nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2014‒05‒24
25 papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Enlargement of Economic Framework in Southeast Asia and Trade Flows in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic By Suvannaphakdy, Sithanonxay; Tang, Hsiao Chink; DiCaprio, Alisa
  2. Why do Countries enter into Preferential Agreements on Trade in Services? Assessing the Potential for Negotiated Regulatory Convergence in Asian Services Markets By Sauvé, Pierre; Shingal, Anirudh
  3. One Currency, Two Markets: The Renminbi's Growing Influence in Asia-Pacific By Chang Shu; Dong He; Xiaoqiang Cheng
  4. Impacts of Asia’s Rise on African and Latin American Trade: Projections to 2030 By Anderson, Kym; Strutt, Anna
  5. The Investment Version of the Asian Noodle Bowl: The Proliferation of International Investment Agreements By Chaisse, Julien; Hamanaka, Shintaro
  6. The Effect of Elections on Economic Growth: Results from a Natural Experiment in Indonesia By Moricz, Sara; Sjöholm, Fredrik
  7. Efficiency in the Vietnamese banking system: A DEA double bootstrap approach By Matousek, Roman; Nguyen, Thao Ngoc; Stewart, Chris
  8. Measuring direct losses to rice production from extreme flood events in Quang Nam province, Vietnam By Chau, Vu Ngoc; Cassells, Sue; Holland, John
  9. Economic Development, Food Demand and the Consequences for Agricultural Resource Requirements (Indonesia) By Briggs, Adam; Chowdhury, Shyamal
  10. Natural disasters and labour markets By Martina Kirchberger
  11. Policy uncertainty and performance characteristics of sustainable investments across regions around the global financial crisis By Hooi Hooi Lean; Duc Khuong Nguyen
  12. Foreign Land Deals in Africa: Implications for Agricultural Trade By Ogundipe, Adeyemi; Akinyemi, Opeyemi; Ogundipe, Oluwatomisin
  13. Energy use-trade nexus: what does the data set say for Thailand? By Jiranyakul, Komain
  14. Comparing the 1999 and 2007 Philippine NTA Estimates and Examining the Effects of a Definitional Change of Overseas Workers` Remittances By Salas, J.M. Ian S.; Abrigo, Michael Ralph M.; Racelis, Rachel H.
  15. The Effects of BRICS and MATIK Countries on World Economy and Cointegration Analysis The Long Term Relation G-7 Growth Rates (1962-2012) By KARGI, Bilal
  16. Voluntary initiatives in global value chains. Towards labour-led social upgrading? By Siegmann, K.A.; Merk, J.; Knorringa, P.
  17. Efficiency or Bounded Rationality? Drivers of Firm Diversification Strategies in Vietnam By Hien Thu Tran; Enrico Santarelli; Enrico Zaninotto
  18. Multidimensional poverty targeting By Jean-Yves DUCLOS; Abdelkrim ARAAR; Luca TIBERTI
  19. Incorporating cultural values and preferences in wetland valuation and policy By MAYULA CHAIKUMBUNG; HELEN SCARBOROUGH; CHRIS DOUCOULIAGOS
  20. Does the heterogeneity of project implementers affect the program participation of beneficiaries? : Evidence from rural Cambodia By Ayako Wakano; Hiroyuki Yamada; Daichi Shimamoto
  21. Intercontinental Evidence on Socioeconomic Status and Early Childhood: Cognitive Skills: Is Latin America Different? By Florencia López Bóo
  22. Overseas Filipino Workers Remittances, Inequality and Quality of Life in the Philippines By Deluna, Roperto Jr; Pedida, Sunshine
  23. Preferentialism in Trade Relations: Challenges for the World Trade Organization By Low, Patrick
  25. Very Long-Run Discount Rates By Stefano Giglio; Matteo Maggiori; Johannes Stroebel

  1. By: Suvannaphakdy, Sithanonxay (Asian Development Bank); Tang, Hsiao Chink (Asian Development Bank); DiCaprio, Alisa (Asian Development Bank)
    Abstract: Using an unbalanced panel dataset of bilateral exports from 1992 to 2009, this paper assesses the potential trade impacts of the expansion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 on the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). It finds that bilateral exports are positively related to the overall bilateral country size and similarity in country size, but inversely related to the relative factor endowment differences, transportation costs, and import tariffs. Simulation results show that the formation of free trade agreement (FTA) between ASEAN and the Plus-6 economies (the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea in East Asia; and the other three economies of Australia, India, and New Zealand) can increase bilateral trade between the Lao PDR and ASEAN+6 by $1 billion, and ASEAN+3 by $981 million. Nonetheless, trade balance of the Lao PDR is likely to worsen in both the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 FTAs because they stimulate more imports than exports.
    Keywords: East Asia; trade flow; gravity model; Lao PDR
    JEL: C33 F14 F15
    Date: 2014–04–01
  2. By: Sauvé, Pierre (World Trade Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland); Shingal, Anirudh (World Trade Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland)
    Abstract: More than half of the World Trade Organization (WTO)-notified services trade agreements (STAs) in effect since 2008 have involved at least one (South or Southeast) Asian trading partner. Drawing on Baier and Bergstrand’s (2004) determinants of preferential trade agreements and using the World Bank’s database on the restrictiveness of domestic services regimes (Borchert 2012), we examine the potential for negotiated regulatory convergence in Asian services markets. Our results suggest that countries within Asia that are more remote from the rest of the world and that have similar economic sizes, greater differences in relative factor endowments compared to the rest of the world, common legal origins, high levels of preexisting trade, and restrictive services regulations are more likely candidates for regulatory convergence. Our empirical model successfully predicts 10 of the 14 STAs negotiated during 2008–12 and 88 of the 89 dyads within Asia that lack an STA.
    Keywords: PTAs; services; regulation; regulatory convergence; Asia
    JEL: F10 F13 F15
    Date: 2014–04–01
  3. By: Chang Shu (Bank for International Settlements); Dong He (Hong Kong Monetary Authority); Xiaoqiang Cheng (Hong Kong Monetary Authority)
    Abstract: This study presents evidence of the renminbi's growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region. The CNH market - the offshore renminbi foreign exchange market in Hong Kong SAR - is found to exert an effect on Asian currencies that is distinct from that of the onshore (CNY) market. Changes in the RMB/USD rates in both markets have a statistically and economically significant impact on changes in Asian currency rates against the US dollar, even after controlling for other major currency moves and the transmission of China's monetary policy to the region. The continuing growth of the offshore renminbi market suggests that the influence of the CNH market is rising, but how long the independent impact will last will likely depend on China's progress in liberalising its capital account. The findings also suggest that China's regional influence is increasingly transmitted through financial channels.
    JEL: F31 F42 G15
    Date: 2014–05
  4. By: Anderson, Kym; Strutt, Anna
    Abstract: Rapid growth in Asia’s emerging economies has boosted export earnings of resource-rich economies over the past decade. Will those high growth rates continue, and how will structural changes in Asia alter the relative importance of their imports of primary products? This paper projects production and trade patterns of Africa and Latin America to 2030 under various growth and policy scenarios in Asia, using the GTAP model of the global economy. We compare a projection assuming relatively conservative economic growth in China and India with a projection in which those economies continue to grow rapidly (albeit slower than in the previous decade). We then compare our conservative growth baseline with two alternative scenarios: one assumes Africa and Latin America choose to invest more in public agricultural R&D to take advantage of Asian import growth; the other assumes China and India dampen that growth by restricting their imports of key foodgrains. The final section summarizes the results and draws out policy implications for Latin America and Africa.
    Keywords: Global economy-wide model projections, Asian economic growth and structural change, booming sector economics, food security, International Relations/Trade, D58, F13, F15, F17, Q17,
    Date: 2014–01
  5. By: Chaisse, Julien (The Chinese University of Hong Kong); Hamanaka, Shintaro (Asian Development Bank)
    Abstract: While there is an extensive amount of literature on the noodle bowl of agreements in Asia, the majority of studies exclusively focus on trade (in goods). So far, little emphasis has been placed on the proliferation of international investment treaties (IIAs). Given the significance of IIAs, it is ideal to tackle them extensively as well. Investment chapters under free trade agreements (FTAs) and bilateral and plurilateral investment treaties constitute IIAs. There are more than 1,000 IIAs in Asia. The noodle bowl of FTAs usually results in more options for traders and even can bring unexpected preferences for third parties. These outcomes are all welfare-enhancing, but the literature has overemphasized the effect of complicated rules of origins and other issues. On the other hand, the story of the proliferation of IIAs and the investment noodle bowl is totally different, and as such would lead to inconsistency across IIAs and bring legal interpretation problems as well as the proliferation of unexpected investor-state disputes. This paper aims to provide a detailed reading of recent advances in Asian investment rulemaking and a finer appreciation of how rules in Asian IIAs have evolved in response to stimuli. While existing studies mainly deal with the interpretation and application of the IIAs in which the rules are given, this study deals in turn with the development of rules, including investment protection. The main objective of the paper is to describe and provide an exhaustive mapping of the recent Asian experiences in investment rule-making through regional and bilateral agreements, providing a detailed analytical account of key dimensions of investment treaties. This comprehensive study offers insights on the possible make-up of future attempts at embedding comprehensive investment norms into the regional (such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership) and/or WTO architecture.
    Keywords: bilateral investment treaty (BIT); free trade agreement (FTA); foreign direct investment (FDI); noodle bowl; investor–state dispute (ISD)
    JEL: F21 F51 F53 F55
    Date: 2014–04–01
  6. By: Moricz, Sara (Department of Economics, Lund University); Sjöholm, Fredrik (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: Does democracy increase economic growth? Previous literature tends to find a positive effect but does also suffer from possible endogeneity problems: democratization is typically not random and might be affected by factors that also have an impact on economic growth. This paper narrows down the question to empirically estimating the causal effect of local elections on local economic growth in Indonesia by using a quasi-experimental research method. The first direct elections of district leaders in Indonesia were performed in a staggered manner, and decided such that the year of election is exogenous. Thus, growth in districts that have had their first elections of district heads can be compared with growth in districts that have not had a direct election, which more specifically is performed by using a difference-in-difference approach. Our estimations show no general effect of local elections on economic growth. The result is robust to various robustness tests and is supported by data that show small effects of elections on governance.
    Keywords: democracy; elections; growth; Indonesia; natural experiment
    JEL: H11 O10 O43
    Date: 2014–05–07
  7. By: Matousek, Roman (University of Kent, UK); Nguyen, Thao Ngoc (Nottingham Trent University, UK); Stewart, Chris (Kingston University London)
    Abstract: This study analyses bank efficiency in Vietnam from 1999 to 2009. We use a unique data sample that allows us to capture the development of the Vietnamese banking sector over the last decade. We apply an advanced methodological approach introduced by Simar and Wilson (2007) to examine bank efficiency in Vietnam. An integral part of the analysis is to explore the determinants of bank efficiency. The results indicate that large and very large banks are more efficient than small and medium sized banks with small banks having the lowest efficiency scores in the system. We also argue that banks with large branch networks and those that have been in existence for a long time are less efficient than other banks.
    Keywords: Banking; Efficiency; DEA; Two-stage double bootstrap method; Vietnam.
    JEL: G21
    Date: 2014–04–22
  8. By: Chau, Vu Ngoc; Cassells, Sue; Holland, John
    Abstract: Since the 1990s, Vietnam has made the transformation from being a net rice importer to becoming one of the world’s largest exporters of rice. In fact, Vietnamese farmers have been highly successful at increasing food production since the reformation (Doi moi) in 1986 so that by 2010, rice yields had more than doubled (General Statistics Office of Vietnam, 2012). However, Vietnam, because of its geographical location and characteristics, is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, with a World Bank report (2010) estimating that 59% of Vietnam’s total area and 71% of its population are susceptible to the impacts of tropical cyclones and floods. Furthermore, the regularity of extreme flood events during the last decade in central Vietnam has raised concern, with three flood classes, 1:10, 1:20 and 1:100-year floods occurring in Quang Nam province in 2004, 2009 and 2007, respectively (Institute of Geography, 2012; Institute of Water Resources Planning, 2011). In this study we use a three-stage approach to estimate the direct losses to rice production caused by 1:10, 1:20 and 1:100-year flood events in Quang Nam, central Vietnam. Firstly, utilising information from geo-spatial inundation maps together with the timing of the floods with respect to crop rotation, we calculate flood-depth susceptibility rates for rice crops. Secondly, we calculate the loss to rice production experienced under the three flood classes. Thirdly, using 2010 prices, cost-benefit analyses were conducted for rice production when impacted by the three flood classes. These include scenario (pessimistic, optimistic and likely) and sensitivity analyses. The estimated value of direct losses to rice production for 1:10, 1:20, and 1:100-year flood events were VND11billion, VND100 billion and VND121 billion, respectively. Benefit-cost ratios, already very low for subsistence rice farmers, are further eroded in years of extreme floods.
    Keywords: Flood damage, cost benefit analysis, inundation mapping., Environmental Economics and Policy, International Relations/Trade,
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Briggs, Adam; Chowdhury, Shyamal
    Abstract: This paper analyses food demand patterns of Indonesian households from a resource intensity perspective, and quantifies the impact of changed demand patterns on the use of three major resource inputs -fossil fuel, land and water – in agricultural production. 13 major food items are categorised into low, moderate and high resource intensity, and income elasticity and Engel curves are estimated for the period from 1997 to 2007. Additional resource use due to changes in demand is quantified by controlling for real expenditure growth over the study period as well as consumption and budget share changes. The results show that income growth in Indonesia is associated with demand patterns that are more resource intensive. Per capita requirements of fossil fuel, land and water increased by 3.13(MJ), 1.24(m2) and 2.1(KL) respectively relative to 1997 unit consumption levels. This study shows that at least for Indonesia, economic development will enhance challenges surrounding resource management, given the increased pressure on natural resource use resulting from food demand. The approach provides a useful foundation for further study into other developing countries similar to Indonesia in affirming connections between economic development and food demand that is more resource intensive.
    Keywords: demand analysis, economic development, natural resource management, Consumer/Household Economics,
    Date: 2014–02
  10. By: Martina Kirchberger
    Abstract: While it is clear that natural disasters have serious welfare consequences for affected populations, less is known with respect to how local labour markets in low income countries adjust to such large shocks, in particular the general equilibrium effects of the increase in the demand for construction as well as the inflow of resources in the aftermath of natural disasters. Combining data from the Indonesia Family Life Survey, the Desinventar database, the US Geological Survey and district level employment indicators, this paper explores how a large earthquake in Indonesia affected local labour markets, in particular the evolution of wages and employment across sectors. We find that wage growth in the agriculture sector is significantly higher in earthquake affected areas. We propose two mechanisms for this result: a higher growth rate of the price of rice in agricultural communities which switch from being net sellers to net buyers of rice and a downward shift in the supply of workers in the agricultural sector. We show evidence for both mechanisms.
    Keywords: Local labour markets, natural disasters
    JEL: J20 Q54 O10
    Date: 2014
  11. By: Hooi Hooi Lean; Duc Khuong Nguyen
    Abstract: We analyze the performance characteristics of sustainable investments over the period 2004-2013. Our un- conditional analysis shows that the sustainable portfolios, represented by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indi- ces (DJSI) for the global and three regional markets, experience lower Sharpe ratios than their correspond- ing conventional portfolios. The conditional analysis indicates some evidence of significant effects of the recent crisis on sustainable investment return and volatility, while the US policy uncertainty only affects re- turns in two regions (Asia Pacific and North America) during the crisis period. We finally find a relative decoupling of sustainable investing from the overall market system during crisis times.
    Keywords: sustainable investments; performance; EGARCH; economic policy uncertainty.
    JEL: G11
    Date: 2014–05–19
  12. By: Ogundipe, Adeyemi; Akinyemi, Opeyemi; Ogundipe, Oluwatomisin
    Abstract: This study investigates the implications of foreign land deals in Africa especially with regard to agricultural trade. It is motivated essentially by large scale foreign deals of land in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia that have been reported in recent years. One of the driving forces has been attributed to the presumed availability of land in these regions. This study employs data sourced from World Development Indicators and World Governance Indicators on key variables such as arable land per person, agricultural land as percentage of land area, net food import, regulatory quality, among others (1995-2010) on selected African countries where instances of foreign land deals have been reported. The study formulates empirical models that draw from institutional development theory, which is estimated using the Generalized Method of Moments (GMM). The study found LSFLDs to impact negatively on agricultural export in selected countries, the indexes of institutional framework used were found to be significant; likewise, agricultural land becomes highly significant with relative larger magnitude when interacted with institutional indexes. This therefore implies that as more agricultural land is acquired, agricultural export tends to dwindle and incidences of food insecurity are heightened. The preliminary investigation suggests the need for controlling the issue of massive foreign land deals through viable institutional framework, which can be engendered by building sound legal and procedural measures that will protect local rights and take into account the aspirations of local farmers and the welfare of citizenry.
    Keywords: Agricultural exports, Food security; Institutional quality; Land deals
    JEL: F21 Q15 Q18 R52
    Date: 2013–12–17
  13. By: Jiranyakul, Komain
    Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to examine the relationship between energy use, exports, and imports in Thailand. The annual data from 1979 to 2012 are employed. The results from bounds testing for cointegration reveal that energy use is the main determinant of exports and imports. The results from short-run dynamics indicate that there is long-run causality running from energy use to exports and imports. Policy implication based upon the results of this study is that energy policy should be designed so as to generate sufficient energy for production in the exported and energy-intensive imported goods.
    Keywords: Energy use, exports, imports, cointegration, causality
    JEL: C22 Q43
    Date: 2014–05
  14. By: Salas, J.M. Ian S.; Abrigo, Michael Ralph M.; Racelis, Rachel H.
    Abstract: This paper compares the estimates of the 1999 and 2007 Philippine National Transfer Accounts (NTA) and examines the implications of using two alternative treatments or definitions of overseas Filipino workers` (OFW) remittances in the NTA. To reflect official definitions in the Philippine System of National Accounts, the treatment of OFW remittances in the estimation is changed from being mainly interhousehold transfers in previous NTA estimates to being mainly labor income (earnings) in the revised NTA estimates. This results in a downward revision in lifecycle deficit estimates for 1999 and 2007, highlighting the sensitivity of estimates to definitional changes.
    Keywords: Philippines, National Transfer Accounts, economic lifecycle, intergenerational transfer, consumption age profile, lifecycle deficit, labor income age profile, overseas workers` remittances
    Date: 2014
  15. By: KARGI, Bilal
    Abstract: In this article, long term data is analyzed for the total growth of the world economy and the growth of developed (G7) and of the rapid developing economies. BRICS countries are known countries with their meetings since 2008. Rapidly developing countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, Indonesia and Korea are defined as MATIKin thisanalysisexceptthecountriesfor BRICS meeting. Especially, the basic hypotheses of this study is that BRICS+MATIK countries whose economic shares slowly increase were compared with G-7 and the global economy, i) Help of BRICS+MATIK economies rapidly increase for the growth rate of world economy: ii)They’re the hypotheses that BRICS+MATIK economies are cointegrated with the growth of world economy in long term. In this way, it may be possible that the help of G-7 is compared with the help of BRICS+MATIK economies for the growth of world economy. The study uses the annual data of the 1962-2012 periods. Time series analysis is used to test the hypotheses. The most important finding is that BRICS+MATIK economies affect the growth rate of world economy, and it constantly increases as statistic according to the help of G-7.The result has been acquired that World, G-7, and BRICS+MATIK economies cointegrated in the long term.
    Keywords: BRICS, MATIK, Economic growth, Developing countries, World economy, Cointegration
    JEL: C22 O40 O57
    Date: 2014–03
  16. By: Siegmann, K.A.; Merk, J.; Knorringa, P.
    Abstract: The organization of production in global value chains (GVCs) has been accompanied by a rise of informal and insecure work. Yet, the role of labour agency has received scant attention in the GVC and related literatures. Selwyn (2013) therefore demands to shift attention towards engagement with labour movements to identify what he terms ‘labour-led’ social upgrading. We engage with this plea by investigating the role of voluntary initiatives (VIs) as non-governmental systems of labour regulation in GVCs. The paper asks under which conditions VIs with a more active role for labour emerge in GVCs. In order to answer this question, we apply Wright’s (2000) theory of the factors enabling positive class compromise to a VI that has been implemented in the Indonesian sportswear industry: In June 2011, a Protocol on Freedom of Association (FoA) was signed by Indonesian trade unions, large Indonesian manufacturers and major multinational brands. Based on the analysis of this case, we show that, while the spatial dispersion of production has weakened state mechanisms for the guarantee of labour rights, new pressure points for labour have also emerged, e.g. brands’ reputation or just-in-time production. Besides, new possibilities for transnational labour networks have opened that strengthen workers’ associational power. Moreover, GVCs fragment capital in different factions, such as producers and brands. Their material concerns are not necessarily congruent. Workers’ movements might be able to benefit from such divergent interests. We conclude that if VIs are to create conditions under which decent work can be strengthened, the involvement and strength of local labour organizations is required and producers’ and/or buyers’ dependence on workers’ cooperation may act as a catalyst.
    Keywords: Freedom of Association Protocol, global value chains, Indonesia, labour-led social upgrading, sportswear industry, trade unions.
    Date: 2014–05–12
  17. By: Hien Thu Tran; Enrico Santarelli; Enrico Zaninotto
    Abstract: Considering the case of diversified firms within a transition country such as Vietnam, this paper investigates diversification relatedness taking into account both firm-specific and industry-level components. Two measures of relatedness, the survivor-based and the SIC distances approach, are used to investigate the choice of destination industry by diversifying firms. The conflicting result between these two relatedness index suggests that there has been a trend of imitation and follow-up among inexperienced firms that resemble the direction and intensity of diversification of dominating players within the industry (herd behavior). Accordingly, a higher survivor-based index does not lead to a superior entrepreneurial performance. However, diversified firms gain experience overtime and choose more efficient business combinations in subsequent entries. Consistently with our previous findings, the classical SIC-based approach affirms again that greater diversification raises profitability, but just to an optimum relatedness point beyond which the positive effect starts to fade away. To control for the endogeneity of diversification relatedness and serial correlation of error terms we adoptinstrumental-variable two-stage least-squares estimation (IV-2SLS) with GMM treatment.
    Keywords: Firm diversification, firm performance, bounded rationality, transition economy
    JEL: L25 L29 P23
    Date: 2014
  18. By: Jean-Yves DUCLOS (Université Laval); Abdelkrim ARAAR (FERDI); Luca TIBERTI (FERDI)
    Abstract: The importance of taking into account multidimensionality in poverty measurement has been recently emphasized. The poverty alleviation literature has not, however, yet addressed the important issue of policy design for efficient multidimensional poverty reduction. From a positive perspective, it is regularly observed that different poverty dimensions are often correlated and mutually reinforced, especially over time. From a normative perspective, it can be argued that, in addition to being concerned with impacts on multiple dimensions of poverty, policy should also consider impacts on their joint distribution. The paper integrates these two perspectives into a consistent policy evaluation framework. Targeting dominance techniques are also proposed to assess the normative robustness of targeting strategies. The analytical results are applied to data from Vietnam and South Africa and illustrate the role of both normative and positive perspectives in designing efficient multidimensional poverty targeting policies.
    JEL: D63 H21 I38
    Date: 2014–05
    Abstract: This paper reports the findings of a choice modelling study designed to estimate the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for improvement of the ecosystem services of Bung Khong Long wetland in Thailand. The findings indicate that the cultural values associated with the wetland are significant suggesting that incorporating culture preferences may be a key factor in supporting wetland conservation. Attitudinal characteristics of respondents are important factors influencing WTP, implying community preferences are important in the effectiveness of environmental conservation efforts for this community.
    Keywords: Wetland valuation, Cultural values, Choice modelling
    Date: 2014–04–15
  20. By: Ayako Wakano (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University, JAPAN); Hiroyuki Yamada (Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University, JAPAN); Daichi Shimamoto (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University, JAPAN)
    Abstract: Using the dataset collected for assessment of a post-harvest technology project in rural Cambodia, we focused on the heterogeneous social preferences of project implementers, often overlooked in the literature of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT). Our study focuses on the gimplementer effecth on program participation for the treated farmers. We show the possibility that heterogeneous program participation of ordinary farmers across the treated villages could be induced due to heterogeneity in the characteristics of project staff. In particular, we show the altruism of project staff, measured by the dictator game, consistently increases participation and the number of participations in the training sessions of beneficiaries. This type of heterogeneity in project staffsf preferences across treatment sites might yield noises in mean effects estimated using RCT methods conducted at a certain cluster level, which undermines the external validity of the estimated results. While RCT methods are very powerful tools for many program and policy evaluations, we cannot emphasize too much the importance of the way how an actual project is implemented.
    Keywords: social preference, program evaluation, heterogeneity in treatment effects
    JEL: O22 C93 D03
    Date: 2014–05
  21. By: Florencia López Bóo
    Abstract: This paper documents disparities in cognitive development- as measured by a receptive vocabulary test-between children from households with high and low socioeconomic status (SES) in two different phases of childhood (before and after early school years) in four developing countries: Peru, Ethiopia, India, and Vietnam. Intercontinental evidence on the timing, shape, pattern, and persistence of these disparities is provided. The nonparametric analysis suggests that disparities found at age 5 persist into the early school years across all four countries, and the conditional analysis shows that SES disparities seem to fall over time. However, both the magnitude of the gap and the degree of persistence vary. The main result is that Peru stands out, not only as the country with the largest cross-section disparity between rich and poor (of around 1.30-1.40 standard deviations), but also as the country with the highest persistence in cognitive development, as shown by the value-added specification. The latter suggests fewer opportunities for convergence in cognitive development between rich and poor over time in this Latin American country. Some channels behind these trends are discussed, but overall, the SES gradient persists even when controlling for a large number of important mediators, such as preschool, early nutrition, and schooling. Past performance on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) is the most important mediator of the SES gradient at age 8.
    Keywords: Nutrition, Poverty, Cognitive development, Cognitive development
    Date: 2013–08
  22. By: Deluna, Roperto Jr; Pedida, Sunshine
    Abstract: This study examines the relationship among OFW remittances, inequality and quality of life in the Philippines. The study covered the period from 1990 to 2011 and employed Vector autoregressive (VAR) analysis to examine the relationship among the variables. Over the years, Human Development Index (HDI) as a measure of quality of life and remittances showed a generally increasing trend while the case is opposite for the level of inequality. Remittances and HDI has an average growth rate of 15.32% and 0.55% respectively. Inequality in the country has reduced on the average of 0.07% from 1990 to 2011. This generally implies that even in the ever increasing OFW remittances it has a very minimal effect on enhancing human development and reducing inequality in the country. Empirical results revealed that remittances has no significant effect on income inequality, however it has a significant effect on enhancing quality of life. In specific, for every unit increase in last year’s remittances, human development index will increase by 0.02. Results in granger causality revealed a bidirectional relationship between remittances and human development.
    Keywords: VAR Model, HDI, Remittances, Inequality, Quality of Life
    JEL: C32 E0 O11
    Date: 2014–04
  23. By: Low, Patrick (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: This paper argues that preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are not substitutes, and while PTAs are without doubt here to stay, dispensing with a multilateral venue for doing business in trade matters is not a serious option. It is therefore necessary to seek out better accommodation between PTAs and the WTO than has been apparent to date. The law of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/WTO has systematically fallen short in imposing discipline on discriminatory reciprocal trade agreements, while procedural requirements, such as notifications, have been partially observed at best, and dispute settlement findings have tended to reinforce existing weaknesses in the disciplines. One approach to remedying this situation is to explore a different kind of cooperation—that of soft law. A soft law approach to improving coherence and compatibility between the WTO and PTAs may hold some promise, but the option also has its pitfalls.
    Keywords: World Trade Organization; Preferential Trade Agreements; coherence; soft law; trade dispute settlement
    JEL: F10 F50 K30
    Date: 2014–05–08
  24. By: Yoeu, Asikin; Pillot, Didier; Salles, Jean-Michael; Neang, Malyne
    Keywords: Land Economics/Use,
    Date: 2014
  25. By: Stefano Giglio; Matteo Maggiori; Johannes Stroebel
    Abstract: We provide direct estimates of how agents trade off immediate costs and uncertain future benefits that occur in the very long run, 100 or more years away. We exploit a unique feature of housing markets in the U.K. and Singapore, where residential property ownership takes the form of either leaseholds or freeholds. Leaseholds are temporary, pre-paid, and tradable ownership contracts with maturities between 99 and 999 years, while freeholds are perpetual ownership contracts. The difference between leasehold and freehold prices reflects the present value of perpetual rental income starting at leasehold expiry, and is thus informative about very long-run discount rates. We estimate the price discounts for varying leasehold maturities compared to freeholds and extremely long-run leaseholds via hedonic regressions using proprietary datasets of the universe of transactions in each country. Agents discount very long-run cash flows at low rates, assigning high present values to cash flows hundreds of years in the future. For example, 100-year leaseholds are valued at more than 10% less than otherwise identical freeholds, implying discount rates below 2.6% for 100-year claims. Given the riskiness of rents, this suggests that both long-run risk-free discount rates and long-run risk premia are low. We show how the estimated very long-run discount rates are informative for climate change policy.
    JEL: E44 G11 G12 R30
    Date: 2014–05

This nep-sea issue is ©2014 by Kavita Iyengar. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.