nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2012‒10‒20
fourteen papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. How Should We Bank With Foreigners?—An Empirical Assessment of Lending Behavior of International Banks to Six East Asian Economies By Pontines, Victor; Siregar, Reza Y.
  2. Electricity Market Integration Global Trends and Implications for the EAS Region By Yanrui Wu
  3. Prospects for Services Trade Negotiations By Jeffrey J. Schott; Minsoo Lee; Julia Muir
  4. Demographics, Labor Mobility, and Productivity By Wilson, E. J.; Jayanthakumaran, K.; Verma, R.
  5. Intrahousehold Power: the Role of Women’s Share of Asset and Social Capital on Household Food and Nonfood Expenditures By Pangaribowo, Evita Hanie
  6. Deconstructing Bataknese Gorga By Situngkir, Hokky
  7. Developing the Services Sector as Engine of Growth for Asia: An Overview By Marcus Noland; Donghyun Park; Gemma B. Estrada
  8. Facilitating international production networks : the role of trade logistics By Saslavsky, Daniel; Shepherd, Ben
  9. The Ranking of Inequality in Human Capital: Evidence from Asian Countries By Jirada Prasartpornsirichoke; Yoshi Takahashi; Peera Charoenporn
  10. Does Non-farm Sector Employment reduce Rural Poverty and Vulnerability? Evidence from Vietnam and India By Katsushi S. Imai; Raghav Gaiha; Woojin Kang; Samuel Annim; Ganesh Thapa
  11. ‘Youth Bulge’: Calling for Higher Public Investment on Child and Youth Development for Greater Future Returns By Seema Joshi
  12. Internationalization of Tertiary Education Services in Singapore By Toh, Mun-Heng
  13. Pharmaceutical Pricing in a Globalized World: Crossing the income divide and ability to pay By Rutger P. Daems; Edith L. Maes; Christoph Glaetzer
  14. Weathering the storm : responses by Cambodian firms to the global financial crisis By Guimbert, Stephane; Oostendorp, Remco

  1. By: Pontines, Victor (Asian Development Bank Institute); Siregar, Reza Y. (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: The authors construct macro-and micro-panel data on international bank lending to six Asian economies—Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand—to analyze a number of objectives. The paper first examines the influence of critical determinants not only to overall international bank lending but also to cross-border bank lending, and next examines the differences between subsidiaries and branches of international banks in terms of their ability to shield themselves from the financial difficulties of their global parent banks and thus their ability to continue lending in destination markets.
    Keywords: international bank lending; cross-border lending; international bank exposure; asian economies
    JEL: C23 F34 F36 G15 N25
    Date: 2012–10–09
  2. By: Yanrui Wu (Business School, University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: Electricity market reform has been implemented in many countries and regions in the world. There is no doubt that electricity consumption continues to increase in East Asia. Electricity market integration in East Asia is thus an important component of the energy market integration (EMI) initiatives supported by the East Asian Summit (EAS) group. It is argued that an integrated East Asian electricity market would allow consumers to have access to competing suppliers within or beyond the borders and enable electricity providers in member economies to better deal with peak demand and supply security. The objectives of this study are twofold, namely, a) to present a review of the trends in regional electricity market integration and b) to draw implications for electricity market development in the EAS area. Specifically, this project will review the trends of integration in the world’s major electricity markets and analyze the experience and lessons in those markets. It will provide an examination of the electricity sectors in East Asia in terms of market development and connectivity. It will provide policy recommendations for the promotion of electricity market integration.
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Jeffrey J. Schott (Peterson Institute for International Economics); Minsoo Lee (Asian Development Bank); Julia Muir (Peterson Institute for International Economics)
    Abstract: Trade and investment in services are difficult to measure, and the regulatory barriers that inhibit the free flow of services are hard to quantify. As a result, very little attention has been paid to dismantling barriers to services trade and investment in free trade negotiations. This paper examines what has been achieved in both regional and multilateral compacts by surveying international precedents involving Asian countries which have included services trade reforms. We then assess the prospects for services trade negotiations and explore how services trade negotiations could be pursued over the next decade through two distinct channels: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a plurilateral approach among groups of WTO countries. We find that in the case of developing Asia, free trade agreements have largely excluded services or have only committed to "lock in" current practices in a narrow subset of service sectors. This is also the case in agreements negotiated between developing countries, which have produced less substantial commitments to liberalize services than those negotiated between developing and developed countries. Multilateral negotiations on services have also underperformed, as substantive negotiations on services in the Doha Round never really got underway. We advocate a stronger effort by developing Asian countries to prioritize services negotiations in their regional arrangements, and to expand coverage of services in those pacts to a broad range of infrastructure services that are included in other FTAs in force or under construction in the Asia-Pacific region.
    Keywords: International trade, services, regional trade agreements, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, General Agreement on Trade in Services, Doha Round, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Asia-Pacific
    JEL: F10 F13 F14 F15 F23 F59 G28 H50 H70
    Date: 2012–10
  4. By: Wilson, E. J. (Asian Development Bank Institute); Jayanthakumaran, K. (Asian Development Bank Institute); Verma, R. (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: This paper considers two major issues that need to be treated as matters of urgency. First, internal (within country) migrations in the Asian (ACI) region are mostly undocumented and large. Second, the emerging demographic imbalances in the form of aging, which will give dependency ratios that have never been experienced in all of recorded human existence. Whilst it is possible to share the burdens of ageing and dependency through migration, this will not happen under present arrangements. Increasing the mobility of humans is the best way to not only promote economic efficiency, but to provide freedom and significant improvements in their wellbeing and quality of life.
    Keywords: demographics; labor mobility; migration; asia; demographic imbalances; aging; productivity
    JEL: F22 J31 J61 O15
    Date: 2012–10–12
  5. By: Pangaribowo, Evita Hanie
    Abstract: Using the Indonesian setting with its cultural heterogeneity, this paper examines women’s bargaining power in the distribution of household expenditures. Women’s share of assets and participation in community-based organizations and development in the village is used to approach bargaining power. This study employs the Indonesian longitudinal dataset from the Indonesia Family Life Survey (IFLS). The results show that women’s share of assets has negative effect on adult goods expenditure. This finding confirms that women’s share of asset explicitly increase women autonomy not to allocate the budget share on adult goods expenditure which is identical to male domination. Women’s share of assets also has positive and substantial effect on richer nutrients expenditure such as meat and fish and dairy products. It is also found that women participation in the community-based organization in the village has negative and significant effect on budget share of staple food and adult goods expenditure. This finding embraces the importance of women’s power in the household particularly in terms of distribution of household expenditures to the spending that increase the welfare of the household.
    Keywords: intrahousehold power, women’s asset, social capital, expenditures, Consumer/Household Economics, D13,
    Date: 2012–04
  6. By: Situngkir, Hokky
    Abstract: The carved and painted decorations in traditional Batak houses and buildings, gorga, are the source of their exoticism. There are no identical patterns of the ornaments within Batak houses and the drawings are closely related to the way ancient Batak capture the dynamicity of the growing “tree of life”, one of central things within their cosmology and mythology. The survey of ornaments of Batak houses and buildings in Northern Sumatera Indonesia has made us possible to observe the complex pattern. The fractal dimensions of the geometrical shapes in gorga are calculated and they are conjectured into 1.5-1.6, between the dimensional of a line and a plane. The way gorga is drawn is captured by using some modification to the turtle geometry of L-System model, a popular model to model the dynamics of growing plants. The result is a proposal to see Bataknese gorga as one of traditional heritage that may enrich the studies to the generative art.
    Keywords: Batak; gorga; carving; painting; Indonesia; fractal; geometry; generative art
    JEL: C00 L83 A13 I00 Q20 D80 Z11 L86
    Date: 2012–10–02
  7. By: Marcus Noland (Peterson Institute for International Economics); Donghyun Park (Asian Development Bank); Gemma B. Estrada (Asian Development Bank)
    Abstract: The maturing of the manufacturing sector in many Asian countries, combined with the relative backwardness of its services sector, has made services sector development a top priority for developing Asia. Our central objective is to broadly survey and analyze the current landscape of the region's services sector so as to assess its potential to serve as an engine for inclusive economic growth. Our analysis indicates that services are already an important source of output, growth, and jobs in the region. However, its productivity greatly lags that of the advanced economies, which implies ample room for further growth. The impact of services sector on poverty reduction is less clear but we do find some limited evidence of a poverty reduction effect. One key challenge for all Asian countries is to improve the quality of services sector data. Overall, while services sector development is a long and challenging process, creating more competitive services markets by removing a wide range of internal and external policy distortions is vital for improving services sector productivity. As important as such policy reforms are, complementary investments in physical infrastructure and human capital will also be necessary to achieve a strong services sector.
    Keywords: Services, structural change, growth, productivity, Asia
    JEL: L8 O14 O40 O47
    Date: 2012–10
  8. By: Saslavsky, Daniel; Shepherd, Ben
    Abstract: This paper shows that networked trade in parts and components is more sensitive to the importing country's logistics performance than is trade in final goods. In the baseline specification, the difference between the two trade semi-elasticities is around 45 percent, which suggests that the effect is quantitatively important. In addition, the analysis finds that logistics performance is particularly important for trade in the Asia-Pacific region, which is exactly where the emergence of international production networks has been most pronounced over recent years. The results suggest that policymakers can support the development of international production networks by helping improve trade logistics performance.
    Keywords: Free Trade,Economic Theory&Research,Trade Policy,Transport and Trade Logistics,Common Carriers Industry
    Date: 2012–10–01
  9. By: Jirada Prasartpornsirichoke (Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University); Yoshi Takahashi (Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University); Peera Charoenporn (Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University)
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to investigate that the international cross-sectional comparison of inequalities in human capital and education among 16 Asian countries. More specifically we employed the order-ranking of Gini coefficients that is workable in empirical studies as well as that of Lorenz curves sequenced from basic pairwise Lorenz dominance comparisons of 240 cases. The latter is provided as an alternative measure of education and human capital distribution in comparison with the former measure. Our major finding is rank correlation coefficients between both measures of both inequalities are high and significant but not unity. At least in this data set, the rankings of inequalities in education and human capital from two measures are able to apply in empirics. Gini index of both inequalities were calculated from Cohen & Soto's educational attainment data-set during 1960-2010; ten-year interval period. Data obtained from these Asian countries is computed to confirm the relationship education, human capital, and their inequalities. We found the negative linear relationship between average years of schooling and its Gini while the relationship between stock of human capital and its Gini becomes inverted-U shape curve.
    Keywords: Inequality in education and human capital, Gini index, Lorenz curves, pair-wise comparison
    JEL: J24 O15
    Date: 2012–10
  10. By: Katsushi S. Imai (Economics, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester (UK) and RIEB, Kobe University (Japan)); Raghav Gaiha (Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, India); Woojin Kang (Crawford School of Economics & Government, Australian National University, Australia); Samuel Annim (Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire (UK) and Department of Economics, University of Cape Coast (Ghana)); Ganesh Thapa (International Fund for Agricultural Development, Italy)
    Abstract: The present study examines whether participation in the rural non-farm sector employment or involvement in activity in rural non-farm economy (RNFE) has any poverty-reducing or vulnerability-reducing effect in Vietnam and India. To take account of sample selection bias associated with RNFE, we have applied treatment-effects model, a variant of Heckman sample selection model. It is found that log per capita consumption or log mean per capita expenditure (MPCE) significantly increased as a result of access to RNFE in 2002 and 2004 for Vietnam and in 1993-4 for India. This is consistent with poverty reducing role of accessing RNFE. However, in more recent years, this consumption poverty reducing effect disappeared. That is, it was no longer statistically significant in 2006 for Vietnam and MPCE slightly reduced due to access to RNFE in 2004-5 for India. Access to RNFE significantly reduces vulnerability in India, implying that diversification of household activities into non-farm sector would reduce such risks. However, in Vietnam, RNFE increased vulnerability in 2002, but the effect vanished in 2004 and 2006.
    Keywords: Poverty, Vulnerability, Non-farm sector, Treatment Effects Model, Vietnam, India
    JEL: C21 C31 I32 O15
    Date: 2012–10
  11. By: Seema Joshi (Dr Seema Joshi is Associate Professor of Economics, Department of Commerce, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007. E-mail :
    Abstract: The developed world is experiencing rapid aging, rising dependency ratio and shrinking youth population. How ever, the ‘youth bulge’ has been experienced in most Asian countries. India is not an exception to this phenomenon. India experienced fertility decline in the 1970s, so the youth peak was experienced in 1990. India is having 70% of its population below the age of 35 years (GOI, 2008). As per 2001 Census, the size of youth population in India was 422.3 million with 219 million males and 203 million females comprising of 41 percent of the total population. The population in the age group of 25-59 age groups is likely to grow very fast and will constitute half of the country’s population by 2050 (Alam, 2006). This phenomenon of emergence of a large, youthful population i.e. ‘Young Population Bulge’ can be a window of opportunity for India to harness the energy of the youth to fuel economic and social development and to bring in’ demographic dividend’. It has been argued in various studies that public investment on children and youth today can ensure greater future returns to society through higher economic growth (via raising human capital formation) and greater social well being of future generations. It is also believed that more than economic growth, it is the development of human capability in its population that makes a nation prosper. Unarguably, a nation cannot develop properly if people are illiterate, they are not free from illness and malnourishment, have no self respect, no work, and no freedom of choice. The development of these aspects of human capability begins in the early childhood and continues in adulthood. Inter alia, a supportive policy framework can play an important role in ensuring the progress of child development and youth development parameters.Given this background, an attempt will be made in this paper to provide a picture of the public investment targeted to children and youth in India. We will analyze the trends in central and state outlays on services having children or /and youth component (over 1990-2010 period) in case of India. The paper will also provide a brief overview of policy environment for the development of adolescents and youth in India.
    Keywords: rapid aging, dependency ratio, youth bulge’, window of opportunity, demographic dividend’. central and state outlays, services having children or /and youth component.
    Date: 2012–09
  12. By: Toh, Mun-Heng (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: This paper traces the development of the education sector from its nascent stage of serving economic development needs to the internationalization stage of fulfilling Singapore’s aspiration to be a global education hub. The state plays an important role in guiding and fostering development of the education sector in the creation and production of human capital for domestic production as well as cross-border trading to generate income and employment, and attract talent to the economy. Regional trading agreements can play a facilitating role for internationalization of higher education services, especially when commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) are weak. Private education enterprises need no less regulatory measures than other economic sectors to function properly in the market economy—to add value, assure quality services, and yield benefits for education services purchasers.
    Keywords: education sector; Singapore; internationalization of education; tertiary education services; economic development; higher education services
    JEL: F16 I23 J24
    Date: 2012–10–14
  13. By: Rutger P. Daems (Planet Strategy Group, Brussels, Belgium); Edith L. Maes (Maastricht School of Management, PO Box 1203, 6201 BE Maastricht, The Netherlands; E-mail address:; Christoph Glaetzer (Janssen Asia Pacific, Singapore)
    Abstract: OBJECTIVES To examine pharmaceutical pricing strategies not only through the lens of efficiency but equity as well, and propose analytic methods that support policymakers and executives in making pricing and reimbursement decisions. METHODS The paper takes a 3-dimensional approach (triangulation) in defining international pricing policy for pharmaceuticals using: cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), willingness to pay analysis (WTP), and ability to pay analysis (ATP). It attempts to find a balance between various economic methods of which some focus on effectiveness while others are geared towards incorporating equity in the equation. RESULTS A model has been developed to assess the ATP of 120 countries based on a country’s score in the human development index (HDI) as defined and measured by the United Nations Development Program, and published annually in the United Nations Human Development Report. The non-linear index has been applied to a number of drugs in different therapeutic categories without disclosing brand names. Prices in affluent countries – and to an increasing extent in the fast-growing middleincome countries – could generate sufficient revenue to pay for the cost of innovation benefiting all parties, whereas prices in the lowest-income countries in principle need only cover their marginal cost. CONCLUSIONS Besides the standard cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and willingness to pay analysis (WTP), a third method should be used in conjunction that measures the ability to pay (ATP) with the HDI index as yardstick. We recommend that ATP becomes an additional practice in policy decision-making and in defining international pricing strategies for pharmaceuticals in order to provide sustainable access to medicines.
    Keywords: Access-to-medicines, international pricing, cost-effectiveness, willingness-to-pay, ability-to-pay, equity.
    Date: 2012–09
  14. By: Guimbert, Stephane; Oostendorp, Remco
    Abstract: Firms have various ways to cope with external risks. This paper analyzes the risk coping behavior that entails the smoothing of inputs (labor, raw materials, or capital). The theoretical framework shows that, if they face adjustment costs, firms prefer to smooth their inputs, especially if they expect a demand shock to be temporary. However, credit constrained firms will be adversely affected by the presence of liquidity constraints, and this will create a welfare loss due to incomplete smoothing. The authors estimate this behavior using a panel of Cambodian firms at the time of the 2008 global economic crisis. The survey shows that these firms were hard hit by the economic crisis between 2008 and 2009, with an average fall in demand (sales) of 30 percent. Based on the theoretical framework, the analysis can estimate the responsiveness of labor, capital, and raw materials input demand to demand shocks. It finds that firms try to smooth in particular if they believe the shock is temporary; in fact non-credit constrained firms reduce their inputs much less than firmsthat were credit constrained when the demand shock is expected to be temporary. The paper estimates that the welfare loss from incomplete smoothing due to credit constraints is many multiples of the adjustment costs of the firms that were not credit constrained. This has important policy implications about the role of financial sector development and regulations beyond the capital market. This micro analysis also has macro implications: if all firms expect a shock to be permanent, their combined limited smoothing of inputs will indeed make the shock more likely to be permanent.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Access to Finance,Microfinance,Banks&Banking Reform,Labor Markets
    Date: 2012–10–01

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