nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2013‒11‒09
nine papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. The Sophistication of East Asian Exports By THORBECKE, Willem; Hao-Kai PAI
  2. Economic growth and balance of payments constraint in Vietnam By A. Bagnai; A. Rieber; T.A.D. Tran
  3. Equity and Access to Tertiary Education: The Case of Vietnam By VU HOANG LINH; LE VIET THUY; GIANG THANH LONG
  4. Chinese Trade Reforms, Market Access and Foreign Competition: the Patterns of French Exporters By Maria Bas; Pamela Bombarda
  5. Can FDI Be Bad for Growth? By Quan Minh Quoc Binh; Nguyen Trong Hoai; Pham Hoang Van
  6. Role of regulation and micro finance in Africa, Asia and Latin America By Marianne, Roedl
  7. Prioritizing countries for biofortification Interventions using country-level data By Asare-Marfo, Dorene; Birol, Ekin; Gonzalez, Carolina; Moursi, Mourad; Perez, Salomon; Schwarz, Jana; Zeller, Manfred
  8. Estimating the Distortionary Effects of Ethnic Quotas in Singapore Using Housing Transactions By Wong, Maisy
  9. Geographical factors, Growth and Divergence By Nguyen Thang DAO; Julio DÁVILA

  1. By: THORBECKE, Willem; Hao-Kai PAI
    Abstract: Hausmann, Hwang, and Rodrik (2007) found that countries that export more sophisticated products tend to subsequently grow more rapidly. We examine the sophistication of Asia's exports using Hausmann et al.'s and Kwan's (2002) measures. Japan remains the technology leader in Asia, but not in the world. In 2012, Japan's exports competed with those of South Korea and Taiwan and were complementary with those of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). South Korea and Taiwan competed intensely with each other but less so with China and ASEAN, while ASEAN countries competed extensively with each other. Given the high levels of competition and cooperation among East Asian countries, greater exchange rate stability in the region would reduce export volatility among competitors and facilitate trade among comrades.
    Date: 2013–11
  2. By: A. Bagnai (Department of Economics, University ‘Gabriele D’Annunzio’, Chieti, Italy); A. Rieber (Department of Economics, University of Rouen, France); T.A.D. Tran (DIAL, Institute of Research for Development, Vietnam)
    Abstract: Our paper examines the long run relationship in Vietnam between economic growth and the current account balance equilibrium by relying on the BoP constrained growth model. We find that Vietnam grew less than the rate predicted when the period 1985 to 2010 as a whole is considered, but with different behavior for the 1998-2010 sub-period. The relative price effect is neutral, allowing the volume effects to dominate in setting the BoP constraint. The high income elasticities of exports enable growth in the advanced countries to have a multiplier effect on the Vietnamese economy. However, this effect is hindered by a high ‘appetite’ for imports coming from Asia. We also assess the impact of the current crisis on Vietnam’s growth for the period 2011 to 2017.
    Keywords: Economic growth, BoP constrained growth model, Multi country model, Asia, Vietnam
    JEL: E12 F43 O11 O53
    Date: 2013
  3. By: VU HOANG LINH (Indochina Research & Consulting (IRC), Hanoi); LE VIET THUY (Department of Education Management, National Economics University, Hanoi); GIANG THANH LONG (Indochina Research & Consulting (IRC), Hanoi)
    Abstract: The objectives of this case study of equity and access to tertiary education in Vietnam are to (i) document the significance and consequences of disparities in tertiary education opportunities, particularly in specific instances and areas of Vietnam, (ii) investigate the results and lessons of efforts to expand access to tertiary education, and (iii) offer concrete recommendations for effective policies directed toward the ideas of widening participation. To pursue these research objectives, we evaluate students at three periods of their study life, i.e. access to universities; performance in universities; and completion from universities, using a number of individual and household characteristics. Our data include the Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey (VHLSS) in 2006 and a survey conducted at the National Economics University (NEU), Hanoi in late 2009. An important contribution of this paper is to highlight cases, in which equity provisions in tertiary education policies might have had detrimental effects on the quality of the tertiary system and on the capacity for a government to maximize the potential of tertiary education in stimulating economic growth and development.
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Maria Bas (CEPII - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales - Centre d'analyse stratégique); Pamela Bombarda (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - CNRS : UMR8184 - Université de Cergy Pontoise)
    Abstract: A unilateral trade reform generates two opposite effects: market access expansion and strengthening of competitive pressures in the liberalized market. Using detailed trade and firm-level data from France, we investigate how French firms' product scope and export sales changed after Chinese liberalization vis-à-vis Asian liberalization. Our findings suggest that lower Chinese import tariffs account on average for 7 percent of the new products exported by French firms, and for 18 percent of additional French export sales. These results are robust when accounting for foreign competition faced by French firms in the liberalized market.
    Keywords: unilateral trade liberalization, market access, foreign competition, export margins and firm level data
    Date: 2013–01–30
  5. By: Quan Minh Quoc Binh (Vietnam Netherlands Programme); Nguyen Trong Hoai (University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City); Pham Hoang Van (Baylor University)
    Abstract: We ?nd a curious negative casual relationship between foreign direct investment (FDI) and total factor productivity growth (TFPG) across the world for the period 1996-2009. The relationship is robust to speci?cations in which we instrument for FDI using lagged values and geography variables as well as when we control for country and year ?xed e?ects, human capital, the size of government, and other country di?erences. We hypothesize that not all FDI are the same as channels for technology transfer. We ?nd that higher natural resource extraction accounts for the negative relationship between FDI and TFPG. For countries with no natural resource exports, 10% higher FDI causes 0.7-1.9% faster TFPG. The same 10% higher FDI, however, in countries with 6% higher natural resource exports reduces TFPG by the same amount. These ?ndings have important implications for the middle-income trap and the rise in FDI for natural resource extraction. As an illustrative example, in Vietnam from 2003-2009, FDI in mining and quarrying grew at 135% per year while TFPG in that sector averaged -3%. In manufacturing, FDI grew at only 26% per year while TFPG averaged 24%.
    Keywords: TFP growth, export, FDI, middle-income trap
    JEL: F21 O13 O19 O47 Q37
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Marianne, Roedl
    Abstract: An innovative aspect of this paper is evidenced through its recommendation of the Micro-Savings Requirement Scheme - which offers numerous benefits – as will be highlighted in this paper. Furthermore, the paper not only addresses how linkages, direct and facilitating linkages, can benefit microfinance institutions – and particularly in jurisdictions where the Savings Group Outreach involvement is particularly low, but also illustrates ways and means whereby group lending and other more recent innovative methods used by micro lenders to secure repayments, could increase the desired effects, efficiency and impact of microfinance in selected jurisdictions. In so doing, it addresses some of the existing and persisting problems of micro finance in rural areas.
    Keywords: microfinance; regulation; agency theory; Micro-Savings Requirement Scheme; Africa; Asia; Latin America
    JEL: D82 G2 G21 K2
    Date: 2013–11–03
  7. By: Asare-Marfo, Dorene; Birol, Ekin; Gonzalez, Carolina; Moursi, Mourad; Perez, Salomon; Schwarz, Jana; Zeller, Manfred
    Abstract: Micronutrient malnutrition, also known as hidden hunger, affects two billion people worldwide. In recent years, the global challenge of reducing hidden hunger and hence improving related health outcomes through agricultural interventions has received much attention. One potential solution is biofortification—the process of breeding and delivering staple food crops with higher micronutrient content. Biofortification could prove to be a cost-effective and sustainable strategy, especially in rural areas of many developing countries where production and consumption of staple crops is high and high micronutrient deficiency rates are rampant. The aim of this paper is to develop and implement country-crop-micronutrient–specific biofortification prioritization indices (BPIs) that will rank countries according to their suitability for investment in biofortification interventions to be used by various stakeholders with differing objectives. BPIs combine subindices for production, consumption, and micronutrient deficiency, using country-level crop production and consumption data primarily from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and iron, zinc, and vitamin A deficiency data from the World Health Organization (WHO). BPIs are calculated for seven staple crops that have been developed and for 127 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. BPIs should not be used as a one-stop shop for making decisions on biofortification investment decisions because they have several limitations. As they are currently calculated, BPIs do not explicitly take cost-effectiveness into account, neither do they allow for a subnational analysis. Future research will address these shortcomings. For now, the BPIs presented in this paper are useful tools for highlighting those countries that may benefit from significant reductions in micronutrient deficiency through biofortification of staple crops.
    Keywords: Biofortification, food security, Iron, malnutrition, Micronutrient malnutrition, Micronutrients, Micronutrients deficiency, Nutrition, Nutrition security, Vitamin A, Zinc
    Date: 2013
  8. By: Wong, Maisy
    Abstract: Desegregation is a key policy issue in many countries. I investigate a residential desegregation program in Singapore - the ethnic housing quotas. I show that choice restrictions imposed on apartment blocks above the quota limits (constrained) could have distortionary effects, causing price and quantity differences for constrained versus unconstrained blocks. I test these predictions by hand matching more than 500,000 names in the phonebook to ethnicities, to calculate ethnic proportions at the apartment block level. I can then investigate differences for constrained and unconstrained blocks close to the quota limits and test for sorting around the limits. I find price differences are between 3% and 5%. Quantity effects are economically significant, translating to longer time-on-market durations by 1 to 1.4 months. Selection cannot fully explain these results. My results point to challenges in achieving desegregation using quantity restrictions.
    Keywords: Desegregation, quota, distortionary effects, housing transactions
    JEL: D04 R31 R38
    Date: 2013–10–22
  9. By: Nguyen Thang DAO (CORE, Université catholique de Louvain, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium and Vietnam Centre for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR), Hanoi, Vietnam); Julio DÁVILA (CORE, Université catholique de Louvain, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium and Paris School of Economics, Paris, France)
    Abstract: This paper develops a unied growth model capturing issues of endogenous economic growth, fertility, and technological progress considering the effects of geographical conditions to interpret the long transition from Malthusian stagnation, through demographic transition to modern sustained growth, and the great divergence in GDP per capita across societies. The paper shows how the interplay of size of "land" and its "accessibility" and technological progress play a very important role for an economy to escape Malthusian stagnation and to take off. Thus differences in these geographical factors lead to differences in take off timings, generating great divergence across societies.
    Keywords: Geographical land, land accessible, level of technology, human capital, fertility
    JEL: J11 O11 O33
    Date: 2013

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