nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2017‒10‒15
twelve papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. Population Sex-Age Structure in Vietnam: New Evidences from the 2014 Intercensal Population and Housing Survey By Nguyen, Cuong; Nguyen, Phai
  2. Federalism: Prospects for the Philippines By Miral, Romulo Jr. E.M.
  3. Going It Alone in the Asia-Pacific: Regional Trade Agreements Without the United States By Peter A. Petri; Michael G. Plummer; Shujiro Urata; Fan Zhai
  4. Dual Practice by Health Workers: Theory and Evidence from Indonesia By Paula González; Gabriel Montes-Rojas; Sarmistha Pal
  5. Evolution and Implementation of the Rastra Program in Indonesia By Timmer, Peter C.; Hastuti, Hastuti; Sumarto, Sudarno
  6. Does Your Birthdate Tell Your Future? Evidence from Vietnam By Nguyen, Cuong
  7. E-commerce for the furniture industry By Mauro Spinelli
  8. Sleep and Student Success: The Role of Regularity vs. Duration By Phuc Luong; Lester Lusher; Vasil Yasenov
  9. O que determina a mudança estrutural?: quantificando os impactos dos mercados interno e externo By Carla Poliana Santos Ávila; Gustavo Britto; Jorge Luís Teixeira Ávila
  10. Nobel Beauty By Jan Fidrmuc; Boontarika Paphawasit; Çiğdem Börke Tunalı
  11. Sources of health financing and health outcomes: A panel data analysis By Fujii, Tomoki
  12. The Exchange Rate System Reform in China: US Pressure, Implicit Gradual Appreciation and Explicit Exchange Rate Bands By Paul S. L. Yip; Yiu-Kuen Tse; Yingjie Dong

  1. By: Nguyen, Cuong; Nguyen, Phai
    Abstract: This paper examines the population sex-age structure in Vietnam using data from the 2014 Intercensal Population and Housing Survey. It shows that the proportion of children has declined dramatically over time. The proportion of children 0-4 years old accounted for 14.6% of the population in 1979, dropping to only 9.4% in 1999 and 8.3% in 2014. Low fertility and high life expectancy have caused the population pyramid to appear drum-shaped, meaning Viet Nam's population pyramid in 2014 characterized an aging population. At the same time, the proportion of the population of working age has increased dramatically. The proportion of the population aged 65 years and older also increased, but at a slower pace. As a result, the overall dependency ratio has declined from 89.9% in 1979 to 63.6% in 1999, 46% in 2009 and only 44% in 2014. It is estimated that Viet Nam will complete the period of the golden population structure in 25 years, around 2040. Regarding sex structure, the sex ratio of Viet Nam has continued to increase, from 94.2 in the 1989 census to 97.3 in 2014. The sex ratio in urban areas was lower than in rural areas. Migration has had a large impact on differences in the sex ratio among regions.
    Keywords: Population, demography, age, gender, Vietnam
    JEL: J1 J15
    Date: 2016–12–15
  2. By: Miral, Romulo Jr. E.M.
    Abstract: The paper aims to consider potential benefits of federalism to the Philippines within the context of two major development constraints, namely, weak economic growth and poverty. The governance and institutional aspects of these development constraints point to how continued centralization of fiscal powers and the resulting common resource pool problem have weakened government capacity to bring about inclusive development. Critical to the success of decentralization and fiscal federalism efforts is a strong middle level government, which is absent in the current setup. The establishment of regional governments, its powers and functions and its relation to the national government and local governments, is the most crucial element in the shift from a unitary to a federal form of government. It is recommended that the proposed shift be carried out in two stages. The first stage will deal with assignment of competencies and the relationship between the national government and regional government, with the power to organize the local governments being one of the competencies exclusively assigned to the latter. The second stage will tackle the regional government and its local governments. Each regional government should come up with its own regional constitution or organic act that could be drafted through a regional constitutional convention.
    Keywords: Philippines, federalism, decentralization, autonomous region, local government
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Peter A. Petri (Peterson Institute for International Economics); Michael G. Plummer (Johns Hopkins University); Shujiro Urata (Waseda University); Fan Zhai (Former Managing Director, China Investment Corporation)
    Abstract: The withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in early 2017 led the remaining 11 countries in that trade and investment agreement to explore alternative ways to sustain economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region. This Working Paper shows that, without the United States, these 11 countries can achieve significant gains from high-quality, TPP-like agreements among themselves and from what might have to be a less rigorous but wider agreement in a separate, 16-member Asian trade negotiation, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Either of these multilateral options would yield benefits greater than those that would flow from bilateral agreements between individual countries and the United States alone, and gains from such accords could grow over time. For example, expanding the TPP without the United States to five other Asia- Pacific economies, all of which have expressed interest in the TPP in the past, would yield global income gains that rival those expected from the original TPP that included the United States, and the gains are even larger for some members. The United States, meanwhile, would suffer losses from such arrangements in two ways: first, because it would forego the benefits that would otherwise accrue from the relatively large TPP agreement, and second, because the new Asia-Pacific agreements would reduce US exports to the region as countries shift their trade to competitors of the United States. In the longer run, a new Asia-Pacific agreement or agreements would keep trade liberalization on the global agenda and likely attract further interest from large partners, including Europe. Eventually, the United States might observe that it is losing out and change its mind about joining these larger trade blocs.
    Keywords: Trade, TPP, RCEP, Asia-Pacific
    JEL: F15 F14 F13 F17
    Date: 2017–10
  4. By: Paula González (Department of Economics, Universidad Pablo de Olavide); Gabriel Montes-Rojas (CONICET-IIEP-BAIRES, Universidad de Buenos Aires.); Sarmistha Pal (Department of Finance, University of Surrey)
    Abstract: Using a simple theoretical model we conjecture that dual practice may increase the number of patients seen but reduce hours spent at public facilities, if public physicians lack motivation and/or if their opportunity costs are very large. Using data from Indonesia, we then test these theoretical conjectures. Our identification strategy relies on a 1997 legislation necessitating health professionals to apply for license for private practice only after three years of graduation. Results using a difference-in-difference regression discontinuity design provides support to our conjectures, identifying the role of weak work discipline, lack of motivation and opportunity costs of public service provision.
    Keywords: Dual practice of health professionals, Ministry of health regulation, Weak monitoring, Motivation, Opportunity costs of public service, Indonesia
    JEL: I10 I18 J2 J44 J45 O1
    Date: 2017–10
  5. By: Timmer, Peter C.; Hastuti, Hastuti; Sumarto, Sudarno
    Abstract: The chapter reviews the history of Indonesia’s approach to food security for its citizens. It focuses particularly on three basic ways to achieve that goal: (a) stabilizing rice prices, especially in urban markets; (b) generating a widespread process of pro-poor growth that pulls the rural poor into a rapidly expanding economy; and (c) providing direct food subsidies to poor households, which it has pursued since 1998 through Rastra. The first half of the chapter lays out the historical and political economy perspective; the second half reviews the design, implementation, and impact of Rastra as of early 2017 and discusses briefly the most recent pilots to reform it. A final section discusses the lessons learned.
    Keywords: Rice for the poor, RASKIN, Indonesia, vouchers, cash transfers and poverty
    JEL: H3 H53 I38
    Date: 2016–08–11
  6. By: Nguyen, Cuong
    Abstract: Many people have believed in astrology and horoscope for a long time, though there are no scientific theories on these topics. Yet, using the 2002 Vietnam National Health Survey, we find that individuals who report birthdates on the 10th and the 20th of a month have worse health, less education and poorer occupations than other individuals, while those who report birthdates on the 31st have extraordinarily better outcomes. One explanation is that people who do not accurately know their birthdate tend to report their birthdate with a rounding digit of zero or five, and ‘not knowing birthdates accurately’ reflects ‘being born in a low educated family with less parental attention’.
    Keywords: Birthdate; Health; Education; Unintended Childbearing; Children
    JEL: J12 J13
    Date: 2017–10–10
  7. By: Mauro Spinelli (CSIL Centre for Industrial Studies)
    Abstract: This report analyzes the world e-commerce market for furniture. The estimated size of the global e-commerce market for furniture and a breakdown by macro-regions are provided. Sales volume and performance for single distributor categories (E-tailers, brick & click furniture stores, non-specialists dealers) are also provided in the report. Online sales of furniture and related products for over one hundred leading players based in US, Europe and Asia are also presented, with profiles highlighting their e-commerce policies. The report includes overviews of the US, European and Asian furniture markets, including forecasts for 2017-2018. Crucial issues for the e-commerce market for furniture - as price policies, logistics and delivery, offline-online integration, role social media - are discussed in light of companies' experiences. Product considered: Upholstery, Outdoor, Office Furniture, Kitchen Furniture, other furniture (furniture for dining and living rooms, bedroom furniture, furniture for bathroom, occasional furniture and non-upholstered seats).
    JEL: L68 L81
    Date: 2017–09
  8. By: Phuc Luong (University of California Davis); Lester Lusher (University of Hawaii at Manoa); Vasil Yasenov (Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California Berkeley)
    Abstract: Recent correlational studies and media reports have suggested that sleep regularity - the variation in the amount of sleep one gets across days - is a stronger determinant of student success than sleep duration - the total amount of sleep one receives. We identify the causal impacts of sleep regularity and sleep duration on student success by leveraging over 165,000 student-classroom observations from a large university in Vietnam where incoming freshmen were randomly assigned into course schedules. These schedules varied significantly: some had the same daily start time across the week, while others experienced extreme shifts. Across a multitude of specifications and samples, we precisely estimate no discernible differences in achievement between students with highly varying start times versus students with consistent schedules. Moreover, we find much smaller gains to delayed school start times compared to previous studies.
    Keywords: School Start Time, Sleep Regularity, Education Policy
    JEL: I20 I21 I23
    Date: 2017–10
  9. By: Carla Poliana Santos Ávila (Cedeplar-UFMG); Gustavo Britto (Cedeplar-UFMG); Jorge Luís Teixeira Ávila (Auditor Federal de Finanças e Controle da Secretaria do Tesouro Nacional)
    Abstract: The present work assesses the extent to which the foreign and domestic markets affect the process of structural change in a set of 40 countries, in the period 1995-2007. For this purpose, a shift-share identity was developed to discriminate productivity growth in terms of the domestic and foreign sources of demand. For the sample of countries, the decomposition analysis is based on a database of 35 sectors from World Input-Output Database (WIOD). The results showed that both the domestic and foreign markets strongly influenced the structural change in Asia and Eastern Europe, while Latin America (Brazil and Mexico) lagged behind mainly due to a low effect of the foreign market. For the higher development level regions, the foreign market was more relevant. Finally, the domestic and foreign markets seem to affect structural change through different channels.
    Keywords: structural change, economic development, shift-share identity, domestic market, foreign market.
    JEL: O47 O11 O57
    Date: 2017–10
  10. By: Jan Fidrmuc (Department of Economics and Finance and CEDI, Brunel University, UK; Institute for Strategy and Analysis, Government Office of the Slovak Republic; CESifo Munich; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis; Global Labor Organization); Boontarika Paphawasit (College of Arts, Media and Technology, Chiang Mai University, Thailand); Çiğdem Börke Tunalı (Department of Economics, Istanbul University, Turkey; Le Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Économie, Université de Strasbourg, France)
    Abstract: We consider the effect of physical attractiveness, assessed using publicly available pictures of top scientists, on their probability of winning the Nobel Prize. There is now an extensive body of literature that finds that physically attractive people receive non-negligible benefits in the labor market, marriage market and social life. In contrast, we find that attractiveness is negatively correlated with the probability of being awarded the Nobel, with the magnitude of this effect being non-negligible. We discuss the potential mechanisms that could explain this result.
    Keywords: Contests, prizes, productivity, discrimination
    JEL: I20 J24 J70 O30
    Date: 2017–10
  11. By: Fujii, Tomoki (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: We study the differential impacts of public and private sources of health spending on health outcomes using a triple difference approach. We find that private health spending has on average a higher health-promoting effect than public health spending. This result is robust with respect to the choice of outcome measure and covariates in the regression and driven primarily by the countries with ineffective governments. Once we restrict our sample to countries with effective governments, private health spending is no better than public health spending for improving the health outcome.
    Keywords: Child mortality rate; Life expectancy at birth; Health spending; Government effectiveness; Triple difference
    JEL: I10 I15 I18
    Date: 2017–09–20
  12. By: Paul S. L. Yip (Department of Economics, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore); Yiu-Kuen Tse (School of Economics, Singapore Management University, Singapore); Yingjie Dong (Business School, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing)
    Abstract: This paper provides a review and empirical investigation of the exchange rate system reform in China over the period between July 2005 and January 2017. We describe the People's Bank of China's (PBoC's) initial achievements and subsequent mistakes in the reform. We note that the central bank's initial honoring of its implicit indication of gradual appreciation played a significant role in its success in the reform initially. However, because of the US pressure for faster renminbi (RMB) appreciation, the PBoC's subsequent violation of the implicit indication of gradual appreci- ation triggered substantial speculative in ows and hence excessive RMB appreciation and volatility between March 2006 and July 2008. We find that during the first ten years of the reform, the PBoC was actually monitoring the RMB-USD exchange rate instead of the nominal elective exchange rate (NEER). This policy failure was one of the reasons for the substantial drop in China's foreign reserves amid the strengthening of the USD between 2014 and early 2017. The PBoC's mini deval- uation on 11 August 2015 was another mistake that had thereafter triggered sharp depreciation and high volatility of the RMB. On the other hand, the several incidences of widening of the RMB-USD exchange rate band over the sampling period was found to have only relatively mild e ect on the volatility of the RMB.
    Keywords: fixed exchange rate system, GARCH model, nominal e ective exchange rate, renminbi
    JEL: F15 F31 F33
    Date: 2017–08

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