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

Jokowi not the reformer he promised to be

Author: Burhanuddin Muhtadi, ANU

In his first year in office, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) failed to deliver on his promises of reform. As former New York governor Mario Cuomo it nicely, ‘We campaign in poetry, but when we’re elected we’re forced to govern in prose’. Yet, six months on, things may be picking up for Jokowi.

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Accelerating India’s growth will need further reform

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, waves goodbye as he boards an aeroplane at the Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan, 25 December 2015. (Photo: APP).

Author: Raghbendra Jha, ANU

On the back of expanding global trade and buoyant exports the Indian economy managed to grow at more than 9 per cent annually between 2005–6 and 2007–8. But following the global financial crisis Read more…

South Korea’s choice between prosperity and democracy

South Korean protesters at a rally against government policies in Seoul, South Korea, 5 December 2015. (Photo: APP).

Author: Hyaeweol Choi, ANU

South Korea has been celebrated for the twin successes of its rapid economic development and democratisation. But the political and economic progress that has taken place has increasingly come under challenge in recent years. Read more…

Aquino’s mixed presidential legacy

A handout picture dated and released on 10 November 2015 by the Malacanang Photo Bureau shows Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shaking hands with President Benigno Aquino III inside the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, 10 November 2015. (Photo: APP).

Author: Patricio N Abinales, University of Hawaii

President Benigno Aquino III completes his six-year term much less popular than when he began it. His approval rating has dropped from a high of 79 per cent at the beginning of his term to 54 per cent as of September 2015. So what explains his falling popularity? Read more…

Will Jokowi move beyond protectionism?

Author: Arianto Patunru, ANU

Put in a comparative, historical perspective, Indonesia’s economic growth performance has been relatively strong. Yet the recent slowdown in growth is a cause for concern.

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Political stability is the key to growth in Bangladesh

Author: Fahmida Khatun, CPD

Bangladesh’s year started with political turmoil when the opposition party — the Bangladesh Nationalist Party  — protested, demanding free and fair elections. Read more…

North Korea still stable despite external vulnerabilities

Authors: Chung-in Moon, Yonsei University; and Ildo Hwang, Donga Ilbo

North Korea seems to have had an internally stable 2015. Its economy is far from faltering and Kim Jong-un has firmly consolidated his power base. There were no explicit signs of internal challenge. Kim is both reigning and ruling. But Pyongyang’s provocative behaviour in the international domain could produce severe consequences for North Korea. Uncertainty remains high. Read more…

Picking up the pieces in Pakistan

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The bloodbath at a Peshawar school in December 2014, when Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists killed 151 people, among them 125 children, triggered a 20-point National Action Plan aimed at retribution and securing Pakistan against ongoing attack from within. Read more…

Is Pakistan’s economy out of the woods?

Author: Mohsin Khan, the Atlantic Council

Looking back over 2015, there are two quite distinct views on how Pakistan’s economy has fared. The first, expounded frequently by the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and supported by the IMF, is that there has been a significant turnaround in the economy and Pakistan is now basically on track to become a vibrant and dynamic emerging market economy. Read more…

Polarising politics poses problems for Pakistan

Author: Sajjad Ashraf, NUS

Pakistan started 2015 with a lot of hope and the opportunity to correct its course in the wake of the tragic deaths at the Peshawar school shootings in December 2014. Yet, as the government dithered, the army took anti-militancy operations into its own hands, compelling the government to publicly come on board. Read more…

Mongolia’s flagging economy stalls political progress

Author: Julian Dierkes, UBC

2015 marked the 25th anniversary of Mongolia’s democratic revolution. So after 25 years of democracy, where does Mongolia stand? And, what role does Asia’s only post-state socialist democracy play internationally? Read more…

South Korea doubles down on Green Growth

Author: Sung-Young Kim, University of Auckland

Recent headlines on the South Korean economy announced that the country’s GDP grew faster during July–September 2015 than it had over the past five years. But there is a more important story beyond the fluctuations in regularly reported macroeconomic data that needs telling. South Korea is quickly rising as a world leader in the creation, development and export of renewable energy technologies — widely viewed by analysts as strategic growth industries of the future. Read more…

The significance of the Japan–India nuclear deal

Author: Satoru Nagao, Gakushuin University

On 12 December 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inked a memorandum of understanding on the peaceful use of civil nuclear energy. Once the Japan-India nuclear deal is concluded it is likely to have important strategic ramifications for the Indo-Pacific region. Read more…

Political woes darken a bright year for Cambodia

Author: Vannarith Chheang, CICP

2015 was a year of mixed fortunes for Cambodia. Cambodia maintained a relatively high economic growth rate of about 7 per cent in 2015, largely due to the expansion of garment manufacturing, construction and services. Read more…

Sri Lanka opens the door to economic reform

Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayaka delivers the budget proposal at the parliamentary complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, November 20, 2015. (Photo: APP).

Author: Dushni Weerakoon, Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka

The direction of Sri Lanka’s post-civil war socio-political and economic development took a pivotal turn in 2015 with the election of a new president in January and, seven months later, a new government to parliament. Read more…