nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2017‒08‒06
nine papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Building local responsiveness in employment and skills systems in Southeast Asia: Lessons from Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam By Jonathan Barr
  2. Productivity Gaps and Vertical Technology Spillovers from Foreign Direct Investment: Evidence from Vietnam By Bin Ni; Hayato Kato
  3. Pollution Haven or Halo? Evidence from Foreign Acquisitions in Indonesia By Inessa Love; Beata Javorcik; Arlan Brucal
  4. Rethinking the development of post-war Sri Lanka based on the Singapore model By Sanika Sulochani Ramanayake; Chandana Shrinath Wijetunga
  5. Capital Flow Dynamics and Central Banks - Lessons from the Asian Financial Crisis and Challenges Ahead - By Sohei Iwai; Shingo Konaka; Marcel Hisamitsu; Hideki Nonoguchi
  6. Scoping Study on Reducing Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens in the Philippine Food Manufacturing Industry By Manalili, Nerlita M.; Simondac, Suzette; Valenton, Imelda V.; Pangilinan, Mara Michelle Q.
  7. The Debt-Equity Choice of Japanese Firms By Chong, Terence Tai Leung; Law, Daniel Tak Yan; Yao, Feng
  8. 30 Years of Being Wrong: A Systematic Review and Critical Test of the Cox and Wohlgenant Approach to Quality-Adjusted Prices in Demand Analysis By John Gibson; Bonggeun Kim
  9. A Generalized Email Classification System for Workflow Analysis By Piyanuch Chaipornkaew; Takorn Prexawanprasut; Chia-Lin Chang; Michael McAleer

  1. By: Jonathan Barr
    Abstract: Southeast Asia has experienced unprecedented growth and development as a result of market-led and export-driven policies over the last thirty years. This has had pulled millions out of poverty and drastically improved living standards over the course of a single generation. As industry becomes more diversified, job requirements demand more complex and sophisticated skills. Strong vocational education programmes at the local level can play a significant role in helping national economies to adjust to changes in the labour market, advances in technology and challenges associated with globalisation. This report on Building local responsiveness in employment and skills systems in Southeast Asia presents learnings from local case studies in Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia and the Philippines in an effort to showcase successful examples of partnerships between employers and the vocational education system. It draws from local experiences to provide policy makers with practical advice for the implementation of vocational education programmes.
    Date: 2017–07–31
  2. By: Bin Ni (Faculty of Business Administration,Toyo University); Hayato Kato (Faculty of Economics, Keio University)
    Abstract: Developing countries are eager to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to gain positive technology spillovers for their local firms. However, which type of foreign firm is desirable for a host country looking for beneficial spillovers? At first sight, foreign firms with higher productivity may seem of more benefit by transferring their advanced knowledge; however, their technological and managerial knowledge may be too advanced for local firms to learn. To address this question, we use firm-level panel data from Vietnam to investigate whether foreign Asian investors in downstream sectors affect the productivity of local Vietnamese firms in upstream sectors according to the foreign firms' differing productivity levels. Using the method of endogenous structural breaks, we divide Asian investors into low, middle, and high productivity groups.The results suggest that the middle group has the strongest and most significant positive impact on local suppliers' productivity.
    Keywords: Technology spillover, Productivity gap, Firm-level data, Vietnam
    JEL: D22 F21
    Date: 2017–07–15
  3. By: Inessa Love (University of Hawaii); Beata Javorcik (Department of Economics); Arlan Brucal (Grantham Institute, LSE)
    Abstract: The link between foreign ownership and environmental performance remains a controversial issue. This paper contributes to our understanding of this subject by analyzing the impact of foreign acquisitions on plant-level environmental performance. The analysis applies a difference-in-differences approach combined with coarsened exact matching to the data from the Indonesian Manufacturing Census for the period 1983-2001. It covers 264 acquisition cases where an acquired plant is observed a year before and at least three years after an ownership change and for which a carefully selected control plant exists. The results suggest that while foreign ownership increases the overall energy usage, due to expansion of output, it decreases the plant's energy intensity.
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Sanika Sulochani Ramanayake (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research); Chandana Shrinath Wijetunga (Seoul National Universitywth)
    Abstract: This study explores three major points, namely, Singapore's development process,Singapore's model of economic development, and the economic challenges of post-war Sri Lanka. This study explores pages of Singapore's past and elaborates the focal points that resulted in its current development status. Sri Lanka's development is discussed and compared with that of Singapore. Insights into Sri Lanka and other developing countries are also provided. This study revealed clear influences of nation-building process on Singapore's economic development. By contrast, Sri Lanka's civil war that spans three decades and its politically unstable post-colonial history adversely affected the country's development. The industrial sectors of Sri Lanka are concentrated on low-skilled labor and manufacturing, mainly textile and clothing. The civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009, but many challenges remained. Therefore, this study examines the impact of Singapore is creating policies for (re)nation building and (re)setting economic goals for post-war Sri Lanka.
    Keywords: Singapore model, nation building, political democracy, economic development, Sri Lanka, Singapore
    JEL: O40 P5
    Date: 2017–07
  5. By: Sohei Iwai (Bank of Japan); Shingo Konaka (Bank of Japan); Marcel Hisamitsu (Bank of Japan); Hideki Nonoguchi (Bank of Japan)
    Abstract: Asian capital flow dynamics which had been on an inflow trend that started in the early 2000s, has shown signs of change against a background of the normalization of U.S. monetary policy. This is drawing attention towards the resilience of emerging economies against capital outflows. While various initiatives drawn from the lessons learned in the Asian financial crisis have enhanced the resilence of Asian countries against capital outflows, there are new concerns, such as the increase in foreign currency-denominated bonds and domestic bonds held by foreign investors. In addition, the change in capital flows presents Asian central banks with the challenge of firmly establishing a transmission mechanism for monetary policy by controlling domestic interest rates. Specifically, money markets need to be developed further by enhancing central banks' funds-providing operations and by stimulating transactions between market participants. The Bank of Japan has been providing international financial cooperation to support such efforts in Asia.
    Date: 2017–07–26
  6. By: Manalili, Nerlita M.; Simondac, Suzette; Valenton, Imelda V.; Pangilinan, Mara Michelle Q.
    Abstract: The food manufacturing industry (FMI) is a major contributor to the country's total manufacturing output. However, despite the industry's performance in terms of job creation and income generation, it is constrained by existing regulatory procedures and processes. A scoping study assessing the Philippine FMI subsectors and the regulatory system governing it is reported here. Specifically, this study aims to map out the existing regulatory procedures and processes in the sector, determine key bottlenecks in the regulatory process chain, and prepare an estimation of the regulatory burden of the bottlenecks. Literature review and consultations were conducted for various food manufacturing subsectors (FMS) and concerned government agencies. This scoping study reveals that regulatory bottlenecks are related to four major concerns, namely, (1) organizational matters, which are related to both administrative and human resource requirements of Food Safety Regulatory Agencies; 2) regulation, which refers to compliance requirements and regulatory-associated fees; 3) trade and market access; and 4) consumer-related concern especially the low consumer rights awareness and movements. Thus, industry-wide plans covering both development tracks and the needed regulatory enhancements covering the abovementioned areas would be beneficial to all the FMS. An in-depth study of the sectors, particularly that of the other food products, dairy sector, and grain mill and starch products, should also be given due consideration.
    Keywords: Philippines, regulatory burden, regulatory management system, food manufacturing industry, regulatory policies, Food Safety Regulatory Agencies
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Chong, Terence Tai Leung; Law, Daniel Tak Yan; Yao, Feng
    Abstract: Prior studies on the debt-equity choice of firms focus on capital market oriented economies. This paper examines whether firms in Japan, the world’s largest bank-oriented economy, adjust their debt-equity choice towards the target. We find that the leverage ratios of Japanese firms do adjust slowly towards their target levels. The adjustment speed has dwindled after the Asian Financial Crisis. In contrast to existing literature, we show that an increase in tangible assets reduces the leverage ratio of firms in Japan. It is also found that the effect of financial deficit is persistent while the market timing effect is not.
    Keywords: Debt-equity choice; Pecking Order Theory; Market Timing Theory; Trade-Off Theory.
    JEL: G3
    Date: 2016–04–13
  8. By: John Gibson (University of Waikato); Bonggeun Kim (Seoul National University)
    Abstract: Most demand studies in agricultural economics fail to estimate quality responses to price. Instead, following Cox and Wohlgenant (1986), quality choice is dealt with by adjusting unit values rather than by treating quality as a valid consumer response to model. Studying a two-choice problem in this manner cannot identify either the price elasticity of quantity or the price elasticity of quality, and instead will yield some unidentified hybrid of the quality and quantity responses. We review 150 papers that cite Cox and Wohlgenant (1986) to see how widespread is the neglect of quality responses to price in the literature. Almost 90 percent of studies wrongly mix quality responses to price in with their reported quantity demand elasticities, thus, overstating by how much price rises can be expected to moderate the quantity consumed. Our empirical test, for 32 food and drink groups in Vietnam, shows that the Cox and Wohlgenant method exaggerates quantity responses to price by a factor of three, on average, and hardly differs from what naïve approaches with unit values show. These results cast doubt on three decades of reported price elasticities of quantity demand estimated from household survey data.
    Keywords: demand; household surveys; quality; price; unit values
    JEL: D12 I10
    Date: 2017–08–03
  9. By: Piyanuch Chaipornkaew (College of Innovative Technology and Engineering, Dhurakij Pundit University, Thailand); Takorn Prexawanprasut (College of Innovative Technology and Engineering, Dhurakij Pundit University, Thailand); Chia-Lin Chang (Department of Applied Economics and Department of Finance, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan); Michael McAleer (Department of Quantitative Finance, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan; Discipline of Business Analytics, University of Sydney Business School, Australia; Econometric Institute, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Quantitative Economics, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain; Institute of Advanced Sciences, Yokohama National University, Japan)
    Abstract: One of the most powerful internet communication channels is email. As employees and their clients communicate primarily via email, much crucial business data is conveyed via email content. Where businesses are understandably concerned, they need a sophisticated workflow management system to manage their transactions. A workflow management system should also be able to classify any incoming emails into suitable categories. Previous research has implemented a system to categorize emails based on the words found in email messages. Two parameters affected the accuracy of the program, namely the number of words in a database compared with sample emails, and an acceptable percentage for classifying emails. As the volume of email has become larger and more sophisticated, this research classifies email messages into a larger number of categories and changes a parameter that affects the accuracy of the program. The first parameter, namely the number of words in a database compared with sample emails, remains unchanged, while the second parameter is changed from an acceptable percentage to the number of matching words. The empirical results suggest that the number of words in a database compared with sample emails is 11, and the number of matching words to categorize emails is 7. When these settings are applied to categorize 12,465 emails, the accuracy of this experiment is approximately 65.3%. The optimal number of words that yields high accuracy levels lies between 11 and 13, while the number of matching words lies between 6 and 8.
    Keywords: Email; business data; workflow management system; business transactions.
    JEL: J24 O31 O32 O33
    Date: 2017–07–31

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