nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2015‒12‒08
37 papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. The Evolution of Cash Transfers in Indonesia: Policy Transfer and National Adaptation By Huck-ju Kwon; Woo-rim Kim
  2. Transboundary Haze Pollution Problem in Southeast Asia: Reframing ASEAN’s Response By Apichai SUNCHINDAH
  3. Shared Cultures and Shared Geography: Can There Ever Be a Sense of Common ASEAN Identity and Awareness? By Farish A. NOOR
  4. Export Destinations and Plant Heterogeneity: Evidence from Thai Manufacturing By Srithanpong Thanapol
  5. Comparing the Health Care Systems of High-Performing Asian Countries By Amanda Smullen; Phua Kai Hong
  6. Tackling Substandard and Falsified Medicines in the Mekong: National Responses and Regional Prospects By Marie Lamy; Marco Liverani
  7. ASEAN's Leadership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership By Yoshifumi Fukunaga
  8. Assessing the Financial Landscape for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community, 2015 By Choong Lyol Lee; Shinji Takagi
  9. Managing Labour Adjustments in an Integrating ASEAN By Rene OFRENEO; Kun Wardana ABYOTO
  10. The Political Economy of Mental Health in Vietnam: Key Lessons for Countries in Transition By Kelley Lee; Rebecca Zappelli; Elliot M. Goldner; Nguyen Cong Vu; Kitty K. Corbett; Jill Murphy
  11. Access to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation in Indonesia By Arianto A. Patunru
  12. Chinese Overseas Hydropower Dams and Social Sustainability: The Bui Dam in Ghana and the Kamchay Dam in Cambodia By Frauke Urban; Johan Nordensvard; Giuseppina Siciliano; Bingqin Li
  13. Enhancing financial stability in developing Asia By Adam Posen; Nicolas Véron
  14. Australia-Thailand Trade: An analysis of competitiveness and the effects of the bilateral FTA By M.A.B Siddique; Rahul Sen; Sadhana Srivastava
  15. What Determines Learning among Kinh and Ethnic Minority Students in Vietnam? An Analysis of the Round 2 Young Lives Data By Paul Glewwe; Qihui Chen; Bhagyashree Katare
  16. The Impact of a Food for Education Program on Schooling in Cambodia By Maria Cheung; Maria Perrotta Berlin
  17. Neutralising the Advantages of State-Owned Enterprises for a Fair Playing Field By NGUYEN Anh Tuan
  18. Conditional Cash Transfer in the Philippines: How to Overcome Institutional Constraints for Implementing Social Protection By Eunju Kim; Jayoung Yoo
  19. The “Highway Effect” on Public Finance: Case of the STAR Highway in the Philippines By Yoshino, Naoyuki; Pontines, Victor
  20. The network-based economy in Vietnam By Quang Truong
  21. Factors Affecting Entry into Supply Chain Trade: An Analysis of Firms in Southeast Asia By Ganeshan Wignaraja
  22. How Income Segmentation Affects Income Mobility: Evidence from Panel Data in the Philippines By Arturo Martinez Jr.; Mark Western; Michele Haynes; Wojtek Tomaszewski
  23. The Mood in Melanesia after the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands By George Carter; Stewart Firth
  24. Twenty Years' Evolution of North Korean Migration, 1994–2014: A Human Security Perspective By Jiyoung Song
  25. Migration and Law in Japan By Atsushi Kondo
  26. Strengthening Trade and Health Governance Capacities to Address Non-Communicable Diseases in Asia: Challenges and Ways Forward By Phillip Baker; Adrian Kay; Helen Walls
  27. Asia and the Pacific: Health Policy Challenges of a Region in Transition By Kelley Lee; Tikki Pang
  28. ASIAN SPOT PRICES FOR LNG OTHER ENERGY COMMODITIES By Abdullahi Alim; Peter R. Hartley; Yihui Lan
  29. The Effect of Peer Observation on Consumption Choices: Experimental Evidence By Antonia Grohmann; Sahra Sakha
  30. China's Role in Asia's Free Trade Agreements By Fan He; Panpan Yang
  31. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Moving the Policy Agenda Forward in the Post-2015 Asia By Aidan A. Cronin; Chander Badloe; Harriet Torlesse; Robin K. Nandy
  32. China's Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Policy in a Post-Health Care Reform Era By Ningzhen Ruan; Thao Nguyen; Kellynn Khor
  33. Is There a Role for Social Pensions in Asia? By Armando Barrientos
  34. South Korea's Global Health Outreach through Official Development Assistance: Analysis of Aid Activities of South Korea's Leading Aid Agencies, 2008–2012 By Eun-mee Kim; Eun-hee Ha; Mi-jin Kwon
  35. Empowering Communities and Countries to Conserve Biodiversity at the National and ASEAN Levels: Status, Challenges, and Ways Forward By Percy E. SAJISE
  36. On Random Social Choice Functions with the Tops-only Property By Shurojit Chatterji; Huaxia Zeng
  37. Prenatal Incense Burning and Infant Health By Marie Christine Ho

  1. By: Huck-ju Kwon; Woo-rim Kim
    Abstract: Cash transfers became a subject of international policy transfer, but the underlying policy process is far more complex than simple policy diffusion. In order to understand the development of cash transfers in Indonesia, it is necessary to examine the long-term policy evolution in the context of national politics. This paper analyses the policy evolution of cash transfers in Indonesia, focusing on the policy decision process at the national level since the Asian economic crisis. It tracks three critical conjunctures of social protection for the poor in which Indonesia tried to adapt cash transfer schemes and institutional frameworks, and eventually consolidated the social protection system. Cash transfers have been adapted in Indonesia in keeping with the strong political motivations of top policymakers for popular support in the context of democratisation, but policy transfers of cash transfers provided an important impetus for the development of social protection system in Indonesia.
    Keywords: cash transfers;social assistance;policy evolution;adaptation;indonesia
    Date: 2015–05–08
  2. By: Apichai SUNCHINDAH (Policy Adviser/Development Specialist)
    Abstract: ASEAN has experienced periodic episodes of transboundary haze pollution resulting from land and forest fires caused by seasonal burning to clear vegetation on the ground for various purposes. Some of these incidents were severe like in mid- 2013 and 2015 for parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand as well as in early 2015 for portions of Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Thailand. Despite more than a decade since the ASEAN Haze Agreement came into force, the problem still recurs and sometimes with serious consequences to health, transportation, tourism, and other activities. What is urgently needed is a reframing of the way the issue is being currently addressed, i.e. mostly tackling at the tail-end of the problem of putting out the fires after they have been lit rather than preventing or curbing the illegal burning practices at source. It also represents balancing economic development initiatives with environmental protection and international relations concerns
    Keywords: ASEAN, transboundary haze pollution, reframing
    Date: 2015–12
  3. By: Farish A. NOOR (S Rajaratnam School of International Studies Nanyang Technological University Singapore)
    Abstract: This paper looks at the state of identity politics in Southeast Asia today, and focuses on how the postcolonial nation-states of the ASEAN region have been trapped by the somewhat exclusive narratives of national history, as written by the first generation of postcolonial historians of the 1950s/60s. However, it is argued that such narrow national narratives overlook the fact that Southeast Asia has always been a region characterised by fluidity and movement, and where identities – of individuals, communities, and nations – were seldom fixed. For there to be a deeper understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asian identity, a more comprehensive and less exclusive approach needs to be taken in the writing of history which takes off from the premise that the region was always a fluid continuum and that societal development never takes on a linear trajectory. The chapter calls for a different way of understanding Southeast Asian identity that accepts hybridity and complexity as the attendant realities of social life, anywhere.
    Keywords: ASEAN, Southeast Asian history, precolonial Southeast Asia, nationalism and national identity
    Date: 2015–11
  4. By: Srithanpong Thanapol (Graduate School of Business and Commerce, Keio University)
    Abstract: Using plant-level data from the 2007 Industrial Census of Thailand, this paper examines and adds new evidence on the relationship between export destinations and plant characteristics, including both productivity and profitability aspects. Our analysis proceeds in three steps. First, we give a detailed comparison of how plant heterogeneity is associated with export destinations by several tests. Second, we extend the analysis using OLS (Ordinary Least Squares) and probit estimations to provide further evidence. Third, multinomial logistic estimation is applied to analyze the choice of export destinations and plant heterogeneity. We uncover evidence supporting recent theories in exporting and firm heterogeneity. Among Thai exporters to various export destinations, for productivity and input intensity aspects, the results show that exporters to Asian countries (especially, ASEAN countries, Chinese-based countries and Japan) are the most productive groups of exporters and are relatively more material- and capital-intensive on average. For the profitability aspect, exporters to ASEAN and Chinese-based countries generally exhibit the highest total sales and sale profits. However, exporters to Japan have the highest rate of profit. We also find that plants with high productivity are more likely to choose to export to the US, the EU, and Japan and ASEAN countries, respectively. Plants with high input intensity are more likely to export to ASEAN countries. Distinguishing difference between plants exporting to top export destinations and destinations that are not, we clearly observe that there exists strong heterogeneity among plants exporting to different type of markets in Thai manufacturing.
    Keywords: Export Destinations, Plant Heterogeneity, Productivity, Profitability, Thailand Cognitive and Non-cognitive Abilities
    JEL: F10 F14 D21
    Date: 2015–11–01
  5. By: Amanda Smullen; Phua Kai Hong
    Abstract: The newly industrialised and high income economies of East Asia perform remarkably well on a range of health system indicators. We adopt an institutional lens to examine and compare the similarities and differences in health care financing and provision in the paired cases of Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea. This illuminates how, despite seemingly common global, regional and functional demands, reformers have responded through diverse means to different institutional constraints. Moreover, some of these cases illuminate the cognizance of reformers with respect to vulnerabilities in their own health care systems enabling effective, albeit ongoing, management.
    Keywords: institutions;health care;East Asia;policy reform;cognizance
    Date: 2015–03–28
  6. By: Marie Lamy; Marco Liverani
    Abstract: The wide circulation of substandard medicines in Southeast Asia is a serious public health concern. Substandard medicines may contain none, or inadequate quantities of the active ingredient, or may contain harmful ingredients. This poses a considerable threat to human lives and an obstacle to infectious disease control at the national, regional and global level, also due to the associated risk of antimicrobial resistance. As trade liberalisation in the region intensifies, moreover, there are concerns that reduced custom controls and higher mobility of people and goods may increase the illicit trade in falsified medicines. In this context, crucial is the ability of governments to develop adequate regulations and capacities as well as enforcement measures to tackle these issues. Given the transnational nature of the problem, the establishment of effective mechanisms for cross-country surveillance, information exchange and coordinated action is also necessary. In this article, we provide an overview of national responses, reflecting on strengths and limitations of past interventions. We then examine existing institutional frameworks for regional health cooperation, particularly the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and their potential to support enhanced capacities and cooperation to address this challenge.
    Keywords: substandard medicines;falsified medicines;Southeast Asia;health policy;regional policy
    Date: 2015–05–19
  7. By: Yoshifumi Fukunaga
    Abstract: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) centrality was one of the biggest motivations for ASEAN's proposal of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2011. In order to gain both politically and economically, ASEAN should play proactive roles in the RCEP negotiation as the driver of substance. ASEAN has already started exercising its influence over the substances of ASEAN + 1 free trade agreements (FTAs). In order to further strengthen its leadership in the RCEP, ASEAN should utilise the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as the model for RCEP. AEC has achieved a much deeper level of integration than the existing ASEAN + 1 FTAs by setting high ambitions with processes to induce reform initiatives of member states. By using familiar AEC measures, ASEAN can create a single and common position despite the large development gaps among its member states. If modelled after AEC, the RCEP will enforce ASEAN's reform efforts.
    Keywords: ASEAN centrality;ASEAN Economic Community;Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership;ASEAN + 1 FTAs;Trans-Pacific Partnership
    Date: 2014–11–24
  8. By: Choong Lyol Lee; Shinji Takagi
    Abstract: The article assesses Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)'s financial landscape and considers issues related to regional financial cooperation. Although the ASEAN Economic Community is expected to come into force by the end of 2015, given the large disparity between the more and the less advanced member countries, regional financial integration in ASEAN can only be an evolutionary process. Regional cooperation is needed not only to help integrate the region financially but also to manage the attendant risks. Areas of cooperation must include, among others, establishing common licensing standards for financial institutions and creating region-wide systems for deposit insurance, credit rating, financial market supervision, payment and settlement, and consumer protection.
    Keywords: ASEAN Economic Community;ASEAN economic integration;ASEAN financial markets and institutions
    Date: 2014–12–11
  9. By: Rene OFRENEO (SOLAIR, UP Diliman); Kun Wardana ABYOTO (UNI APRO)
    Abstract: The integration processes of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are ushering changes in the labour market across the region. Unions complain that jobs are increasingly becoming precarious. Human resource managers find it difficult to retain talents which have become mobile under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint (ASEAN, 2007b) allowing the free flow of skilled labour. And labour administrators are faced with three major policy issues: 1) how to promote human resource development in a labour market that has become regional; 2) how to balance the demand of workers for more protection and the demand of industry for more labour flexibility; and 3) how to maintain industrial peace in an integrating ASEAN? To address the foregoing, the paper argues for increased bipartite and tripartite social dialogue in accordance with the “ASEAN Guidelines on Good Industrial Relations Practices” adopted by the ASEAN Labour Ministers (ALM) in 2010.
    Keywords: Industrial Relations, Labour Adjustments, Social Partnership
    JEL: J5 J6 J8 G34 K31 M54
    Date: 2015–12
  10. By: Kelley Lee; Rebecca Zappelli; Elliot M. Goldner; Nguyen Cong Vu; Kitty K. Corbett; Jill Murphy
    Abstract: Among low- and middle-income countries, there is evidence that populations experiencing rapid political and economic transition have particularly high burdens of disease and disability from mental health conditions. This paper undertakes a political economy analysis of mental health in Vietnam to enhance knowledge translation, notably how both explicit and tacit knowledge can be used to promote evidence-based policy making. It argues that Vietnam's experience illustrates the need to better understand, not only how transition transforms societies, but how it impacts on the mental health needs and care of populations. The political economy of transition in Vietnam has so far given highest priority to economic growth through integration with the world economy and public sector reform. There is a need to recognise that transition in Vietnam poses both a potential threat to the care of people with mental health needs, and an opportunity to develop mental health services appropriate to local contexts.
    Keywords: Vietnam;mental health;globalisation;political economy;knowledge translation
    Date: 2015–03–28
  11. By: Arianto A. Patunru
    Abstract: In 1990, 30 per cent of Indonesian population had no access to improved drinking water source. Almost 65 per cent lacked access to improved sanitation—and almost 40 per cent defecate in the open. One of the Millennium Development Goals' objectives is to halve these numbers of disadvantaged by 2015. We explore the recent progress using World Health Organization/United Nations Children Fund report and the Indonesia's Socio-Economic Survey. We conclude that the country still face a great challenge to meet the targets, especially on sanitation. We next illustrate the importance of these facilities by estimating their impact on diarrhoea incidence. We find that the relative importance of sanitation is higher than that of water. A household with ‘unimproved’ drinking water source is about 12 per cent more likely to have diarrhoea than that otherwise. Lacking of improved sanitation, on the other hand, makes the household member about 23–27 per cent more likely to suffer from it.
    Keywords: MDG;Indonesia;water;sanitation;diarrhoea
    Date: 2015–04–14
  12. By: Frauke Urban; Johan Nordensvard; Giuseppina Siciliano; Bingqin Li
    Abstract: There is a shortage of empirical studies on the relationship between Chinese hydropower dams and social sustainability. Comparative research on Chinese-funded and Chinese-built hydropower projects is rare. This article aims to fill parts of this gap by discussing these issues in relation to Chinese overseas hydropower dams in Ghana (Bui Dam) and Cambodia (Kamchay Dam). Both projects are built by Sinohydro and financed by ExIm Bank. This article draws on in-depths interviews and focus group discussions with local communities affected by the dams, institutional actors in Ghana and Cambodia, Chinese actors, and dam builders. The article uses an environmental justice perspective as an analytical framework. The article concludes that the dam projects could improve their social sustainability framework in practice and theory; social benchmarking should be introduced and social policies need to be improved to be in line with international social standards on hydropower projects.
    Keywords: social sustainability;hydropower;China;Ghana;Cambodia
    Date: 2015–09–09
  13. By: Adam Posen; Nicolas Véron
    Abstract: Highlights ­ • Given no generally accepted framework for financial stability, policymakers in developing Asia need to manage, not avoid, financial deepening. • This paper supports Asian policymakers’ judgement through analysis of the recent events in the United States and Europe and of earlier crisis episodes, including Asia during the 1990s. There is no simple linear relationship between financial repression and stability – financial repression not only has costs but, so doing can itself undermine stability. • Bank-centric financial systems are not inherently safer than systems that include meaningful roles for securities and capital markets. Domestic financial systems should be steadily diversified in terms of both number of domestic competitors and types of savings and lending instruments available (and thus probably types of institutions). Financial repression should be focused on regulating the activities of financial intermediaries, not on compressing interest rates for domestic savers. Cross-border lending should primarily involve creation of multinational banks’ subsidiaries in the local economy – and local currency lending and bond issuance should be encouraged. Macroprudential tools can be useful, and, if anything, are more effective in less open or less financially deep economies than in more advanced financial centres.
    Date: 2015–10
  14. By: M.A.B Siddique (Business School, University of Western Australia); Rahul Sen (Auckland University of Technology); Sadhana Srivastava (Auckland University of Technology)
    Abstract: This paper analyses bilateral trade between Australia and Thailand over the period 1990-2011 with special emphasis on the trade competitiveness of these two nations and the possible role played by the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) that entered into force in 2005. Trade competitiveness is measured with the aid of standard techniques used in the literature such as the revealed comparative advantage index, the cosine index of trade similarity, net exports ratio and constant market share analysis (CMS), while the impact of TAFTA is estimated through an export-demand model. The findings of the paper suggest that the composition of bilateral trade has changed significantly since the 1990s. The changes reflect shifts in the production structures of each economy, which are indicative of long-term economic structural changes. It is evident that the Thai-Australian trade relationship has undergone further adjustment since the establishment of the TAFTA. However, the changes in trade patterns are not necessarily due to TAFTA but, rather, part of a long term trend. The export demand model finds a significant positive impact of the TAFTA only on Australian exports to Thailand, but not vice-versa. The strongest trade link between the two countries has been the export of automotive vehicles from Thailand to Australia. By CMS analysis the findings indicate that Thailand’s export competitiveness significantly contributed to the remarkable growth of exports to Australia experienced over the period. On the other hand, Australia’s exports competitiveness to Thailand has suffered; the main reason being that Australia enjoys competitiveness in commodities, which are not in big demand in Thailand.
    Date: 2015
  15. By: Paul Glewwe; Qihui Chen; Bhagyashree Katare
    Abstract: An analysis of the Young Lives data collected in 2006, involving a younger cohort (aged 5) and an older cohort (aged 12), yields three important findings regarding the Kinh–ethnic minority gaps in mathematics and reading skills in Vietnam. First, large disparities exist even before children start primary school. Second, language may play an important role: Vietnamese-speaking ethnic minority children scored much higher than their non-Vietnamese-speaking counterparts, even though tests could be taken in any language the child chooses. Third, Blinder–Oaxaca decompositions indicate that higher parental education among Kinh children explains about one third of the gap for both cohorts. For the older cohort, Kinh households' higher income explains 0.2–0.3 standard deviations (SDs) of the gap (1.3–1.5 SDs). More time in school, less time spent working, and better nutritional status each explain about 0.1 SDs of the mathematics score gap; Kinh children's more years of schooling explains about 0.3 SDs of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test score gap.
    Keywords: cognitive skills;ethnic minority;Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition;Vietnam;education
    Date: 2015–09–09
  16. By: Maria Cheung; Maria Perrotta Berlin
    Abstract: This study is an evaluation of the impact of a food for education program implemented in primary schools (grades 1–6) in six Cambodian provinces between 1999 and 2003. We find that school enrolment increased to varying degrees in relation to different designs of the intervention. We also investigate the effect of the program in terms of completed education and probability of having ever been in school, following up the affected cohorts in a 2009 survey. With an estimated cost of US$85 per additional child in school per year, the program can be considered very cost-effective within a comparable class of interventions.
    Keywords: Food for Education;program evaluation;Cambodia;enrolment;cost-effectiveness
    Date: 2015–02–12
  17. By: NGUYEN Anh Tuan (LNT & Partners, Viet Nam)
    Abstract: Despite Vietnamese competition authorities’ attempts to control state monopolies in domestic markets during the last 10 year of establishment, this appears to be the key challenge of Vietnamese competition regime. In the process of transitioning from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, the State-owned enterprises (SOEs) sector is perceived as a means to ensure the socialist orientation of the economy as well as preserve national economic goals. For these purposes, SOEs have been offered several advantages ranging from tangible incentives to latent conveniences over the privately owned enterprises. In this context, competition laws and policies should be able to neutralise the advantages of SOEs to level the playing field or else it would be used a shield to protect SOEs from their private rivals. This paper looks into the issues with the SOE sector in the context of Viet Nam’s political economy and identifies the factors inhibiting the country’s effort to control State monopolies in the last 10 years of competition law enforcement. It provides commentaries on the implementation of competition laws and policies in Viet Nam from the perspective of economic integration, particularly the on-going negotiation Trans-Pacific Partnership.
    Keywords: antitrust, competition law, competition policy, competitive neutrality, developing countries, public enterprises, political economy, industrial policy, SOEs, State monopoly, TPP, Viet Nam.
    JEL: K21 L12 L32 L44 L52 L93 L96
    Date: 2015–11
  18. By: Eunju Kim; Jayoung Yoo
    Abstract: This article explores how global social policy can be implemented in the local context by examining the policy process undertaken for the conditional cash transfer program (CCT) in the Philippines. It first takes into consideration how they select CCT as flagship social protection program. It, furthermore, takes an in-depth look at the policy implementation process to find out how the Philippines overcomes institutional constraints where clientelism is prevalent and administrative capacity is inadequate. It shows that CCT could be implemented by centralising targeting and delivery system, investing financial resources with political commitment of national government, and rearranging responsible department based upon inter-ministerial cooperation. Even though administrative set-up has been singled out as the principal obstacle hindering necessary policy change in developing countries, this article maintains that the administrative capability can be enhanced in the process of implementing social protection programs.
    Keywords: social protection;conditional cash transfer;administrative capability;Philippines;policy implementation
    Date: 2015–01–28
  19. By: Yoshino, Naoyuki (Asian Development Bank Institute); Pontines, Victor (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: In this study, we examine the impact of the STAR highway located in Batangas province, Philippines, on the public finance of the cities and municipalities through which it directly passes. Specifically, we exploit a unique, disaggregated dataset on tax (property and business taxes) as well as non-tax revenues (regulatory fees and user charges) of the cities and municipalities in the Batangas province. We find, based on our two specifications of a modified difference-in-difference model, that the STAR highway had a robust, statistically significant, and economically growing impact on business taxes. We also find that this so-called “highway effect” also extends to municipalities located in a neighboring province to Batangas. Furthermore, based on more careful inspection and robustness checks, it appears that the STAR highway had a significant impact not only on business taxes, but also on property taxes and regulatory fees. These findings support the widely held belief that infrastructure investments matter; further, our micro-case study suggests that infrastructure investments can indirectly boost tax and non-tax revenues through their power to reduce transportation costs and enhance the activity of firms and workers located along the highway.
    Keywords: Infrastructure investment; public finance; STAR highway
    JEL: H54 H71 O22 R11
    Date: 2015–11–30
  20. By: Quang Truong (Maastricht School of Management)
    Abstract: After two decades of GPD high growth in the 1991-2010, Vietnam is currently entering a declining phase. The on-going developments would virtually nullify all achievements the country has previously achieved and deny the CPV’s promise to transform Vietnam into an industrialized country in 2020. The ‘ideology vs reality’ dilemma facing Vietnam today is generally held as the main block holding back the momentum Doi moi campaign initially generated growth, but has prevented the country jump starting and accelerating economic growth toward a more qualitative and sustainable development phase. This is because of the CPV continued insistence on building ‘a market economy with socialist orientation’. The ‘socialist’ model of development, typically of a state capitalist or network-based economy, which favors SOEs as the ‘pillars’ of the economy with all the privileges and protection attached to it, has drained the country’s resources and prevented the private sector from joining the market and the development process on an equal footing. Instead, it has created and nurtured a breeding ground for corruption, cronyism, favoritism and nepotism that leaves little room for private innovation, efficient production and effective management so that Vietnamese products can compete and grow sustainably in international markets. What Vietnam really needs to come out of the dire situation of today and to become more sustainable is a development-oriented market economy and a public administration for development, if the country was to keep pace with development in the region, let alone in the world. Furthermore, a check-and-balance mechanism is needed to allow the participation of a more active civil society to counter the excessive abuse of power brought about by the corrupted network that has caused severe threats the economic sustainability of the country.
    Keywords: Vietnam, development model, network-based economy, cronyism, corruption, civil society
    Date: 2015–12
  21. By: Ganeshan Wignaraja
    Abstract: This article undertakes a comparative, firm-level analysis of joining supply chain trade in five Southeast Asian economies to improve our understanding of fragmentation of manufacturing across borders. The findings suggests that firm size (reflecting economies of scale to overcome entry costs) matters for joining supply chain trade with large firms playing the dominant role in Southeast Asian economies. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make a small contribution to supply chain trade relatively to the sectors employment contribution. However, firm size is not the whole story. Efficiency—particularly investment in building technological capabilities and skills—and access to commercial bank credit also influence joining supply chain trade. The article suggests that governments can facilitate SMEs joining supply chain trade through a market-oriented strategy, modern physical infrastructure, streamlined regulations and efficient business support services.
    Keywords: production fragmentation;global supply chains;SMEs;technological capabilities;access to finance
    Date: 2015–03–24
  22. By: Arturo Martinez Jr.; Mark Western; Michele Haynes; Wojtek Tomaszewski
    Abstract: Despite vibrant economic growth, the Philippines confronts persistently high income inequality. Using household-level panel data collected for the years 2003, 2006 and 2009, we investigate how income segmentation affects Filipinos' income mobility prospects. The results of the multinomial logistic models suggest that if households are grouped according to initial income (in 2003), richer households had the lowest propensity to experience slow to moderate income changes and were most likely to experience consistently downward mobility from 2003 to 2009, while initially poorer households had the highest propensity to experience consistently upward mobility. On the other hand, if households are grouped according to permanent income, we still find that lower income households experienced (slightly) better income mobility outcomes; however, their edge over higher income households was much smaller than when initial income was used. This result could indicate that convergence on the basis of initial income may be in part random variation. The findings are robust to heuristic and model-based methods of grouping households into different income segments.
    Keywords: income inequality;income mobility;economic growth;pro-poor growth;the Philippines
    Date: 2015–09–09
  23. By: George Carter; Stewart Firth
    Abstract: Melanesia is becoming a region of many partners, expanding diplomatic options and a new sense of independence. The wider context of the new Melanesian assertiveness is one in which China is a rising power and Indonesia is forging closer links with the western Pacific. The impetus to Fiji's new assertiveness arose from the diplomatic isolation imposed upon it by Australia and New Zealand after the 2006 military coup. Papua New Guinea's new confidence is founded upon its liquefied natural gas boom. Even Solomon Islands is expanding diplomatic connections. Regionally, the change can be seen in the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which now counts Indonesia among its members, and in Fiji's push for its own vision of Pacific regionalism. Australia and New Zealand nevertheless remain the indispensable countries in the region. Australia's commitment to Melanesia remains constant but without the bold initiatives and interventionist enthusiasm of the early RAMSI years.
    Keywords: Melanesia;regionalism;West Papua;Indonesia;diplomacy
    Date: 2015–11–16
  24. By: Jiyoung Song
    Abstract: Over the past two decades, there have been notable changes in North Korean migration: from forced migration to trafficking in women, from heroic underground railways to people smuggling by Christian missionaries. The migration has taken mixed forms of asylum seeking, human trafficking, undocumented labour migration and people smuggling. The paper follows the footsteps of North Korean migrants from China through Southeast Asia to South Korea, and from there to the United Kingdom, to see the dynamic correlation between human (in)security and irregular migration. It analyses how individual migrant's agency interacts with other key actors in the migration system and eventually brings about emerging patterns of four distinctive forms of irregular migration in a macro level. It uses human security as its conceptual framework that is a people-centred, rather than state- or national security-centric approach to irregular migration.
    Keywords: North Korea;migration;human trafficking;people smuggling;human security
    Date: 2015–05–05
  25. By: Atsushi Kondo
    Abstract: It has been claimed that Japan is not a country of immigration. Where is Japan's distinctiveness evident, and what features does it share with other countries? This article examines the unique points of Japan and investigates problems of residence and citizenship. This article argues that Japan's historical legacy and international human rights have had an impact on Japan's migration and law, takes into consideration the need for new policies and examines some thorny issues. Globalisation and an ageing population are generating a debate on implementing a more liberal admission policy for highly skilled workers, students and nurses/care workers. Thorny issues comprise ethnic discrimination underscored by a colonial legacy and the still existing cold war in East Asia. Drawing a comparison with selected developed countries, this article indicates several challenges for Japan's migration and law. Markedly, Japan is the only developed industrialised democracy that does not have an anti-discrimination law.
    Keywords: immigration law;regularisation;citizenship;quota refugees;highly skilled migrants
    Date: 2015–01–05
  26. By: Phillip Baker; Adrian Kay; Helen Walls
    Abstract: Trade liberalisation is a driver of the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in Asia through its role in facilitating the growth of the region's tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed foods industries while simultaneously restricting the capacities of governments to enact public health regulations. This highlights the need for greater coherence between health and trade policy in the region. Yet there has been little analysis of these topics with regard to Asia. What are the barriers and opportunities for enhancing trade and health policy coherence and strengthening governance capacities? How can health, in particular the prevention of non-communicable diseases through curbing risk commodity markets, be positioned more centrally in trade policy? We draw upon a diversity of literature to outline seven key challenges to governing the health–trade nexus as it relates to risk commodities and non-communicable diseases in Asia, and offer suggestions for strengthening capacities.
    Keywords: non-communicable diseases;trade liberalisation;Asia;regulation;governance
    Date: 2015–05–28
  27. By: Kelley Lee; Tikki Pang
    Date: 2015–05–28
  28. By: Abdullahi Alim (Business School, University of Western Australia); Peter R. Hartley (Business School, University of Western Australia); Yihui Lan (Business School, University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: We investigate the relationship between the Japan-Korea Marker (JKM) price of LNG, the price of Brent oil and spot prices of fuel oil and thermal coal in Asia. We focus especially on the JKM price. This is of increasing interest as a result of the increasing proportion of spot and short-term trading of LNG together with proposals to develop an LNG pricing hub in Asia with associated derivatives markets. In addition, since imminent LNG exports from the US Gulf Coast may substantially disrupt historical pricing relationships between natural gas prices in different locations and the relationships between those prices and the price of oil, it is of interest to characterize the behaviour of LNG prices in Asia before such disruptions occur. Finally, our analysis has implications for the suitability of the JKM price as an alternative to oil or other spot natural gas prices for indexing long-term LNG contracts.
    Date: 2015
  29. By: Antonia Grohmann; Sahra Sakha
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of peer observation on the consumption decisions of rural households in Thailand using a lab-in-the-field experiment. We find that those groups that observe each other show lower within group standard deviation in their decisions. Thus, we find evidence for conformity. Further, we find that individual's consumption choice is influenced by the group choice controlling for large number of individual, household, and village characteristics. We find that unfamiliarity of the product is counteracted by peer effects. Finally, we find evidence of treatment heterogeneity with regards to cognitive ability and village size.
    Keywords: Consumption, Peer Effects, Conformity
    JEL: D12 C21 C92
    Date: 2015
  30. By: Fan He; Panpan Yang
    Abstract: A new wave of regional trade negotiations have sprung up in the Asia-Pacific region. China faces challenges and opportunities simultaneously. On the one hand, if China is excluded from major regional trade agreements, such as Trans-Pacific Partnership, it may hurt China's future growth. On the other hand, China can utilise the opportunities of regional trade negotiations to shape the new rules of international trade from the very early stage. Regional trade negotiations are also important for China because it needs further opening up to facilitate the domestic economic reform.
    Keywords: regional trade negotiations;TPP;RCEP;China
    Date: 2015–03–16
  31. By: Aidan A. Cronin; Chander Badloe; Harriet Torlesse; Robin K. Nandy
    Abstract: Despite rapid economic growth in Asia, serious health, nutrition and development gaps persist, including inadequate services and inequitable access in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. We show that the WASH sector has ample justification for increased focus and investment to increase health and nutrition impact, but appropriate prioritisation and quality implementation of interventions are required to address these gaps. The Sustainable Development Goals present opportunities for an increased focus. We argue that the key components required to accelerate change include strengthened data availability, quality and use, institutional and policy reform for greater cross-sectoral integration and clear accountabilities at national and local level if countries are to achieve universal access with equity, sustainability and quality.
    Keywords: water;sanitation;hygiene;Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
    Date: 2015–05–28
  32. By: Ningzhen Ruan; Thao Nguyen; Kellynn Khor
    Abstract: Vaccination is recognised as one of the most effective ways to combat seasonal influenza—a disease that exerts significant social and economic costs, yet is often neglected by policy-makers and the vaccine target population in developing countries. The situation in China is no exception with seasonal influenza vaccine remaining as a class II vaccine and being financed by citizens' out-of-pocket payments. The different cultural backgrounds, climate patterns and living standards across China further complicate the policymaking process of developing national level policy guidelines. Nevertheless, China's recent health care reform that focuses on preventive care, elderly care and equitable health care access has motivated policy-makers at the local level to formulate policies facilitating seasonal influenza vaccination provision. This article seeks to understand this process at the city level under China's current economic transition background, and aims to identify policy experiences that may be applicable for the larger Asia-Pacific region.
    Keywords: China;public health policy;health care reform;seasonal influenza;vaccination
    Date: 2015–05–28
  33. By: Armando Barrientos
    Abstract: Rapid population ageing and economic transformation in Asia underline the policy challenges associated with ensuring income security in old age. This article examines the potential role of social pensions in securing old-age income security in Asia. It assesses the main policy trade-offs associated with adopting alternative social pension designs, especially around two critical policy points: the comparative advantages of social assistance and social pensions; and the integration of non-contributory transfers within advanced contributory pension schemes.
    Keywords: pensions;income security;poverty;old age
    Date: 2014–12–11
  34. By: Eun-mee Kim; Eun-hee Ha; Mi-jin Kwon
    Abstract: Although South Korea is one of the newest members to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee in 2010, it has a long history of official development assistance (ODA), first as a recipient of aid (1945–1995) and later as an emerging donor (with the establishment of aid-implementing agencies for concessional loans in 1987, and for grant aid in 1991, respectively). And, global public health has been one of the three largest outreach areas of South Korea's foreign aid programmes. This article examines the global public health outreach activities of South Korea's leading aid-implementing agencies, namely Korea International Cooperation Agency, Korea Foundation for International Healthcare and Economic Development and Cooperation Fund, using data for the latest period, 2008–2012. South Korea's innovative global public health ODA through the Global Poverty Eradication Contribution is also examined. The analysis of global public health outreach activities has shown that South Korea has concentrated its foreign aid to Asia and Africa, and that a large share of its aid has been focused on health care services; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); maternal and child health (MCH); and infectious diseases. A significant regional difference was found: South Korea's aid focused on health care services and MCH in Asia, while it focused on WASH and infectious diseases in Africa. Findings have also shown that South Korea's priority countries for development cooperation have received more aid compared with non-priority countries. In conclusion, we have found that South Korea's global health outreach activities were in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but that they lack a clear focus and do not have globally recognised initiatives or projects compared with large and traditional donors such as the United States and Japan. Further research is needed to examine the impact of the rapidly rising aid activities of South Korea, especially in global public health.
    Keywords: South Korea, global public health;official development assistance;development cooperation;aid
    Date: 2015–05–28
  35. By: Percy E. SAJISE (Bioversity International Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA))
    Abstract: The importance of biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use for the realisation of the ASEAN vision of promoting sustainable development and a green economy is well recognised. However, the current state of biodiversity in general, and agro-biodiversity in particular, in the region is a matter of serious concern. There has been significant progress in the expansion of Protected Areas in the region, as well as the setting up of both in situ and ex situ biodiversity conservation programmes. Nonetheless, urgent steps still need to be taken at the community, national and regional levels to ensure biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use. This paper provides an analysis of the opportunities and constraints of biodiversity conservation in natural and agricultural ecosystems. This analysis has been used to identify important strategies and initiatives to promote community empowerment, as well as national strengthening and regional collaboration to enhance biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use for the realisation of the ASEAN vision.
    Keywords: biodiversity, agro-biodiversity, resilience, sustainability, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Convention on Biological Diversity
    Date: 2015–12
  36. By: Shurojit Chatterji (Singapore Management University); Huaxia Zeng (Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: We study the standard voting model with randomization. A Random Social Choice Function (or RSCF) satisfies the tops-only property if the social lottery under each preference profile depends only on voters' peaks of preferences. We identify a general condition on domains of preferences (the Interior Property and the Exterior Property) which ensures that every strategy-proof RSCF satisfying unanimity has the tops-only property. We provide applications of this sufficient condition and use it to derive new results.
    Date: 2015–09
  37. By: Marie Christine Ho (Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: Incense burning for rituals or religious purposes is an important tradition in many countries. However, incense smoke contains particulate matter and gas products such as carbon monoxide, sulfur and nitrogen dioxide, which are potentially harmful to health. We analyzed the relationship between prenatal incense burning and birth weight and head circumference at birth using the Taiwan Birth Cohort Study. We performed multivariate regression analysis on a sample of 15,773 Taiwanese babies born in 2005 and controlled extensively for factors that may be correlated with incense burning and birth outcomes. Prenatal incense burning environment was associated with lower birth weight and smaller head circumference at birth, especially for boys and especially for the lower quantiles of the distributions of birth outcomes.
    Date: 2015–09

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