nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2015‒02‒16
sixteen papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. An arithmetic analysis of Bangladeshi sending migrants stock and remittance per capita in Malaysia By Mannan, Kazi Abdul; Farhana, Khandaker Mursheda
  2. Growth, Growth Accelerations and the Poor: Lessons from Indonesia By Sambit Bhattacharyya; Budy P. Resosudarmo
  3. The Energy-Growth Nexus in Thailand: Does Trade Openness Boost up Energy Consumption? By Kyophilavong, Phouphet; Shahbaz, Muhammad; Anwar, Sabeen; Masood, Sameen
  4. Identifying Constraints to Financial Inclusion and Their Impact on GDP and Inequality: A Structural Framework for Policy By Era Dabla-Norris; Yan Ji; Robert Townsend; D. Filiz Unsal
  5. Emergence and evolution of learning gaps across countries: Linked panel evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam By Abhijeet Singh
  6. Financial Development and Output Growth in Developing Asia and Latin America: A Comparative Sectoral Analysis By Joshua Aizenman; Yothin Jinjarak; Donghyun Park
  7. The height production function from birth to maturity By Elisabetta De Cao
  8. The economic impact of the Australia-United States free trade agreement By Shiro Armstrong
  9. Influence of age of child on differences in life satisfaction of males and females By Eiji Yamamura; Antonio R. Andrés
  10. Does Competition Eliminate Discrimination? Evidence from the Commercial Sex Market in Singapore By Huailu Li; Kevin Lang; Kaiwen Leong
  11. Deficits and Inflation; Are Monetary and Financial Institutions Worthy to Consider or Not? By Ishaq, Tahira; Mohsin, Dr Hassan
  12. Religions, Fertility and Growth in South-East Asia By David de la Croix; Clara Delavallade
  13. Financial literacy and financial behavior: Do women lag behind? By Menkhoff, Lukas; Grohmann, Antonia; Hübler, Olaf; Kouwenberg, Roy
  14. Consumer demand for the mobile Internet in a greenfield emerging market: The case of Myanmar By Thaw Tar Min; Fife, Elizabeth; Bohlin, Erik
  15. A Question of Degree: The Effects of Degree Class on Labor Market Outcomes By Feng, Andy; Graetz, Georg
  16. Constrained Inefficiency and Optimal Taxation with Uninsurable Risks By Piero Gottardi; Atsushi Kajii; Tomoyuki Nakajima

  1. By: Mannan, Kazi Abdul; Farhana, Khandaker Mursheda
    Abstract: Unskilled and short-term labour migration from Bangladesh to Malaysia has long historical phenomenon which has been contributing both countries micro and macro economy in terms of remittances (Bangladesh) and shortage of 3D labour (Malaysia). This paper objective is to describe migration process, pattern and policies as a sending country (Bangladesh) and receiving country (Malaysia) between developing-developing nations. This study uses cross data from official sources of Bangladesh, Malaysia and also World Bank migration and remittances database. The arithmetic analysis indicates that there is no significance relationship between migration stock and remittance per capita (migrant in Malaysia). The descriptive statistics show that the cumulative and documented migrant stock has been decreasing while volume and per capita remittance has been increasing during the period. The most exciting results provide that the per capita remittance increased during 10 years 5,154.36% based on cumulative sending migrant stock from Bangladesh. Furthermore, the unbelievable results provide that the per capita remittance increase since 2005 to 2014 over 10 years 11,636.10% based on documented migrant stock. On the other hand documented migrant stock increased only 21.78%. Thus the study suggest depth investigation between the countries actual migrant stock (documented and undocumented) and remittance (formal or informal) and to develop better framework to recruit international labour in Malaysia (high deficiency of general labour) especially for Bangladesh (high labour surplus).
    Keywords: migration; unskilled; remittances; 3D jobs; per capita; international labour market
    JEL: J6 J62 K4 O3
    Date: 2015–02–01
  2. By: Sambit Bhattacharyya; Budy P. Resosudarmo
    Abstract: We study the impact of growth and growth accelerations on poverty and inequality in Indonesia using a new panel dataset covering 26 provinces over the period 1977-2010.  This new dataset allows us to distinguish between mining and non-mining sectors of the economy.  We find that growth in non-mining significantly reduces poverty and inequality.  In contrast, overall growth and growth in mining appears to have no effect on poverty and inequality.  We also identify growth acceleration episodes defined by at least four consecutive years of positive growth in GDP per capita.  Growth acceleration in non-mining reduces poverty and inequality whereas growth acceleration in mining increases poverty.  We expect that the degree of forward and backward linkages of mining and non-mining sectors explain the asymmetric result.  Our results are robust to state and year fixed effects, state specific trends, and instrumental variable estimation with rainfall and humidity as instruments.
    Keywords: growth, growth accelerations, mining, non-mining, poverty, inequality
    JEL: I32 N15 O11 O13 O49
    Date: 2013–10–02
  3. By: Kyophilavong, Phouphet; Shahbaz, Muhammad; Anwar, Sabeen; Masood, Sameen
    Abstract: The nexus between trade openness and energy demand is hot topic of discussion among academicians and researchers, and numerous studies are available in existing literature while investigating the nexus between trade openness and energy demand. This paper explores the relationship between energy consumption, trade openness and economic growth in case of Thailand. In doing so, we have applied Bayer and Hanck cointegration approach to test whether the long run relationship exists between the variables. Our results confirm the presence of cointegration between the variables. Energy consumption stimulates economic growth. Trade openness adds in economic growth. The causality analysis reveals that energy consumption Granger causes economic growth and in resulting, economic growth Granger causes energy consumption. Trade openness and energy consumption are interdependent i.e. trade openness Granger causes energy consumption and in return, energy consumption Granger causes trade openness. This paper openness up new directions for policy making authorities in Thailand to design a comprehensive energy and trade policies to sustain economic growth for long run.
    Keywords: Energy, Trade, Growth, Thailand
    JEL: C1 C5
    Date: 2015–02–01
  4. By: Era Dabla-Norris; Yan Ji; Robert Townsend; D. Filiz Unsal
    Abstract: We develop a micro-founded general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents to identify pertinent constraints to financial inclusion. We evaluate quantitatively the policy impacts of relaxing each of these constraints separately, and in combination, on GDP and inequality. We focus on three dimensions of financial inclusion: access (determined by the size of participation costs), depth (determined by the size of collateral constraints resulting from limited commitment), and intermediation efficiency (determined by the size of interest rate spreads and default possibilities due to costly monitoring). We take the model to a firm-level data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey for six countries at varying degrees of economic development—three low-income countries (Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique), and three emerging market countries (Malaysia, the Philippines, and Egypt). The results suggest that alleviating different financial frictions have a differential impact across countries, with country-specific characteristics playing a central role in determining the linkages and tradeoffs between inclusion, GDP, inequality, and the distribution of gains and losses.
    Keywords: Financial services;Income inequality;Gross domestic product;Income distribution;Low-income developing countries;Emerging markets;General equilibrium models;Financial inclusion, inequality, income distribution, hetergenous agents.
    Date: 2015–01–27
  5. By: Abhijeet Singh
    Abstract: There are substantial learning gaps across countries on standardized international assessments.  In this paper, I use unique child-level panel data from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam with identical tests administered across these countries to children at 5, 8, 12 and 15 years of age to ask at what ages do gaps between different populations emerge, how they increase or decline over time, and what the proximate determinants of this divergence are.  I document that a clear pattern of stochastic dominance is evident at the age of 5 years, prior to school enrolment, with children in Vietnam at the upper end, children in Ethiopia at the lower, and with Peru and India in between.  Differences between country samples grow in magnitude at later ages, preserving the country rankings noted at 5 years of age over the entire age range studied.  This divergence is only partly explained by home investments and child-specific endowments in a value-added production function approach.  The divergence in achievement between Vietnam and the other countries at primary school age is largely explained by the differential productivity of a year of schooling.  These findings are confirmed also using an IV approach, using discontinuities in grade competion arising between children born in adjacent months due to country-specific enrolment guidelines.
    Date: 2014–08–08
  6. By: Joshua Aizenman; Yothin Jinjarak; Donghyun Park
    Abstract: We use data from the Groningen Growth and Development Centre (GGDC) database to perform preliminary empirical analysis of the interplay between quality and quantity of finance in accounting for the output growth of ten sectors. We review the existing literature and some salient open questions pertaining to the relationship between financial depth and output growth. Our analysis looks at the finance-growth nexus in 41 economies, including 11 East Asian and 9 Latin American economies for a comparison between two regions which are at similar income levels. We document large differences between the two regions in terms of the impact of financial depth on sectoral growth, and validate the negative impact of financial deepening on output growth in several sectors. Our results suggest that the impact of financial development on growth may be non-linear – i.e. it may promote growth only up to a point.
    JEL: G20 G30 O40 O47 O57
    Date: 2015–01
  7. By: Elisabetta De Cao
    Abstract: Height is the result of a complex process of growth that begins at birth and reaches the end in early adulthood.  This paper studies the determinants of height from birth to maturity.  A height production function is specified whose structure allows height to be the result of the accumulation of inputs (i.e., nutrition and diseases) over time.  The empirical specification allows the causal identification of the age specific effects of both nutrition and diseases on height.  Rich longitudinal data on Filopino children followed for more than 20 years are used.  Considering the differences in growth paterns between boys and girls, the results show the existence of two critical periods for the formation of height: infancy and pre-puberty.  In particular, diseases experienced during infancy, specially in the second year of life, and nutrition during pre-puberty play a major role.
    Keywords: height, health, early-life events, production function, Philippines
    JEL: I10 I12 O15 C13
    Date: 2014–10–03
  8. By: Shiro Armstrong (East Asia Bureau of Economic Research)
    Abstract: The Australia–United States free trade agreement (AUSFTA) came into effect in 2005. It was the second preferential trade agreement that Australia signed, after its agreement with Singapore, and marked a departure from the primacy of Australia’s previous trade policy of unilateral and multilateral trade liberalisation towards preferential liberalisation. This paper assesses the economic effects of AUSFTA by applying the Productivity Commission’s gravity model of trade from its Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements review. The evidence reveals AUSFTA resulted in a fall in Australian and US trade with the rest of the world — that the agreement led to trade diversion. Estimates also show that AUSFTA is associated with a reduction in trade between Australia and the United States.
    Keywords: Trade Liberalisation, AUSFTA, preferential trade agreements
    JEL: F13 F14
    Date: 2015–02
  9. By: Eiji Yamamura; Antonio R. Andrés
    Abstract: Using individual-level data for China, Korea, and Japan for 2006, this research examines how life satisfaction for married males and females in East Asian countries is influenced by the age of their children. Our results show (1) the life satisfaction of females who have a child younger than 12 years old is lower than that of females with no children. (2) The greater the marginal effect of child’s age on the life satisfaction, the more developed a nation’s economic condition.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, child, East Asian countries, ordered probit.
    JEL: D19 J13 J16
    Date: 2015–01–02
  10. By: Huailu Li; Kevin Lang; Kaiwen Leong
    Abstract: The street sex worker market in Geylang, Singapore is highly competitive. Clients can search legally at negligible cost. Sex workers discriminate based on client ethnicity despite an excess supply of sex workers. Workers are more (less) likely to approach and ask a higher (lower) price of Caucasians (Bangladeshis), based on their perceived willingness to pay. They avoid Indians, set a significantly higher price and are less likely to reach an agreement with them, suggesting that Indians face taste discrimination. These findings remain even after controlling for prostitute fixed effects and are consistent with the workers' self-reported attitudes and beliefs.
    JEL: J7 O17
    Date: 2015–01
  11. By: Ishaq, Tahira; Mohsin, Dr Hassan
    Abstract: Institutions are important for the analysis of the association between the deficits and inflation. This study used central bank independence and financial markets as institutional variables to investigate whether deficits are inflationary or not in the presence of dependent central bank and fragile financial markets. Panel dataset has been used for eleven Asian economies from 1981 to 2010. Empirical results suggests deficits are inflationary for Asian economies but budget deficits are particularly stronger candidates for inflationary pressure when financial markets are not fully developed and central banks are not free in followings goals and objectives under political pressure in financing the deficits.
    Keywords: fiscal deficits; inflation; institutions; central bank independence; financial markets development.
    JEL: E31 E50 H6 H60
    Date: 2014–09–01
  12. By: David de la Croix (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)); Clara Delavallade (International Policy Research Institute (IFPRI))
    Abstract: Through indirect inference, we investigate the extent to which religions’supposed pronatalism is detrimental to growth via the fertility/education channel. Using censuses from South-East Asia, we first estimate an empirical model of fertility and show that having a religious affiliation significantly raises fertility. This effect is stronger for couples with intermediate to high education levels. We next use these estimates to identify the parameters of a structural model of fertility choice. On average, Catholicism is the most pro-child religion (increasing spending on children), followed by Buddhism, while Islam has a strong pro-birth component (redirecting spending from quality to quantity). We show that pro-child religions depress growth in the early stages by lowering saving, physical capital, and labor supply. These effects account for 10% to 50% of the actual growth gaps between countries over 1950-1980. At later stages of growth, pro-birth religions lower human capital accumulation, explaining between 10% and 20% of the gap between Muslim and Buddhist countries over 1980-2010.
    Keywords: Quality-quantity tradeoff, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, Education, Saving
    JEL: J13 Z13 O11
  13. By: Menkhoff, Lukas; Grohmann, Antonia; Hübler, Olaf; Kouwenberg, Roy
    Abstract: This research challenges the stylized fact of a gender gap in financial literacy, i.e. the finding that women lag behind men in this respect. Our data which samples middle-class people from Bangkok does not show a gender gap, neither in regards to financial literacy nor regarding various kinds of informed financial decision making. This result is not explained by men s low financial literacy. It may be partially explained by high income of our target group and it seems likely to be influenced by Thailand s cultural background, such as the low degree of masculinity.
    JEL: D14 J16 O16
    Date: 2014
  14. By: Thaw Tar Min; Fife, Elizabeth; Bohlin, Erik
    Abstract: This paper offers a baseline for understanding the mobile Internet market in Myanmar before widespread adoption occurs. The purpose of the paper is to explore consumers' initial demand for existing and future mobile services; the behaviour of mobile users and mobile Internet usage in such a greenfield market where mobile phone services are still emerging. The results of this study are aimed to gain insight into the current dynamics that may become more important when mobile networks and services are in place in near future. The results show that communications is the primary motive for both mobile phone users and non-users. Unexpectedly, gaining help in an urgent situation is the most vital motivation for mobile owners in Myanmar. It is surprising to see that social networking services were highly ranked compared to other mobile services available today. Respondents predict that the future services they will be most willing to use include access to community information and healthcare services. Interestingly, the mobile Internet is the most frequently used Internet services in Myanmar. In addition, demographic factors have a significant effect on mobile Internet usage. Lastly, the study contributes some thoughts for future research.
    Keywords: mobile services,consumer demand,Myanmar
    Date: 2014
  15. By: Feng, Andy (Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry); Graetz, Georg (Uppsala University)
    Abstract: How does measured performance at university affect labor market outcomes? We show that degree class – a coarse measure of student performance used in the UK – causally affects graduates' industry and hence expected wages. To control for unobserved ability, we employ a regression discontinuity design that utilizes rules governing the award of degrees. A First Class (Upper Second) increases the probability of working in a high-wage industry by thirteen (eight) percentage points, and leads to three (seven) percent higher expected wages. The results point to the importance of statistical discrimination, heuristic decision making, and luck in the labor market.
    Keywords: high skill wage inequality, regression discontinuity design, statistical discrimination
    JEL: C26 I24 J24 J31
    Date: 2015–01
  16. By: Piero Gottardi (European University Institute and Universita Ca' Foscari, Venice); Atsushi Kajii (Kyoto University and Singapore Management University); Tomoyuki Nakajima (Kyoto University and CIGS)
    Abstract: When individuals' labor and capital income are subject to uninsurable idiosyncratic risks, should capital and labor be taxed, and if so how? In a two period general equilibrium model with production, we derive a decomposition formula of the welfare effects of these taxes into insurance and distribution effects. This allows us to determine how the sign of the optimal taxes on capital and labor depend on the nature of the shocks, the degree of heterogeneity among consumers' income as well as on the way in which the tax revenue is used to provide lump sum transfers to consumers. When shocks affect primarily labor income and heterogeneity is small, the optimal tax on capital is positive. However in other cases a negative tax on capital is welfare improving.
    Keywords: optimal linear taxes, incomplete markets, constrained efficiency
    JEL: D52 H21
    Date: 2015–02

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