nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2005‒02‒13
twenty-one papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Real Equilibrium Exchange Rate in China By Virginie Coudert; Cecile Couharde
  2. External Currency Pricing and the East Asian Crisis By Cook, David; Devereux, Michael B
  3. Money Market Pressure and the Determinants of Banking Crises By Ho, Tai-Kuang; von Hagen, Jürgen
  4. Trade Liberalization in a Globalizing World By Faini, Riccardo
  5. Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy in Korea: Assessments and Policy Issues By Eichengreen, Barry
  6. Employment Concentration Across US Counties By Desmet, Klaus; Fafchamps, Marcel
  7. Fear of Outsourcing: Is It Justified? By Amiti, Mary; Wei, Shang-Jin
  8. Policies for Banking Crises: A Theoretical Framework By Repullo, Rafael
  9. Risk and Wealth in a Model of Self-fulfilling Currency Crises By Bernardo Guimaraes; Stephen Morris
  10. Road development, economic growth, and poverty reduction in China By Fan, Shenggen; Chan-Kang, Connie
  11. Water allocation policies for the Dong Nai River Basin in Vietnam By Ringler, Claudia; Vu Huy, Nguyen
  12. Participation of local people in water management By Heyd, Helene; Neef, Andreas
  13. Living life By Garrett, James
  14. Producer Support Estimates (PSEs) for agriculture in developing countries By Mullen, Kathleen; Sun, Dongsheng; Orden, David; Gulati, Ashok
  15. Agricultural policies in Indonesia By Thomas, Marcelle; Orden, David
  16. Agricultural policies in Vietnam By Nguyen, Hoa; Grote, Ulrike
  17. How Transition Paths Differ: Enterprise Performance in Russia and China By Bhaumik, Sumon; Estrin, Saul
  18. Inflation Persistence and Exchange Rate Regimes: Evidence from Developing Countries By Manuela Francisco; Michael Bleaney
  19. Understanding the Stock Market's Response to Monetary Policy Shocks By Johann Scharler
  20. Alleviating Environmental Degradation in the Asia-Pacific Region: International cooperation and the role of issue-linkage By Raghbendra Jha
  21. Infrastructure Performance and Reform in Developing and Transition Economies: Evidence from a Survey of Productivity Measures By Antonio Estache; Sergio Perelman; Lourdes Trujillo

  1. By: Virginie Coudert; Cecile Couharde
    Abstract: In this paper, we try to measure the size of a possible misalignment in the Chinese real exchange rate by two ways. On one hand, we address the issue of the “Balassa effect”, by which the real exchange rate of a catching-up country should appreciate. We compare China with other emerging countries, in order to assess the size of a “normal” “Balassa effect”. On the other hand, we follow the FEER (Fundamental Equilibrium Exchange Rate) approach. We use the NIGEM model for representing the foreign trade of China, the United States, the Euro area, South Korea and Japan. We calculate the real effective exchange rate that is consistent with sustainable current accounts. Both methods yield an undervaluation of the renminbi.
    Keywords: renminbi; Balassa effect; BEER; FEER
    JEL: F31 F33
    Date: 2005–01
  2. By: Cook, David; Devereux, Michael B
    Abstract: This Paper provides a quantitative investigation of the East Asian crisis of 1997-99. There are two essential features of the crisis that we focus on. These are: a) the crisis was a regional phenomenon; the depth and severity of the crisis was exacerbated by a large decline in regional demand; and b) the practice of setting export goods prices in dollars (which we document empirically) led to a powerful internal propagation effect of the crisis within the region, contributing greatly to the decline in regional trade flows. We construct a multicountry macroeconomic model with these two features, and show that it can do a reasonable job of accounting for the response of the main macroeconomic aggregates in Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand during the crisis. Without the regional dimension and dollar pricing of exports, the model fails to account for the depth and severity of the crisis.
    Keywords: east asian crisis; exchange rate; small open economy
    JEL: F40
    Date: 2004–09
  3. By: Ho, Tai-Kuang; von Hagen, Jürgen
    Abstract: Identifying banking crises is the first step in the research on determinants of banking crises. The prevailing practice is to employ market events to identify a banking crisis. Researchers justify the usage of this method on the grounds that either direct and reliable indicators of banks’ assets quality are not available, or that withdrawals of bank deposits are no longer a part of financial crises in a modern financial system with deposits insurance. Meanwhile, most researchers also admit that there are inherent inconsistency and arbitrariness associated with the events method. This paper develops an index of money market pressure to identify banking crises. We define banking crises as periods in which there is excessive demand for liquidity in the money market. We begin with the theoretical foundation of this new method and show that it is desirable, and also possible, to depend on a more objective index of money market pressure rather than market events to identify banking crises. This approach allows one to employ high frequency data in regression, and avoid the ambiguity problem in interpreting the direction of causality that most banking literature suffers. Comparing the crises dates with existing research indicates that the new method is able to identify banking crises more accurately than the events method. The two components of the index, changes in central bank funds to bank deposits ratio and changes in short-term real interest rate, are equally important in the identification of banking crises. Bank deposits, combined with central bank funds, provide valuable information on banking distress. With the newly defined crisis episodes, we examine the determinants of banking crises using data complied from 47 countries. We estimate conditional logit models that include macroeconomic, financial, and institutional variables in the explanatory variables. The results display similarities to and differences with existing research. We find that slowdown of real GDP, lower real interest rates, extremely high inflation, large fiscal deficits, and over-valued exchange rates tend to precede banking crises. The effects of monetary base growth on the probability of banking crises are negligible.
    Keywords: conditional logit model; events method; identification of banking crises; index of money market pressure
    JEL: C43 E44 G21
    Date: 2004–10
  4. By: Faini, Riccardo
    Abstract: Globalization is not only about the rise of trade, FDI, and migration. It is also about the changing linkages among these flows. The main findings of this Paper can be summarized as follows. First, at least in the 1990s, import trade liberalization fostered not only trade but also inward investment, confirming that trade and FDI toward developing countries have become largely complements. Second, the presence of a skilled labour force is a relevant factor to attract FDI. Moreover, trade policies and the stock of FDI have a positive impact on the incentives to invest in education. This set of findings highlights the possibility of a low equilibrium trap where the lack of human capital discourages FDI and inadequate investment from abroad limits the domestic incentives to acquire education. Rich countries, by encouraging skilled immigration from relatively poor countries, are definitely aggravating such a risk. Third, we find little evidence supporting the contrary argument of a brain gain, where the possibility for skilled workers to migrate abroad raises the return to education and the investment in human capital. Overall, our results highlight the need to study globalization in a fully integrated way, not just as the sum of its different components. They also show that backtracking in one area (e.g. trade) feeds negatively on other areas (e.g. FDI).
    Keywords: FDI; migration; trade
    JEL: F22 F23
    Date: 2004–10
  5. By: Eichengreen, Barry
    Abstract: This Paper considers monetary and exchange rate policy in Korea since the financial crisis of 1997-98. The Bank of Korea has adopted much of the apparatus of inflation targeting, with a band for target inflation and a Monetary Policy Report to the National Assembly. This regime has served the country well. But neither the Bank’s publications nor the statements of its Monetary Policy Committee make more than passing reference to the exchange rate. It would be surprising if in fact the exchange rate played little role in conduct of monetary policy, for in an economy as open and sensitive to foreign trade and investment as Korea, currency movements contain information useful for forecasting inflation and the output gap. My findings suggest that the Bank of Korea does care about the exchange rate – and not only because it movements provide information relevant for the inflation forecast. In addition, the central bank responds to movements in the exchange rate for other reasons, like its implications for the balance of investment in traded and nontraded goods and its implications for financial stability. My recommendations are thus for more clarity on the role of the exchange rate in the formulation and conduct of monetary policy. In particular, if the members of the Monetary Policy Committee are attentive to exchange rate movements, which is what is suggested by the evidence presented here, and especially if they care about such movements for reasons not limited to the utility of that variable for forecasting future inflation, then they should acknowledge this in their monthly press releases communicating the rationale for their decisions to the public and the markets.
    Keywords: exchange rate; inflation targeting; monetary policy; South Korea
    JEL: F10
    Date: 2004–10
  6. By: Desmet, Klaus; Fafchamps, Marcel
    Abstract: This Paper examines the spatial distribution of jobs across US counties and investigates whether sectoral employment is becoming more or less concentrated. The existing literature has found deconcentration (convergence) of employment across urban areas. Cities only cover a small part of the US though. Using county data, our results indicate that deconcentration is limited to the upper tail of the distribution. The overall picture is one of increasing concentration (divergence). While this seemingly contradicts the well-documented deconcentration in manufacturing, we show that these aggregate employment dynamics are driven by services. Non-service sectors – such as manufacturing and farming – are indeed becoming more equally spread across space, but services are becoming increasingly concentrated.
    Keywords: economic geography; ergodic distribution; spatial distribution of employment; US counties
    JEL: R11 R12
    Date: 2004–10
  7. By: Amiti, Mary; Wei, Shang-Jin
    Abstract: The recent media and political attention on service outsourcing from developed to developing countries gives the impression that outsourcing is exploding. As a result, workers in industrial countries are anxious about job losses. This Paper aims to establish what are the hypes and what are the facts. The results show that although service outsourcing has been steadily increasing it is still very low, and that in the United States and many other industrial countries ‘insourcing’ is greater than outsourcing. Using the United Kingdom as a case study, we find that job growth at a sectoral level is not negatively related to service outsourcing.
    Keywords: offshoring; outsourcing; services; trade
    JEL: F10 F20
    Date: 2004–10
  8. By: Repullo, Rafael
    Abstract: This Paper analyses the effects on ex ante risk-shifting incentives and ex post fiscal costs of three policies that are frequently used in dealing with banking crises, namely, forbearance from prudential regulations, extension of blanket deposit guarantees, and provision of unrestricted liquidity support. In the context of a simple model of information-based bank runs, where banks are funded with both insured and uninsured deposits, the paper shows that the expectation of implementation of any of these policies leads to a reduction in the interest rate of uninsured deposits and in the bank’s incentives to take risk, but increases the expected fiscal costs of the crises.
    Keywords: bank runs; bank supervision; banking crises; deposit insurance; forbearance; lender of last resort; risk-shifting incentives
    JEL: E58 G21 G28
    Date: 2004–11
  9. By: Bernardo Guimaraes (Dept. of Economics, Yale University); Stephen Morris (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: Market participants' risk attitudes, wealth and portfolio composition influence their positions in a pegged foreign currency and, therefore, may have important effects on the sustainability of currency pegs. We analyze such effects in a global game model of currency crises with continuous action choices. The model, solved in closed form, generates a rich set of theoretical predictions consistent with many popular and academic (unmodelled) speculations about the onset and timing of currency crises. The results extend linearly to a heterogeneous agent population.
    Keywords: Currency crisis, Global games, Risk aversion, Wealth, Portfolio
    JEL: F3 D8
    Date: 2003–09
  10. By: Fan, Shenggen; Chan-Kang, Connie
    Abstract: "Since 1978, China has adopted a series of economic reforms leading to rapid economic growth and poverty reduction. National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at about 9 percent per annum from 1978 to 2002, while per capita income increased by 8 percent per annum. The post-reform period was also characterized by an unprecedented decline in poverty. However, income inequality has worsened between coastal and interior provinces as well as between rural and urban areas. A number of factors contributed to this widening disparity in regional development in China, including differences in natural resources endowments, and infrastructure and human capital development... The objective of this study is to assess the impact of public infrastructure on growth and poverty reduction in China, paying a particular attention to the contribution of roads. ...The most significant finding of this study is that low quality (mostly rural) roads have benefit/cost ratios for national GDP that are about four times larger than the benefit/cost ratios for high quality roads. Even in terms of urban GDP, the benefit/cost ratios for low quality roads are much greater than those for high quality roads." from Authors' Abstract
    Keywords: Human capital ,
    Date: 2004
  11. By: Ringler, Claudia; Vu Huy, Nguyen
    Abstract: Recent water sector reforms, increased scarcity and vulnerability of existing water resources, combined with declining public funding available for large-scale infrastructure investment in the sector have led to an increased awareness by the Government of Vietnam for the need to analyze water resource allocation and use in an integrated fashion, at the basin scale, and from an economic efficiency perspective. This paper presents the development, application, and results from an integrated economic-hydrologic river basin model for the Dong Nai River Basin in southern Vietnam that attempts to address these issues. The model framework takes into account the sectoral structure of water users (agriculture, industry, hydropower, households, and the environment), the location of water-using regions, and the institutions for water allocation in the basin. Water benefit functions are developed for the major water uses subject to physical, system control, and policy constraints. Based on this modeling framework, policies that can affect water allocation and use at the basin level, including both basin-specific and general macroeconomic policies, are analyzed.
    Keywords: River basin model ,water allocation policy ,integrated assessment ,Vietnam ,Dong Nai basin ,
    Date: 2004
  12. By: Heyd, Helene; Neef, Andreas
    Abstract: "In the early 1990s, Thailand launched an ambitious program of decentralized governance, conferring greater responsibilities upon sub-district administrations and providing fiscal opportunities for local development planning. This process was reinforced by Thailand's new Constitution of 1997, which explicitly assures individuals, communities and local authorities the right to participate in the management of natural resources. Drawing on a study of water management in the Mae Sa watershed, northern Thailand, this study analyzes to what extent the constitutional right for participation has been put into practice. To this end, a stakeholder analysis was conducted in the watershed, with a focus on the local people's interests and strategies in water management and the transformation of participatory policies through government agencies at the local level. Government line departments were categorized into development- and conservation-oriented agencies. While government officers stressed the importance of stakeholder inclusion and cooperation with the local people, there is a sharp contrast between the official rhetoric and the reality on the ground. The analysis reveals that government officers, particularly in the conservation-oriented agencies, are not disposed to devolve power to lower levels due to the fear of losing their traditional mandate and persistent stereotypes about local communities' incompetence to manage water resources in a sustainable way. On their part, villagers do not perceive a tangible change in the implementation of water policies and retain a widely negative image of government officers. In conclusion, the participation of local people in development activities and in the conservation and management of natural resources seems to be currently at the stage of passive or, at best, consultative participation. In order to deal with the severely increasing water problems in northern Thailand, decision-makers have to recognize the value of participation and promote a change of government officers' attitude towards local people through training programs and incentives. Communities and individuals need to be made aware of their constitutional rights and potentials for cooperating with government agencies and participating in their projects." Authors' Abstract
    Keywords: Water Management ,Governance ,stakeholders ,Community participation ,devolution ,
    Date: 2004
  13. By: Garrett, James
    Abstract: "With urban dwellers purchasing 80 percent or more of their food, understanding urban employment is critical to designing policies and programs to address urban hunger and poverty. Reviewing the literature, but also using data from household surveys conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and others in five countries of Latin America, Asia, and Africa, this paper profiles urban employment in developing-country cities. It highlights some often-overlooked aspects of urban conditions, most especially the importance of agriculture, the continuing importance of the formal sector, and seasonality of income, even among those not connected to agriculture. It also examines the connections between poverty and employment; looks at where people work and what they do; and highlights the importance of personal networks, the informal sector, and the concerns of women. Finally, it notes some dynamic forces shaping the future of urban employment and suggests some guidelines for policies and programs." Author's Abstract
    Keywords: Hunger ,
    Date: 2004
  14. By: Mullen, Kathleen; Sun, Dongsheng; Orden, David; Gulati, Ashok
    Abstract: In many developing countries, governments rely on price-based measures (including border protection and subsidies on inputs and outputs) more than on budgetary payments to achieve agricultural policy objectives defined to include price stabilization or food self-sufficiency. Assessing the effects of these price-based measures is thus important to evaluating whether agriculture is being protected or disprotected by commodity or in the aggregate. This aspect of producer support estimates (PSEs) is simple to describe conceptually but difficult to evaluate well empirically. Developing countries may face higher international transport and port costs for imports and exports than developed countries or may have substantial internal handling, transportation and processing costs. Separating these structural effects on farmers from agricultural policy effects that drive a wedge between the domestic farmgate price and an adjusted international reference price requires extensive data and judgments. In this paper, we describe the PSE measurement issues and illustrate their importance. We estimate product-specific market price support, budget expenditures and PSEs for three important agricultural commodities (wheat, rice and corn) in India (1985-2002), using representative disaggregated state-level results, and for five commodities (wheat, rice, corn, soybeans and sugar) in China (1995-2001). The results for India suggest that ignoring factors such as internal transport costs, marketing margins and quality differences can result in inaccurate price support estimates and PSEs that may be of the wrong sign. We also explore how relaxing or changing certain standard PSE assumptions (such as altering the “scaling up” procedure or computing the PSE as a percentage of value of production at world reference prices) can have large impacts on the results. Finally, for commodities that are near self-sufficiency, we follow Byerlee and Morris (1993) and define a relevant adjusted reference price based on the relationship between an estimated autarky price and the import and export prices. We discuss this procedure and use the resulting reference prices to compute the market price support component of the PSE for India. Based on our three-commodity PSEs for India, support is largely counter-cyclical, rising when world prices are low (as in the late 1980s and 1990s) and falling when world prices strengthen (as in the mid 1990s). From our more preliminary five-commodity PSE estimates for China, a trend decline in disprotection is more evident. Further research is needed to confirm and elaborate on these results.
    Date: 2004
  15. By: Thomas, Marcelle; Orden, David
    Abstract: As in many other developing countries, the concerns about food security in Indonesia during the 1980s and early 1990s resulted in policies aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in food crops. The Government of Indonesia (GOI) combined price interventions and economic incentives to encourage agricultural production, especially of the staple crops. From 1985 to 1998, Indonesia started a series of domestic and trade reforms emanating from a combination of unilateral undertakings, the country's commitments to the WTO, and the government's agreement with the IMF following the 1997/98 financial crisis. This study computes nominal protection rates and producer support estimates (NPR and PSE) for Indonesia for the period 1985-2003 for six agricultural commodities, rice, maize, sugar, soybeans, crude palm oil, and natural rubber (representing more than two-thirds of Indonesian agricultural output) in an attempt to quantify the net effects of these policies. The NPRs and PSEs computed for Indonesia show that in spite of the reforms, the GOI has protected its agriculture over the past twenty years, although not uniformly across commodities. Although the reforms went a long way in reducing trade and domestic regulations on agricultural products, the study results demonstrate a return to protection for some commodities in recent years.
    Date: 2004
  16. By: Nguyen, Hoa; Grote, Ulrike
    Abstract: Since 1986, Vietnam started to move from a centrally-planned towards a market-oriented system. It underwent several major economic and trade reforms – a process which is still not completed. At the same time, it also started to open its economy. Vietnam has become a member of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), signed several bilateral trade agreements and is currently negotiating accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). First positive results of the reform process became visible in the early 1990s when poverty declined to a large extent. Since then, the Vietnamese agricultural sector has also experienced high growth and impressive export achievements. The country changed from a food importer to one of the major exporters worldwide. The question arises to what extent support policies contributed to this growth, especially of the agricultural sector. In order to answer this question, domestic and trade policies in the agricultural sector are analysed and the market price support (MPS) and producer support estimates (PSEs) are calculated. To account for the special conditions in Vietnam, the MPS and PSEs are adjusted for country- and commodity-specific factors like transportation costs, marketing margins and the quality difference of exportables (or importables) at the border and domestically. The selected agricultural commodities for which the MPS and PSEs are estimated include rice, coffee, tea, rubber, pepper, sugar, groundnut, cashew nut and pig meat. These nine commodities are the main agricultural products and exportables of Vietnam. Their shares in total output exceed 70% allowing for a generalization of the calculated PSEs, thus roughly representing the whole agricultural sector. The finding is that most agricultural products were taxed in the mid 1980s until the mid 1990s. This was often due to large inefficiencies in the production and processing of agricultural commodities, the dominance and monopoly position of the state-owned sector, restrictive trade policies like import and export quotas and licenses, and distorted markets and prices in the country. The domestic reform process, the opening of the economy since the early 1990s, and the shift from an import-substitution strategy towards export-promotion, however, impacted on the gaps between the domestic and international prices. Thus, since the mid 1990s, the support of agriculture increased - but still reaching only rather low levels. At its peak, the %PSE for the agricultural sector was 24.2% which is moderate compared with other countries. The low level of protection implies that Vietnam may not face excessive difficulties in its further international integration. This study of Vietnam is the third comprehensive review conducted within an IFPRI project on understanding and assessing domestic and trade policies in the agricultural sector in developing countries. The data are meant to deliver a basis for further trade-related research to be conducted in the future.
    Keywords: Agricultural policies ,Markets ,Free trade ,Trade agreements ,World Trade Organization ,Poverty ,
    Date: 2004
  17. By: Bhaumik, Sumon (Queen’s University Belfast); Estrin, Saul (London Business School and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: We use enterprise data to analyse and contrast the determinants of enterprise performance in China and Russia. We find that in China, enterprise growth and efficiency is associated with rapid increases in factor inputs, but not correlated with ownership or institutional factors. However, in Russia, enterprise growth is not associated with increases in factor quantity (except for labor) or quality. The main determinants of company performance are instead demand and institutional factors at a regional level. We explore possible interpretations of these results, including the impact of institutional and managerial quality.
    Keywords: enterprise performance, privatization in Russia and China
    JEL: D23 L22 O12 P31
    Date: 2005–01
  18. By: Manuela Francisco (Universidade do Minho); Michael Bleaney (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: Using data for 102 developing countries, it is shown that inflation persistence is particularly high in countries with severe inflationary problems, and particularly low in countries on hard pegs. Inflation persistence is similar under floating and soft pegs.
    Keywords: Inflation, persistence, exchange rates
    JEL: E31 F41
    Date: 2005
  19. By: Johann Scharler (Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Economic Analysis Division)
    Abstract: This paper explores whether a limited participation model of the monetary transmission mechanism can account for the observed re- sponse of stock market returns to monetary policy shocks. It is found that the model generates responses that broadly match the empiri- cal counterparts, although the magnitudes are somewhat too small. Moreover, the results suggest that the increased exposure of bank- dependent ¯rms to liquidity shocks cannot fully account for the het- erogenous responses of returns that are observed across ¯rms.
    Keywords: limited participation, asset pricing, stock market
    JEL: E4 E5 G1
    Date: 2004–12–29
  20. By: Raghbendra Jha
    Abstract: This paper argues that the most important environmental challenge within the Asia-Pacific region is that of uninternalised externalities. While developed countries have put in place mechanisms of governance and regulatory structures that internalise most of their domestic environmental external effects the same cannot be said of domestic environmental external effects of developing countries and transnational environmental external effects, although these are some of the most pressing environmental problems facing the countries in the region. Whereas developing countries are paying a high price for uninternalised domestic externalities they and the developed countries have an important stake in finding internalisation solutions to transnational environmental externalities. The paper argues that absence of linkage among these issues and other outcomes of keen interest to developing countries (viz. trade negotiations and the possibility of side payments) has made progress in this area impossible. Hence there is a case for institutional innovation to facilitate Coasian deal-making among these countries through issue linkage.
    Keywords: Length (pages): 45
    Date: 2004–12
  21. By: Antonio Estache; Sergio Perelman; Lourdes Trujillo
    Abstract: Estache, Perelman, and Trujillo review about 80 studies on electricity and gas, water and sanitation, and rail and ports (with a footnote on telecommunications) in developing countries. The main policy lesson is that there is a difference in the relevance of ownership for efficiency between utilities and transport in developing countries. In transport, private operators have tended to perform better than public operators. For utilities, ownership often does not matter as much as sometimes argued. Most cross-country studies find no statistically significant difference in efficiency scores between public and private providers. As for the country-specific studies, some do find differences in performance over time but these differences tend to matter much less than a large number of other variables. Across sectors, private operators functioning in a competitive environment or regulated under price caps or hybrid regulatory regimes tend to catch up best practice faster than public operators. There is a very strong case to push regulators in developing and transition economies toward a more systematic reliance on yardstick competition in a sector in which residual monopoly powers tend to be common. This paper—a product of the Office of the Vice President, Infrastructure Network—is part of a larger effort in the network to document the state of the sector.
    Keywords: Infrastructure; Private Sector Development; Public Sector Management
    Date: 2005–02–08

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