nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2013‒03‒02
eleven papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Does Elite Capture Matter? Local Elites and Targeted Welfare Programs in Indonesia By Vivi Alatas; Abhijit Banerjee; Rema Hanna; Benjamin A. Olken; Ririn Purnamasari; Matthew Wai-Poi
  2. Social Security for Migrant Labour in the Greater Mekong Subregion By Gloria O. Pasadilla
  3. Back to the 'normal' level of human-capital driven growth? A note on early numeracy in Korea, China and Japan, 1550 - 1800 By Baten, Joerg; Sohn, Kitae
  4. Estimating the Constraints to Agricultural Trade of Developing Countries By Evdokia Moïsé; Claire Delpeuch; Silvia Sorescu; Novella Bottini; Arthur Foch
  5. Protection against major catastrophes: An economic perspective By Wenzel, Lars; Wolf, André
  6. Unsubsidized Microfinance Institutions By Bert D'Espallier; Marek Hudon; Ariane Szafarz
  7. Vietnam's evolving poverty map : patterns and implications for policy By Lanjouw, Peter; Marra, Marleen; Nguyen, Cuong
  8. Mobility, Productivity and Patent Value for Asian Prolific Inventors: China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, 1975 – 2010 By William Latham; Christian Le Bas; Dmitry Volodin
  9. Impact of Third-Party Enforcement of Contracts in Agricultural Markets - A Field Experiment in Vietnam By Saenger, Christoph; Torero, Maximo; Qaim, Matin
  10. Time is money, but how much? The monetary value of response time for Thai ambulance emergency services By Jaldell, Henrik; Lebnak, P; Anurak, A; Krongkan, B; Khanisthar, P
  11. Myanmar: Staff-Monitored Program By International Monetary Fund

  1. By: Vivi Alatas; Abhijit Banerjee; Rema Hanna; Benjamin A. Olken; Ririn Purnamasari; Matthew Wai-Poi
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of elite capture on the allocation of targeted government welfare programs in Indonesia, using both a high-stakes field experiment that varied the extent of elite influence and non-experimental data on a variety of existing government transfer programs. Conditional on their consumption level, there is little evidence that village elites and their relatives are more likely to receive aid programs than non-elites. However, this overall result masks stark differences between different types of elites: those holding formal leadership positions are more likely to receive benefits, while informal leaders are less likely to receive them. We show that capture by formal elites occurs when program benefits are actually distributed to households, and not during the processes of determining who should be on the beneficiary lists. However, while elite capture exists, the welfare losses it creates appear small: since formal elites and their relatives are only 9 percent richer than non-elites, are at most about 8 percentage points more likely to receive benefits than non-elites, and represent at most 15 percent of the population, eliminating elite capture entirely would improve the welfare gains from these programs by less than one percent.
    JEL: D73 H53 O12
    Date: 2013–02
  2. By: Gloria O. Pasadilla (Philippine Institute for Development Studies)
    Abstract: The paper examines the labour migration trends in ASEAN and in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), in particular, and analyses the ASEAN regional labour-related initiatives that seek to improve the protection of migrant workers
    Keywords: Social security, social protection, Greater Mekong Subregion, portability,ASEAN, labour migration
    JEL: F15 F22 H55
    Date: 2013–01
  3. By: Baten, Joerg; Sohn, Kitae
    Abstract: This paper draws on a unique data set, hojok (household registers), to estimate numeracy levels in Korea, 1550-1630, and evidence on Japan and China from the early modern period until 1800. We found that a substantial share of East Asians rounded their ages to multiples of five. However, the extent of age-heaping was quite low by global standards, even considering the potential sources of upward bias inherent in the data. Therefore, the unusually high level of numeracy in East Asia in the early 21st century was already present in the early modern period. The findings imply that in the Korean case, for example, the foundations of the human-capital based catch-up growth were laid very early. More broadly, we argue that Korea, Japan, and China returned to the growth-path at different points of the 20th century, and this return was pre-determined by their early numeracy development. --
    Keywords: Human-Capital,Development,Growth,Numeracy
    JEL: O15 O40 I21 N35 N30
    Date: 2013
  4. By: Evdokia Moïsé; Claire Delpeuch; Silvia Sorescu; Novella Bottini; Arthur Foch
    Abstract: Agricultural trade is widely considered as an important contributor to developing countries‘ economic growth, poverty alleviation and food security. This report identifies and analyses some of the most important supply-side constraints to developing countries‘ exports of agricultural products, in order to inform prioritisation and sequencing of domestic policy reforms as well as targeting of donor interventions. The analysis is supplemented by case studies of Aid for Trade programmes supporting agricultural trade expansion in Indonesia, Zambia and Mozambique. The report confirms that developing countries‘ agricultural exports are highly responsive to the quality of transport and trade-related infrastructure, while tariffs still have a significant negative impact. The analysis also highlights the importance of complementary policies such as education and political stability on developing countries‘ agricultural trade performance. In the poorest countries of the sample, significant trade expansion could be achieved by easing constraints related to governance and infrastructure quality, as well as by lifting constraints related to the efficient use of existing freshwater resources. The case studies illustrate the impact on agricultural exports of constraints related to standards and conformity assessment or access to credit, in particular as regards small and medium agricultural producers, processors and traders. They also show the contribution of donor supported programmes promoting private sector initiatives to poverty reduction through increased employment and the promotion of production adapted to local endowments.
    Keywords: developing countries, agricultural trade, poverty reduction, aid for trade, trade expansion, food security, binding constraints
    JEL: F13 O13 O19 Q17
    Date: 2013–01–31
  5. By: Wenzel, Lars; Wolf, André
    Abstract: This paper intends to further understanding of catastrophic events by reviewing the economic literature on their effects as well as potential means of dealing with the corresponding risks and uncertainties. Since 2000, the world has seen a number of catastrophes including terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe, tsunamis in Southeast Asia and Japan as well as volcanic eruptions in Iceland. All of these have had significant impacts on human well-being and economic activity beyond the regional level. In an increasingly populous and globalized world, these types of events and their repercussions are likely to increase. Hence, it is important to ensure that government and private entities cooperate in an attempt to reduce risks of catastrophes. --
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Bert D'Espallier; Marek Hudon; Ariane Szafarz
    Abstract: This paper starts from the observation that 23% of the world’s microfinance institutions (MFIs) manage without subsidies. We examine how unsubsidized institutions cope with their social mission. Overall, the lack of subsidies worsens social performances. However, our results show that strategies to achieve financial self-sufficiency differ substantially across regions. African and Asian MFIs compensate for non-subsidization by charging higher interest rates. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, unsubsidized MFIs find it more suitable to target less poor clients. Unsubsidized Latin American MFIs tend to reduce their share of female borrowers.
    Keywords: microfinance; subsidies; mission drift; poverty reduction; average loan size; interest rates
    JEL: F35 G21 G28 O54 O57
    Date: 2013–02–14
  7. By: Lanjouw, Peter; Marra, Marleen; Nguyen, Cuong
    Abstract: This paper uses small area estimation techniques to update Vietnam's province and district-level poverty map to 2009. It finds that poverty rates continue to be highest in the northern and central mountainous regions, where ethnic minorities make up a large fraction of the population. Poverty has fallen in most provinces and districts over this decade, but the pace of poverty reduction has been least pronounced in those localities with high initial poverty or inequality levels. As a result, poverty rates have become more spatially concentrated over time, which is consistent with widely observed growth processes linked to agglomeration. The authors hypothesize that this makes geographic targeting of the poor more relevant as a means to re-balance growing welfare disparities between geographic areas. Simulations indicate that in both 1999 and 2009, geographic targeting for poverty alleviation improves upon a uniform lump-sum transfer and this becomes more evident the more spatially disaggregated the target populations. The analysis further indicates that the gains from geographic targeting have become more pronounced over time in Vietnam. Although poverty reduction in Vietnam has been impressive, further progress may thus warrant increased attention to geographic targeting.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Regional Economic Development,Subnational Economic Development,Achieving Shared Growth
    Date: 2013–02–01
  8. By: William Latham (Department of Economics, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711, USA); Christian Le Bas (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France); Dmitry Volodin (HDR Inc., Silver Spring, MD, USA)
    Abstract: Dans ce texte nous décrivons et comparons les systèmes d’innovation de quatre grands pays asiatiques (Chine, Corée, Japon, Taiwan) à partir de quelques caractéristiques des inventeurs les plus productifs de ces pays. On mobilise le modèle évolutionniste de production de connaissance par recombinaisons pour expliquer la productivité, la mobilité et la valeur des inventions de ces inventeurs prolifiques. Les données de brevets de la base du NBER permettent d’estimer une série de relations. Nos principaux résultats sont : validité pour tous les pays de la loi expliquant la valeur des inventions par la productivité de l’inventeur, la mobilité inter firmes ne joue aucun rôle sur la productivité des inventeurs au Japon et en Corée, elle a un impact positif sur leur productivité en Chine et à Taiwan, la mobilité internationale des inventeurs prolifiques joue un rôle dans la détermination de la valeur des inventions à Taiwan.
    Keywords: system of innovation, inventor, mobility, patent value
    JEL: O11 O15 O3 O53
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Saenger, Christoph; Torero, Maximo; Qaim, Matin
    Abstract: We study the effect of alleviating information asymmetry regarding product quality that is widespread in developing-country agricultural markets. Opportunistic buyers may underreport quality levels back to farmers to reduce the price they have to pay. In response, farmers may curb investment, negatively affecting farm productivity. In an experiment, we entitle randomly selected smallholder dairy farmers in Vietnam to independently verify milk testing results. Treatment farmers use 13 percent more inputs and also increase their output. We show that the buying company had initially not underreported product quality, which is why third-party monitoring led to a Pareto improvement in the supply chain.
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Industrial Organization, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, International Development, Livestock Production/Industries, C93, D86, L14, O13, Q12, Q13,
    Date: 2013–01
  10. By: Jaldell, Henrik (Dept. of Economics); Lebnak, P (Emergency Medical Institute Thailand, EMIT); Anurak, A (Emergency Medical Institute Thailand, EMIT); Krongkan, B (Emergency Medical Institute Thailand, EMIT); Khanisthar, P (Emergency Medical Institute Thailand, EMIT)
    Abstract: The monetary values for how much ambulance emergency services are calculated for two different time factors, response time, which is the time from when a call is received by the EMS call-taking centre until the response team arrives at the emergency scene, and operational time, which is the time from alarm to the accident scene and to the hospital. The study is performed in three steps. First, marginal effects of reduced fatalities and injuries for a minute change of the time factors are calculated using logistic regressions. Second, monetary values are chosen for fatalities and injuries; third, the marginal effects and the monetary values are put together to find a value per minute. The values are found to be 5.5 million Thai Baht per minute for fatality, 326,000 Baht per minute for severe injury, and 2,100 Baht per minute for slight injury. The total value of fatality, severe injury and slight injury for a one-minute improvement for each dispatch, summarized over one year, is 1.6 billion Thai Baht using response time. The resulting total values could be used on the benefit side in an economic cost-benefit analysis of investments, such as new technology, which could reduce the response and operational times.
    Keywords: Response time; cost-benefit; medicine; emergency; EMS
    JEL: D61 I31 R53
    Date: 2013–02–21
  11. By: International Monetary Fund
    Keywords: Staff-monitored programs;Economic growth;Fiscal reforms;Fiscal policy;External payments arrears;External borrowing;Exchange rate regimes;Monetary policy;Floating exchange rates;Economic indicators;Myanmar;
    Date: 2013–01–17

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