nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2005‒07‒25
seven papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Housing Price Dispersion: an empirical investigation By Charles Ka Yui Leung; Youngman Chun Fai Leong; Siu Kei Wong
  2. Chinatown: Transaction Costs in Water Rights Exchanges. The Owens Valley Transfer to Los Angeles. By Gary D. Libecap
  3. Trade Policy Reforms and the Structure of Protection in Vietnam By Prema-chandra Athukorala
  4. Production Fragmentation and Trade Integration: East Asia in a Global Context By Prema-chandra Athukorala; Nobuaki Yamashita
  5. Accessing Formal Credit: Social Capital versus ‘Social Position’ (Lesson from a Javanese Village) By Aloysius Gunadi Brata
  6. Putting a Smiley Face on the Dragon: Wal-Mart as Catalyst to U.S.-China Trade By Emek Basker; Pham Hoang Van
  7. Deflation and Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity: Evidence from Japan By Kengo Yasui; Shinji Takenaka

  1. By: Charles Ka Yui Leung; Youngman Chun Fai Leong; Siu Kei Wong
    Abstract: The efficiency of a market is challenged when price dispersion occurs. Previous studies focused on non-durable consumption goods. This study extends the analysis to the case of residential property, whose transactions are dominated by a second-hand market with many potential buyers and sellers. We demonstrate that housing price dispersion exists, and the degree of dispersion changes systematically with some macroeconomic factors, though the second and the third moment of the price distribution react differently to the macroeconomic variables. Some directions for future research are suggested.
    Keywords: price dispersion, search models, macroeconomic factor, time aggregation
    JEL: C32 D61 D83 E30 R31
    Date: 2005–07
  2. By: Gary D. Libecap
    Abstract: I re-examine the notorious Owens Valley water transfer to Los Angeles, which is a pivotal episode in the political economy of contemporary western water allocation. Negotiated between 1905 and 1935, it remains one of the largest voluntary water sales in U.S. history. It made the growth of semi-arid Los Angeles possible, increasing the city’s water supply by over 4 times. Water rights were bundled with the land so that the Los Angeles Water Board had to purchase nearly 1,000 small farms. The negotiations between property owners and the agency were complicated. There often were lengthy disputes over farm characteristics, amounts of water conveyed, and valuation of both land and water. Bilateral monopoly emerged between sellers’ pools and the Board. During bargaining impasses, the aqueduct was periodically dynamited. Today, the outcome of the Owens Valley water exchange is viewed as very one sided--one of “theft” by Los Angeles. As such, it discourages contemporary transfers of water from agricultural to urban areas. Using new qualitative and quantitative evidence, especially for 1924-34, when most water-bearing land was purchased, I examine the sources of bargaining conflicts, the timing of sales, the distribution of the gains from trade, and offer a new assessment of the results of the transfer. Implications for current water rights negotiations are drawn.
    Date: 2005–06
  3. By: Prema-chandra Athukorala
    Abstract: This paper examines the current state of the trade policy regime in Vietnam against the backdrop of market-oriented policy reforms undertaken over the past one-and-a-half decades. The core of the paper is an in-depth analysis of the structure of protection, focussing on both incentives for import-competing production the bias in the incentive structure against export production compared to import-competing production. It is found that, despite notable reform efforts, the structure of protection in Vietnam is still out of line with that of the major trading nations in the region, in terms of the level and the inter-industry dispersion of nominal and effective protection rates. There is a clear ani-export bias in the incentive structure, even though the degree of the bias has considerably declined over the years. There is no evidence to justify the existing protection structure on grounds of infant industry protection or employment generation.
    Keywords: Length (pages): 45
    Date: 2005–04
  4. By: Prema-chandra Athukorala; Nobuaki Yamashita
    Abstract: This paper examines the implications of international production fragmentation for analysing global and regional trade patterns, with special emphasis on countries in East Asia. It is found that, while 'fragmentation trade' has generally grown faster than total world manufacturing trade, the degree of dependence of East Asia on this new form of international specialisation is proportionately larger compared to North America and Europe. International production fragmentation has certainly played a pivotal role in continuing dynamism of the East Asian economies and increasing intra-regional economic interdependence. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that this new form of international exchange has contributed to lessoning the regions dependence on the global economy. On the contrary, growth dynamism based on vertical specialisation depends inexorably on extra-regional trade in final good, and this dependence has in fact increased over the years.
    Keywords: production fragmentation, vertical specialisation, regional integration Length (pages): 48
    JEL: F15 F23 O53
    Date: 2005
  5. By: Aloysius Gunadi Brata (Research Institute, University of Atma Jaya Yogyakarta)
    Abstract: Low access to formal credit persists in most of developing economies also in Indonesia. Most of households especially in rural areas do not familiar with formal credit. Therefore, formal credit institution needs a mediation or substitution. Recent studies argue that social capital could to a better flow of information between creditors and borrowers and hence less adverse selection and moral hazard in the market for credit. The guarantee of groups and pressure by social network also are important techniques to improve credit performance. The relation between social capital and credit access is an interesting issue since the promotion of formal credit facilities in rural areas is argued as an important policy in reducing poverty level. The aim of this paper is to describe the connection between social capital and access to formal credit, especially from commercial banking in the case of a Javanese village. To describe the connection, this paper will seek what are the different characteristics between household that having access to commercial credit and the other group of households. However, since there is also an argument that social capital does not guarantee poor people to access formal credit, this paper also analyse other important variable namely ‘social position’ of the head of household in their rural community.
    Keywords: social capital, rural credit, formal credit, ‘social position’, Java, Indonesia
    JEL: G
    Date: 2005–07–17
  6. By: Emek Basker (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia); Pham Hoang Van (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia)
    Abstract: Retail chains and imports from developing countries have grown sharply over the past 25 years. Wal-Mart’s chain, which currently accounts for 10% of U.S. imports from China, grew 10-fold and its sales 90-fold over this period, while U.S. imports from China increased 30-fold. We relate these trends using a model in which scale economies in retail interact with scale economies in the import process. Combined, these scale economies amplify the effects of technological change and trade liberalization. Falling trade barriers increase imports not only through direct reduction of input costs but also through an expanded chain and higher investment in technology. This mechanism can explain why a surge in U.S. imports followed relatively modest tariff declines and why Wal-Mart abandoned its “Buy American” campaign in the 1990s. Also consistent with these facts, we show that tariff reductions have a greater effect the more advanced the retailer’s technology. The model has implications for the pace of the product cycle and sheds light on the recent apparent acceleration in foreign outsourcing.
    Keywords: Wal-Mart, Trade, Increasing Returns
    JEL: L11 L81 F12
    Date: 2005–07–20
  7. By: Kengo Yasui (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University); Shinji Takenaka (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)
    Abstract: This study empirically analyzed downward nominal wage rigidity using time-series cross-industry data from 1981 to 2002, a period which included deflation. We found that nominal wages remained rigid to downward pressure by expected deflation and labor-market tightness. Estimations according to worker age categories revealed downward wage rigidity with deflationary pressure for most age categories. Wage rigidity during labor-market tightness was greater for younger workers.
    Keywords: wage rigidity, nominal wage, deflation, unemployment, Japan
    JEL: E24 E31 J30
    Date: 2005–07

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