and global headwinds

Author: Alok Sheel, Government of Kerala

When the global financial crisis swept across the world in 2008, it was widely hoped that India would not be as badly affected by the external demand shock as China. After all, exports of goods and services accounted for about 40 per cent of Chinese GDP, and domestic consumption for around 50 per cent, while India consumed over two thirds of its GDP and exported only around 20 per cent. As things turned out, while both economies initially had a relatively soft landing, Indian growth has dipped far more sharply than that of China. Why? Read more…

How to normalise Sino–Japanese defence relations

Author: Tomohiko Satake, NIDS

Tensions between Japan and China in recent years have led many to argue that Sino–Japanese relations have entered a period of enduring rivalry, and that a Sino–Japanese military conflict is likely in the near future. But, looking back over post-war history, the current state of relations is rather exceptional. Read more…

Back to the future in managing the Chinese economy?

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Those in the international policy community whose professional responsibility it is to keep abreast of political developments in China have been in a tizz over the past few weeks about the prospects of a return to the command economy. This might seem strange to the economic observer. The most vibrant part of the second largest market economy in the world, generating around two thirds of its industrial product, is its private sector. Read more…