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

China’s challenges in 2016

Author: Kerry Brown, King’s College London

For China, the story for its economy in 2015 simply reinforced what was already becoming apparent through 2014. GDP growth was slowing, and the political capital the Communist Party could collect from lauding this one statistic was diminishing. Read more…

A bright future for the Philippines

Author: Ganeshan Wignaraja, Asian Development Bank

Economic forecasting is always difficult. The American economist John Kenneth Galbraith famously said ‘we have two sorts of forecasters: those who don’t know and those who don’t know they don’t know’. Yet, while some sceptics assert that economic forecasts are of little value, they are useful for governments and firms to develop their plans and budgets for the year ahead. Read more…

Pakistan inches towards stability

Author: Ghulam Ali, Peking University

After a dramatic end to 2014, Pakistan has gradually moved towards greater political and economic stability. This has been largely due to its successes in reducing terrorism, which injected new hopes about the country’s ability to handle crises. Read more…

Stormy seas ahead for the Philippine economy?

Author: Gilbert Llanto, PIDS

The Philippines has performed well in the past few years relative to its peers. It demonstrated great resilience to exogenous shocks that would have undone less capable economies. But will it be able to sustain its positive economic position? Read more…

Navigating the rocky road to a multipolar order

Author: Andrew Sheng, Asia Global Institute

2015 in the Asia Pacific will be remembered as a year of shambolic shifts towards a more multipolar economic and political order. The United States alone can no longer shape global destiny but will have to share power with allies and rivals, even as regional powers find themselves threatened by their own challenges. Read more…

Is South Korean democracy under attack?

Author: Chungshik Moon, ANU

2015 was a challenging year for South Korea’s democracy. Since the inauguration of the Park Geun-hye government in 2013 there have been a number of incidents that raise serious questions about the soundness and maturity of South Korea’s democracy. Read more…

PNG politics after the boom

Author: Bill Standish, Canberra

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government has finally admitted that PNG’s revenue surge has ended. As long as PNG’s mining boom lasted, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill could build parliamentary support by allocating constituency funds to each member of parliament’s (MP) district. So how will restricted funds impact upon O’Neill’s political position and the stability of the government? Read more…

A facelift will boost growth in the Philippines

Author: Cesar Virata, Manila

The winner of the upcoming 2016 Philippine elections looks set to inherit an underwhelming legacy of lacklustre GDP growth and a shortage of infrastructure. Once again, government under-spending on projects, lower exports, outflow of portfolio investments and stagnant agricultural production has curbed growth. Read more…

Modi fails to live up to high hopes

Author: Arun Swamy, University of Guam

In his first calendar year as Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi focused on economics. Through high profile trips abroad and ambitious proposals at home Modi maintained an air of energy and initiative, but the results were modest. Meantime, domestic politics became more polarised, contributing to two high profile election defeats for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in state elections. Read more…

South Korean liberal democracy Parked in

Author: Kee-seok Kim, Kangwon National University

The international media spent 2015 criticising South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s government and its policies, and the criticisms are visibly increasing in frequency. The topics range from history textbooks to excessive use of force by riot police, but they share one theme: serious concern for South Korean political democracy. Read more…

Bangladesh transforms despite its vicious politics

Authors: Tom Felix Joehnk and Forrest Cookson

Bangladesh’s social, economic and political development is one of the great success stories of the past 25 years. But today it is Bangladesh’s politically dysfunctional ‘battling begums’ — Sheikh Hasina of the ruling Awami League (AL) and Khaleda Zia of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) — that hold the country back.

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From economic boom to crisis management in PNG

Author: Paul Flanagan, ANU

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a land of contrasts. 2015 started with the prospect of PNG having the highest GDP growth rate in the world at over 21 per cent. It finished in crisis management and cash shortages. PNG proudly celebrated its 40th anniversary of independence, hosted a successful yet expensive Pacific Games and its prime minister strode the world and regional stage. Read more…

What the AEC means for Laos

Authors: Buavanh Vilavong, ANU and Simon Hess, WTO

The ASEAN economic community (AEC), which will be enacted on 31 December 2015, presents new opportunities for Laos, but it also underlines significant challenges. Laos has long been a country of promise given its resources and geographic proximity to China and the ASEAN members. Yet, despite relatively high growth over the last two decades, the country remains among the world’s poorest nations. Read more…

The Sri Lankan government’s honeymoon period is over

Author: Saman Kelegama, IPS

Tough economic issues are getting harder to ignore for Sri Lanka’s new political leaders. Sri Lanka witnessed a change of government in early 2015 with the surprise defeat of the political strongman and war-winning president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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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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