nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2009‒06‒03
nine papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. An Analysis of SAFTA in the Context of Bangladesh By Md. Joynal Abdin
  2. Reducing methane emissions from irrigated rice: By Wassmann, Reiner; Hosen, Yasukazu; Sumfleth, Kay
  3. Is the Washington Consensus Dead? By Degol Hailu
  4. Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) on the Remittances Market: Money Transfer Activity and Savings Mobilisation. By Ritha Sukadi
  5. Ethnic Networks, Information, and International Trade: Revisiting the Evidence By Gabriel Felbermayr; Benjamin Jung; Farid Toubal
  6. Estimation of Food Demand from Household Survey Data in Vietnam. By Linh Vu Hoang
  7. Access to Water in the Slums of the Developing World By Hulya Dagdeviren; Simon A. Robertson
  8. The importance of property rights in climate change mitigation: By Markelova, Helen; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth
  9. Documentos IPEA/CEPAL Textos de Apoio - O Financiamento Externo no Ciclo Recente da Economia Brasileira By Ricardo P. Câmara Leal; André L. Carvalhal da Silva

  1. By: Md. Joynal Abdin (Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI))
    Abstract: One of the main economic reasons behind regional trade blocks is to allow their regional members to benefit from economic cooperation and comparative advantages. In 1980, Bangladesh had suggested a regional cooperative body of South Asian leaders, which then led to the establishment of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 1985, the adoption of the SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) in 1993, and the agreement on the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) in 2004. This paper focuses on a review of the progress made with SAFTA, what Bangladesh’s prospects are in SAFTA, and how SAFTA can be made more active. It provides the historical background about the various initiatives within South Asia, reviews the actual trade data, and reviews the main trade restrictions within SAFTA. It also provides a set of recommendations based on this analysis.
    Keywords: Bangladesh, trade, SAFTA, regional trade blocks
    Date: 2009–05
  2. By: Wassmann, Reiner; Hosen, Yasukazu; Sumfleth, Kay
    Abstract: Rice is grown on more than 140 million hectares worldwide and is the most heavily consumed staple food on earth. Ninety percent of the world's rice is produced and consumed in Asia, and 90 percent of rice land is—at least temporarily—flooded. The unique semiaquatic nature of the rice plant allows it to grow productively in places no other crop could exist, but it is also the reason for its emissions of the major greenhouse gas (GHG), methane. Methane emissions from rice fields are determined mainly by water regime and organic inputs, but they are also influenced by soil type, weather, tillage management, residues, fertilizers, and rice cultivar. Flooding of the soil is a prerequisite for sustained emissions of methane. Recent assessments of methane emissions from irrigated rice cultivation estimate global emissions for the year 2000 at a level corresponding to 625 million metric tons (mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Midseason drainage (a common irrigation practice adopted in major rice growing regions of China and Japan) and intermittent irrigation (common in northwest India) greatly reduce methane emissions. Similarly, rice environments with an insecure supply of water, namely rainfed rice, have a lower emission potential than irrigated rice. Organic inputs stimulate methane emissions as long as fields remain flooded. Therefore, organic inputs should be applied to aerobic soil in an effort to reduce methane emission. In addition to management factors, methane emissions are also affected by soil parameters and climate.
    Keywords: Climate change, rice, Agricultural research,
    Date: 2009
  3. By: Degol Hailu (UNDP SURF)
    Abstract: The recent G20 meeting in London elevated the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to a new level. Its lending capacity was tripled to US$750 billion. In the aftermath of World War II, the IMF was established to deal with declining commodity prices and deteriorating international trade. During the oil price shocks of the 1970s the IMF became lender of last resort, mainly to countries with balance of payments problems. The debt crisis of the early 1980s in Latin America gave the Fund further impetus. By the mid 1980s the IMF and the World Bank had become policy architects in low-income countries. The 1998 Asian financial crisis brought the IMF to the forefront of crisis management. In 2009, we are again at another milestone?the Fund is back with even greater influence. (...)
    Keywords: Is the Washington Consensus Dead?
    Date: 2009–04
  4. By: Ritha Sukadi (Centre Emile Bernheim, CERMi, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels.)
    Abstract: This paper is a first attempt to empirically measure the impact of a money transfer activity on MFIs’ savings mobilisation. After analysing the opportunities for MFIs to succeed in transforming remittances receivers into clients, the paper empirically tests whether MFIs operating on the remittances market have a significantly higher level of savings than others, thanks to their money transfer activity. After building our variable of interest (a dummy for the money transfer activity) based on the Mixmarket website (for the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia and Africa), we run a cross-section regression for the year 2006 between the “savings over assets” ratio as explained variable and a set of explaining variables, including our variable of interest. We find a positive and significant coefficient for the money transfer activity dummy.
    Keywords: savings, migrants’ savings, remittances, microfinance institutions (MFIs), money transfer activity.
    JEL: G21 O15 O16 O17
    Date: 2009–05
  5. By: Gabriel Felbermayr; Benjamin Jung; Farid Toubal
    Abstract: Influential empirical work by Rauch and Trindade (REStat, 2002) finds that Chinese ethnic networks of the magnitude observed in Southeast Asia increase bilateral trade by at least 60%. We argue that this estimate is upward biased due to omitted variable bias. Moreover, it is partly related to a preference effect rather than to enforcement and/or the availability of information. Applying a theory-based gravity model to ethnicity data for 1980 and 1990, and focusing on pure network effects, we find that the Chinese network leads to a more modest amount of trade creation of about 15%. Using new data on bilateral stocks of migrants from the World Bank for the year of 2000, we extend the analysis to all potential ethnic networks. We find, i.a., evidence for a Polish, a Turkish, a Mexican, or an Indian network. While confirming the existence of a Chinese network, its trade creating potential is dwarfed by other ethnic networks.
    Keywords: Gravity model, international trade,network effects, international migration. regression
    JEL: F22 F12
  6. By: Linh Vu Hoang (Center for Agricultural Policy, Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes food consumption patterns of Vietnamese households, using a complete demand system and socio-demographic information. Demand elasticities are estimated using the AIDS model and the latest Vietnamese household survey data in 2006. The results indicate that food consumption pattern in Vietnam are affected by income, price as well as socioeconomic and geographic factors. All food has positive expenditure elasticities and negative own-price elasticities. In particular, rice has mean expenditure elasticity of 0.36 and mean own-price elasticity of -0.80. Thus, an increase in the price in rice by one percent will reduce rice consumption by 0.8 percent, on average. On the other hand, an increase in the income by 1 percent leads to an increase in rice demand by 0.36 percent. It indicates that food consumption in urban and rural areas, and among regions and income groups are different. It points out that targeted food policies should be formulated based on specific food demand patterns in the groups.
    Keywords: Vietnam, food consumption, food demand, AIDS, elasticity
    Date: 2009
  7. By: Hulya Dagdeviren (University of Hertfordshire); Simon A. Robertson (University of Hertfordshire)
    Abstract: According to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), 924 million people lived in slums in 2001. Population growth in these settlements is much greater than in other urban areas. The estimates suggest that this figure may rise to 1.5 billion by 2020 (Payne, 2005). This rapid increase is expected despite ?slum upgrading? efforts that have been taking place for decades, though inconsistently and with disruptions over time. There is a prolific literature on informal settlement areas, but research on access to essential services such as water and sanitation (WS) in these areas is very limited. Most studies consider issues of access in connection to urban poverty, an approach that often reduces the discussion to the income and expenditure constraints faced by households. Examining access to WS in the slums spurs an appreciation of the multidimensional nature of the problem, including income poverty, infrastructural limitations, asset ownership and housing quality. Moreover, developments in the slums concern every aspect of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This paper examines the conditions of access to water in the slums of the developing world. It has three goals. The first is to identify the objective and policy-related challenges that hinder progress in the provision of safe, affordable, continuous and easy access to water in countries where there is a sizeable slum population. The second is to explore the existing systems of provision in informal settlements and to discuss the weaknesses and strengths of each. The third is to make policy recommendations. Though the discussion on access to sanitation is limited, this is not to deny the importance of that issue. Besides, water and sanitation services are often intrinsically linked and therefore are provided together by network utilities. The discussion reveals the failure of public policies as well as markets to provide satisfactory solutions to the problems of access to a safe, affordable and continuous water supply. In many countries, especially those in Sub-Saharan Africa, access to safe water through household connections declined in the 1990s. Achievements in access rates in many Asian and African economies are the due to widespread use of public water points such as public standpipes and kiosks. These sources are important, but doubtless the quality of access to water with these facilities is unsatisfactory since they involve greater effort by households, involving queuing, carrying water and lacking continuous access. A substantial proportion of urban dwellers in developing countries, especially in unplanned settlements, rely on a wide range of small-scale providers whose services are vital in the absence of alternatives. Their services, however, are often inferior to those provided by the formal network. Invariably, the water charges of alternative sources are higher than those for supply from the public network. Section 2 provides a general discussion of informal settlements and outlines the growth of slum development and trends in access to water supply since 1990. Section 3 examines changing public policies towards squatter settlements and the challenges such settlements pose. Section 4 presents the problems associated with the existing market-based water supply arrangements in countries where a sizeable proportion of the urban population resides in informal settlement areas. We then argue for the need to pursue a more proactive public policy on the basis of a discussion that highlights the limitations of private sector ventures. The paper concludes with a number of policy recommendations.
    Keywords: Access to Water in the Slums of the Developing World
    Date: 2009–06
  8. By: Markelova, Helen; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth
    Abstract: Even with abundant evidence of the urgent need for action on climate change mitigation, there are still those who consider mitigation strategies a burden. In the agricultural sector, climate change mitigation calls for changing some agricultural and resource management practices and technologies and often requires additional investment. However, there is an opportunity in agriculture for net benefit streams from a variety of zero- or low-cost mitigation opportunities ranging from agroforestry practices and restoration of degraded soils to zero-till and other land-management practices. Momentum has been generated to incorporate agriculture into carbon markets, potentially allowing smallholder farmers to access benefit streams from such transactions. However, who will receive the benefits from mitigation funds by, for example, increasing carbon stocks or reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from land, will depend on the way different types of property rights are defined and dealt with in the upcoming climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. In many areas of the world, land tenure arrangements are complex. For example, in Africa, more than 90 percent of the land is formally claimed as state land, although millions of farming and pastoralist households use various customary and informal arrangements to access the land and other resources. Millions of hectares of forest and pastoral land in Asia and Latin America are similarly listed as state land, although used by communities, especially those of indigenous people or other marginalized ethnic groups. Often the same area may be under co-existing informal tenure systems, most of which are not recognized by formal land laws, but are instead accepted and enforced by the communities. Even where property rights are vested in a formal legal system with strong enforcement procedures, climate change mitigation measures raise new issues of who owns incremental carbon stocks and who should receive compensation for reductions in GHG emissions.
    Keywords: Climate change,
    Date: 2009
  9. By: Ricardo P. Câmara Leal; André L. Carvalhal da Silva
    Abstract: Este relatório faz uma avaliação da evolução e dos determinantes da estrutura de capitais das empresas brasileiras de forma comparada, com particular ênfase no financiamento externo. Uma das principais conclusões é que os fatores intrínsecos ao país de origem são quase tão importantes quanto determinantes da estrutura ao nível da firma. Os fatores setoriais não são tão importantes. Em termos de endividamento geral, as empresas brasileiras vêm se comportando de maneira diferente daquelas de outros mercados emergentes, particularmente os asiáticos. Enquanto as empresas do Brasil vêm aumentando o nível de endividamento em geral, naqueles países a tendência é de diminuição. No Brasil, é recente a estabilidade econômica e a baixa volatilidade cambial, o ciclo econômico, bem como elementos da qualidade das instituições, tal como o judiciário, são fundamentais no aumento do endividamento. Empresas em países com mais restrições de crédito se endividam mais quando a economia cresce. A demanda por instrumentos de proteção cambial caiu nos últimos tempos, mas a oferta parece ter sido adequada para atendê-la. O prazo dos instrumentos de hedge está aumentando, apesar da redução da demanda. Não se encontrou evidência de que as empresas de capital aberto brasileiras estejam se comportando de forma muito diferente das empresas em outros países em desenvolvimento com risco similar no endividamento externo. Uma revisão de literatura extensa é realizada sobre o assunto, incluindo-se trabalhos sobre empresas de capital fechado. Dados brasileiros sobre todos estes aspectos também são apresentados. This report evaluates and compares the evolution and the determinants of the capital structure of Brazilian firms, with a particular emphasis on external financing. One of its main conclusions is that country factors are nearly as important as firm level factors. Industry factors are not very important. In terms of the total debt levels, Brazilian firms have behaved differently from those in other emerging markets, particularly from those in Asia. While Brazilian firms have been increasing their total debt levels, in Asia there is a decreasing debt trend. The Brazilian economic tability is recent and the low foreign exchange volatility, the economic cycle, as well as the quality of institutions, such as the judiciary, are instrumental for the increase of debt levels. Firms in countries with more credit restrictions take on more debt when the economy grows. The demand for foreign exchange risk hedging has fallen in recent times, but the supply of such instruments seems to have been adequate. The term of such hedging instruments is increasing, despite the lower demand. There was no evidence that Brazilian public companies behave differently from those in other emerging economies with a similar external debt risk. A comprehensive literature review on the subject is presented, including research about non-public firms. Brazilian data on all the issues reported are also presented.
    Date: 2009–02

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