nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2008‒05‒17
sixteen papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Socio-metabolic Transitions in Developing Asia By Heinz Schandl; Marina Fischer-Kowalski; Clemens Grunbuhel; Fridolin Krausmann
  2. Managing Capital Flows: The Case of the Philippines By Yap, Josef T.
  3. Banking Reform in China: An Assessment in Macroeconomic Perspective By Beoy Kui Ng
  4. Volatility Spillovers, Interdependence and Comovements: A Markov Switching Approach By Giampiero Gallo; Edoardo Otranto
  5. Hepatitis B Does Not Explain Male-Biased Sex Ratios in China By Emily Oster; Gang Chen
  6. Impact of Microfinance on Rural Households in the Philippines By Kondo, Toshio; Orbeta, Aniceto C.; Dingcong, Clarence G.; Infantado, Christine
  7. Islamic finance education at graduate level: Current position and challenges By Hasan, Zubair
  8. Concepts and Measures of Agency By Sabina Alkire
  10. Multidimensional Poverty Measures from an Information Theory Perspective By Maria Ana Lugo
  11. BCIM Economic Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges By Mustafizur Rahman; Habibur Rahman; Wasel Bin Shadat
  12. The Role of Families in Shaping Youth Social Participation: Evidence from Singapore By Irene Y.H. Ng; Kong Weng Ho; K.C. Ho
  13. Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in Singapore and the United States By Irene YH Ng; Xiaoyi Shen; Kong Weng Ho
  14. Autarkic Indeterminacy and Trade Determinacy By Nicholas C.S. Sim; Kong-Weng Ho
  15. Forecasting Business Cycles in a Small Open Economy: A Dynamic Factor Model for Singapore By Hwee Kwan Chow; Keen Meng Choy
  16. Indeterminacy and Market Instability By Nicholas C.S. Sim; Kong-Weng Ho

  1. By: Heinz Schandl; Marina Fischer-Kowalski; Clemens Grunbuhel; Fridolin Krausmann (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia)
    Abstract: A possible sustainability transition in developing Asia needs to complement the ongoing transition from an agrarian to an industrial socio-ecological regime. As is known from other world regions, an agrarian-industrial transition involves a major increase in material and energy flows (corresponding to a 2-4 fold increase in the demand for raw materials and energy). The socio-metabolic profile of the South-East Asian region still shows relatively low material and energy consumption per capita, suggesting that major growth may follow. Infrastructures that are closely bound-up in bulk material flows (transport, energy and food sectors) will be critical to future developments. The paper illustrates the challenge and potential solutions from a number of case studies.
    Keywords: socio-ecological regime, metabolic profile, industrial transformation, developing Asia, sustainability transition
    JEL: Q01 Q56 N50 O11
    Date: 2008–05
  2. By: Yap, Josef T.
    Abstract: <p>During the past five years or so, most East Asian economies including the Philippines experienced a rising level of foreign exchange reserves and rapidly appreciating currencies both in nominal and real terms. One cause has been the resurgence of capital flows, which makes the issue of how to manage them relevant. However, the experience with regard to capital flows among East Asian economies is mixed and the level of capital flows to the region is proportionally less than that prior to the 1997 crisis.</p> <p>Another reason is the rise in current account surpluses. The Philippines has experienced both a return of capital inflows and a more favorable current account balance, with the latter largely due to remittances from overseas workers. However, like many other regional currencies, the appreciation of the peso is not commensurate to movements of the BOP accounts. Currencies in the region are reacting primarily to the general weakness of the US dollar, and global uncertainties have contributed to weak investment which in turn is another major reason behind the current account surplus of several economies including the Philippines. Policy measures at the domestic level can focus on reviving private investment, particularly channeling overseas remittances to more productive investment. Meanwhile, East Asian financial and monetary cooperation can also result in a unified front aimed at overhauling the unipolar global financial system.</p>
    Keywords: foreign exchange inflows, currency appreciation, unipolar global financial system
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Beoy Kui Ng (Division of Economics,School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
    Abstract: China has been delaying its adoption of a flexible exchange rate system with free capital flows. The main excuse is that its financial sector is still in its fragile stage and is not able to withstand any external shocks. A big bang approach towards such liberalization will only lead to financial crisis as observed by experiences of many Asia-Pacific countries during the Asian Financial Crisis. With this in mind, this paper attempts to uncover the approach and strategies adopted by China in its banking reform since 1978 and then assess these reform measures in macroeconomic perspective. The paper argues that since China is still lingering on export-oriented strategy in promoting economic growth and monetary independence for demand management is still a long way to go, it is still in China’s best interest not to adopt a flexible exchange rate system at this point of time. As to capital account liberalization, the main focus is to engineer a controlled and systematic capital outflows through outward investment in particular portfolio investment. At the micro level, China should continue its banking reforms until the financial sector is strong enough to withstand the severe pressure of globalization. By then, will China, with its matured financial system be ready to consider the adoption of a flexible exchange system with free capital flows.
    Keywords: China, banking reform, non-performing loans, state-owned enterprises, corporate governance, regulation and supervision, financial liberalization
    JEL: E44 E5 G2 O16 O5
    Date: 2007–07
  4. By: Giampiero Gallo (Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica "G. Parenti"); Edoardo Otranto (Università di Sassari, Dipartimento di Economia, Impresa e Regolamentazione)
    Abstract: The transmission mechanisms of volatility between markets can be characterized within a new Markov Switching bivariate model where the state of one variable feeds into the transition probability of the state of the other. A number of model restrictions and hypotheses can be tested to stress the role of one market relative to another (spillover, interdependence, comovement, independence, Granger non causality). The model is estimated on the weekly high--low range of five Asian markets, assuming a central (but not necessarily dominant) role for Hong Kong. The results show plausible market characterizations over the long run with a spillover from Hong Kong to Korea and Thailand, interdependence with Malaysia and comovement with Singapore.
    Keywords: Markov Switching, multiple chains, volatility, spillover effect, comovements.
    JEL: C32 C52 C53
    Date: 2007–10
  5. By: Emily Oster; Gang Chen
    Abstract: Earlier work (Oster, 2005) has argued, based on existing medical literature and analysis of cross country data and vaccination programs, that parents who are carriers of hepatitis B have a higher offspring sex ratio (more boys) than non-carrier parents. Further, since a number of Asian countries, China in particular, have high hepatitis B carrier rates, Oster (2005) suggested that hepatitis B could explain a large share { approximately 50% { of Asia's \missing women". Subsequent work has questioned this conclusion. Most notably, Lin and Luoh (2008) use data from a large cohort of births in Taiwan and find only a very tiny effect of maternal hepatitis carrier status on offspring sex ratio. Although this work is quite conclusive for the case of mothers, it leaves open the possibility that paternal carrier status is driving higher sex offspring sex ratios. To test this, we collected data on the offspring gender for a cohort of 67,000 people in China who are being observed in a prospective cohort study of liver cancer; approximately 15% of these individuals are hepatitis B carriers. In this sample, we find no effect of either maternal or paternal hepatitis B carrier status on offspring sex. Carrier parents are no more likely to have male children than non-carrier parents. This finding leads us to conclude that hepatitis B cannot explain skewed sex ratios in China.
    JEL: J1 J16
    Date: 2008–05
  6. By: Kondo, Toshio; Orbeta, Aniceto C.; Dingcong, Clarence G.; Infantado, Christine
    Abstract: <p>This paper reports on the impact evaluation study of the Rural Microenterprise Finance Project (RMFP) in the Philippines. RMFP aimed to support efforts of the Government of the Philippines to strengthen rural financial institutions by assisting organizations that employed the Grameen Bank Approach (GBA) in providing credit to the poor. The project was implemented by the People’s Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC) and funded by the Asian Development Bank.</p> <p>The evaluation uses a quasi-experimental design with incoming clients of randomly selected participating microfinance institutions as the comparison group. An important innovation in the study is the inclusion of the appropriate number of former clients among the treatment group. Qualified nonparticipating households provide the control for area effects. The impact estimation uses the difference-in-difference estimation technique which effectively controls for the known sources of biases namely: nonrandom program participation (sample selection), nonrandom program placement, and nonrandom drop-out.</p> <p>The results led the authors to recommend that for microfinance programs to be effective as a poverty-alleviation tool there is a need to review and constantly monitor the effectiveness of the targeting procedures. In addition, it was pointed out that there may be a need to assist the poor in selecting appropriate projects that not only ensure loan repayment but also generate ample profit as well.</p>
    Keywords: microfinance, Philippines, impact evaluation, quasi-experimental design
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Hasan, Zubair
    Abstract: Over the past few decades Islamic finance has been the fastest growing segment of the global system. The fast growing market has necessitated corresponding expansion of education and training facilities to increase appropriately the supply of skilled manpower. This called for a stock taking of the adequacy and suitability of the existing educational and training facilities in several directions. IRTI has launched a project to accomplish this work. The present working paper looks at the range, sufficiency and quality of education in Islamic finance at the graduate level. It uses Malaysia as an illustrative case because the country is in the forefront of this development and has made several innovations and pioneering efforts in the field. This work finds that the graduate level finance education is not currently in a very satisfactory state. This is partly reflected in the increasing departure of financing expedients from the major goals of the Islamic system. The difference between the legality of transactions and their permissibility is usually ignored giving rise to perilous divisions at the juridical level. Validation of mixed banking opened the doors for convergence with the mainstream presumably to the disadvantage of Islamic finance long run, in education also. Some other points of significance that emanate from the foregoing discussion are in brief as under. 1. The unidirectional convergence of Islamic finance with the mainstream in practice is directing its educational approach and structure as well. In both cases it has some immediate advantages but has also potential to promote divisive and deviant tendencies in the area of Islamic finance. There already is some evidence on the point and has to be guarded against. 2. There is much diversity in the academic programmes and course structures in the area of Islamic finance within and between public institutions. Some degree of standardization with flexibility margins is desirable, feasible as well. Establishment of layered mutual consultation bodies and sharing of information may help. 3. Creation of research environment, foundational infrastructures based on positive filtering approach, sharing of knowledge and experience, cooperative teaching and ample funding may help build the critical mass to speed up research and build skills in the area of education. 4. Since the total number of students seeking doctoral degrees is not very large, their admission may be restricted to selected institutions where faculty and facilities could be strengthened to promote excellence. This will also allow pooling of teachers coupled with stricter screening of the students. The final product could thus be improved at reduced cost. 5. Academic administration must in general synchronize with academic hierarchy. Contribution to knowledge, research and supervision ought to be recognize and appropriately rewarded strictly on merit. 6. There should be arrangement for preparing reading material integrating mainstream positions and Islamic requirements. Classificatory approach that has mostly been followed so far has to go. Teachers should invariably be associated, rather lead such projects. The effort would produce Shari’ah literate economists. Advisory boards are today exclusively loaded with Shari’ah scholars who are often poor economists. Having both fuqha and economists on the boards would improve compliance. . This could have helped to avoid the controversy and confusion as is found today in the case of Sukuk markets.
    Keywords: Education; Islamic finance; Convergence consequences; Supervision; Curricula structures; Course designs; Private sector role; Critical mass; Western dominance
    JEL: I22
    Date: 2008
  8. By: Sabina Alkire
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new methodology for multidimensional poverty measurement consisting of: (i) an identification method ?k that extends the traditional intersection and union approaches, and (ii) a class of poverty measures M? that satisfies a range of desirable properties including decomposability. Our identification step makes use of two forms of cutoffs: first, a cutoff within each dimension to determine whether a person is deprived in that dimension; second, a cutoff across dimensions that identifies the poor by counting the number of dimensions in which a person is deprived. The aggregation step employs the FGT measures, appropriately adjusted to account for multidimensionality. The identification method is particularly well suited for use with ordinal data, as is the first of our measures, the adjusted headcount ratio. We provide illustrative examples using data from Indonesia and the US to show how our methodology might be used in practice.
    Date: 2008–01
  9. By: Al-Amin, Abul Quasem; Abdul Hamid , Jaafar; Chamhuri , Siwar
    Abstract: This study analyzes the macroeconomic effects of limiting carbon emissions using computable general equilibrium (CGE) model in the Malaysian economy. Doing so, we developed an environmental computable general equilibrium model and investigate carbon tax policy responses in the economy applying exogenously different degrees of carbon tax into the model. Three simulations were carried out using a Malaysian Social Accounting Matrix. The carbon tax policy illustrates that a 1.21% reduction of carbon emission reduces the nominal GDP by 0.82% and exports by 2.08%; a 2.34% reduction of carbon emission reduces the nominal GDP by 1.90% and exports by 3.97%and a 3.40% reduction of carbon emission reduces the nominal GDP by 3.17% and exports by 5.71%. Imposition of successively higher carbon tax results in increased government revenue from baseline by 26.67%, 53.07% and 79.28% respectively. However, fixed capital investment increased in scenario 1a (1st) by 0.43% but decreased in scenarios 1b (2nd) and 1c (3rd) by 0.26% and 1.79% respectively from the baseline. According to our findings policy-makes should consider initial (1st) carbon tax policy. This policy results in achieving reasonably good environmental impacts without losing the investment, fixed capital investment, investment share of nominal GDP and government revenue.
    Keywords: Emission; Environmental General Equilibrium; Malaysian Economy
    JEL: C68 Q56 B22
    Date: 2008–05–12
  10. By: Maria Ana Lugo
    Abstract: This paper proposes to use an information theory approach to the design of multidimensional poverty indices. Traditional monetary approaches to poverty rely on the strong assumption that all relevant attributes of well-being are perfectly substitutable. Based on the idea of the essentiality of some attributes, scholars have recently suggested multidimensional poverty indices where the existence of a trade-off between attributes is relevant only for individuals who are below a poverty threshold in all of them (Bourguignon and Chakravarty 2003, Tsui 2002). The present paper proposes a method which encompasses both approaches and, moreover, it opens the door to an intermediate position which allows, to a certain extent, for substitution of attributes even in the case in which one or more (but not all) dimensions are above the set threshold. An application using individual well-being data from Indonesian households in 2000 is presented in order to compare the results under the different approaches.
    Date: 2008–05
  11. By: Mustafizur Rahman; Habibur Rahman; Wasel Bin Shadat
    Keywords: Economic coperation, bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar
    Date: 2007–09
  12. By: Irene Y.H. Ng (Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore, Singapore); Kong Weng Ho (Division of Economics, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore); K.C. Ho (Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore, Singapore)
    Abstract: Youth participation in social groups is important in developing skills and experience for successful transition to adulthood. What kinds of families do youth who are active in social groups and who take on leadership positions come from? Using data from the National Youth Survey 2005, this research studies the social participation of Singaporean youth aged 15 -18. Through probit regression analysis, it examines how youth participation in Singapore is associated with two types of family characteristics. First, it examines the role of maternal education. As a proxy for social class, maternal education represents the roles of cultural capital formation and concerted involvement by middle class parents. Second, it studies the role of family challenge and support. Maternal education is found to predict both high participation and leadership. While additional family challenge induces greater participation, family support increases participation only when the level of support is high.
    Keywords: youth participation; family challenge; family support; social class
    Date: 2008–01
  13. By: Irene YH Ng (Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore, Singapore); Xiaoyi Shen (Department of Social Work, National University of Singapore, Singapore); Kong Weng Ho (Division of Economics, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
    Abstract: This study compared intergenerational earnings mobility in Singapore and the United States by replicating the limitations in the Singapore National Youth Survey on the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics. The mean estimated earnings elasticities are almost identical: 0.26 in Singapore and 0.27 in the United States. Transformed to 0.45 and 0.47 respectively to reflect permanent status, mobility in the two countries is moderately low compared internationally. The finding of similar mobility is not surprising given that the economic realities, welfare systems, education regimes, and labor structures in the two countries are similar. Policy makers face the daunting challenge of overcoming immobility and inequality while maintaining global competitiveness.
    Keywords: Intergenerational earnings mobility; Singapore; United States
    JEL: J62 C81
    Date: 2008–03
  14. By: Nicholas C.S. Sim (Department of Economics, Boston College, USA); Kong-Weng Ho (Division of Economics,School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
    Abstract: We extend the model of Nishimura and Shimomura (2002) to consider a two-country framework where under autarky indeterminacy arises in one country but determinacy in the other, and show that indeterminacy could be eliminated when trade takes place between the two.
    Keywords: Indeterminacy, Trade, Two-Country Framework.
    JEL: E32 F00 F11 F43
    Date: 2007–06
  15. By: Hwee Kwan Chow (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, Singapore); Keen Meng Choy (Department of Economics, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
    Abstract: We apply multivariate statistical methods to a large dataset of Singapore’s macroeconomic variables and global economic indicators with the objective of forecasting business cycles in a small open economy. The empirical results suggest that three common factors are present in the time series at the quarterly frequency, which can be interpreted as world, regional and domestic economic cycles. This leads us to estimate a factor-augmented vector autoregressive (FAVAR) model for the purpose of optimally forecasting real economic activity in Singapore. By taking explicit account of the common factor dynamics, we find that iterative forecasts generated by this model are significantly more accurate than direct multi-step predictions based on the identified factors as well as forecasts from univariate and vector autoregressions.
    Keywords: business cycles; principal components; dynamic factor model; factor-augmented VAR; forecasting; Singapore
    Date: 2008–02
  16. By: Nicholas C.S. Sim (Department of Economics, Boston College, USA); Kong-Weng Ho (Division of Economics,School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
    Abstract: This note shows that indeterminacy arising from an economy exhibiting production with social constant returns to scale may be related to the instability of the consumption goods market equilibrium. Furthermore, trade does not contribute to indeterminacy; indeterminacy arises becasue each country’s equilibrium path is already indeterminate before trade.
    Keywords: Indeterminacy, Market Instability
    JEL: E32 F00 F11 F43
    Date: 2007–05

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