nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2020‒06‒15
fifteen papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar
Asian Development Bank

  1. How digital natives learn and thrive in the digital age: Evidence from an emerging economy By Trung Tran; Manh Toan Ho; Thanh-Hang Pham; Minh Hoang Nguyen; Khanh Linh K.L.P. Nguyen; Thu Trang Vuong; Thanh Huyen T.H.T. Nguyen; Thanh Dung Nguyen; Thi Linh Nguyen; Quy Khuc; Viet Phuong La; Quan-Hoang Vuong
  2. Policy response, social media and science journalism for the sustainability of the public health system amid the COVID-19 outbreak: The vietnam lessons By Viet Phuong La; Thanh-Hang Pham; Manh Toan Ho; Minh Hoang Nguyen; Khanh Linh K.L.P. Nguyen; Thu Trang Vuong; Hong Kong To Nguyen; Trung Tran; Quy Khuc; Manh Tung Ho; Quan-Hoang Vuong
  3. Corruption and mental health By Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal; Finn Tarp
  4. Human Development Dynamics across Districts of Indonesia: A Study of Regional Convergence and Spatial Approach By Miranti, Ragdad Cani; Mendez-Guerra, Carlos
  5. Democratisation under Diversity: Theory and Evidence from Indonesian Communities By Anirban Mitra; Sarmistha Pal
  6. Does Early Access to Pension Wealth Improve Health? By Kim, Seonghoon; Koh, Kanghyock
  7. Disentangling the supply and demand factors of household credit in Malaysia: evidence from the credit register By Jiaming Soh
  8. A 2017 Social Accounting Matrix for Myanmar By Dirk van Seventer; Finn Tarp; Nyo Nyo San; Soe Thei Nu Htwe; Thandar
  9. Women’s empowerment in agriculture and nutritional outcomes: Evidence from six countries in Africa and Asia By Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Sproule, Kathryn; Martinez, Elena M.; Malapit, Hazel J.
  10. Forecast combinations in machine learning By Qiu, Yue; Xie, Tian; Yu, Jun
  11. Islam and the State: Religious Education in the Age of Mass Schooling By Bazzi, Samuel; Hilmy, Masyhur; Marx, Benjamin
  12. Efficient Bilateral Trade with Interdependent Values: The Use of Two-Stage Mechanisms By Kunimoto, Takashi; Zhang, Cuiling
  13. Detecting Latent Communities in Network Formation Models By Ma, Shujie; Su, Liangjun; Zhang, Yichong
  14. The Role of Global Economic Conditions in Forecasting Gold Market Volatility: Evidence from a GARCH-MIDAS Approach By Afees A. Salisu; Rangan Gupta; Elie Bouri
  15. Overhauling Land Transportation in the New Normal and Beyond By Jedd Ugay; Monica Lavares; Jerik Cruz; Marjorie Muyrong

  1. By: Trung Tran; Manh Toan Ho; Thanh-Hang Pham; Minh Hoang Nguyen; Khanh Linh K.L.P. Nguyen; Thu Trang Vuong; Thanh Huyen T.H.T. Nguyen; Thanh Dung Nguyen; Thi Linh Nguyen; Quy Khuc; Viet Phuong La; Quan-Hoang Vuong
    Abstract: As a generation of 'digital natives,' secondary students who were born from 2002 to 2010 have various approaches to acquiring digital knowledge. Digital literacy and resilience are crucial for them to navigate the digital world as much as the real world; however, these remain under-researched subjects, especially in developing countries. In Vietnam, the education system has put considerable effort into teaching students these skills to promote quality education as part of the United Nations-defined Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4). This issue has proven especially salient amid the COVID?19 pandemic lockdowns, which had obliged most schools to switch to online forms of teaching. This study, which utilizes a dataset of 1061 Vietnamese students taken from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)'s "Digital Kids Asia Pacific (DKAP)" project, employs Bayesian statistics to explore the relationship between the students' background and their digital abilities. Results show that economic status and parents' level of education are positively correlated with digital literacy. Students from urban schools have only a slightly higher level of digital literacy than their rural counterparts, suggesting that school location may not be a defining explanatory element in the variation of digital literacy and resilience among Vietnamese students. Students' digital literacy and, especially resilience, also have associations with their gender. Moreover, as students are digitally literate, they are more likely to be digitally resilient. Following SDG4, i.e. Quality Education, it is advisable for schools, and especially parents, to seriously invest in creating a safe, educational environment to enhance digital literacy among students.
    Keywords: Bayesvl; Digital age; Digital literacy; Digital resilience; Parental education; Quality education; Socio-economic status; Sustainable Development Goal 4; Vietnam
    Date: 2020–05
  2. By: Viet Phuong La; Thanh-Hang Pham; Manh Toan Ho; Minh Hoang Nguyen; Khanh Linh K.L.P. Nguyen; Thu Trang Vuong; Hong Kong To Nguyen; Trung Tran; Quy Khuc; Manh Tung Ho; Quan-Hoang Vuong
    Abstract: Having geographical proximity and a high volume of trade with China, the first country to record an outbreak of the new Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Vietnam was expected to have a high risk of transmission. However, as of 4 April 2020, in comparison to attempts to containing the disease around the world, responses from Vietnam are seen as prompt and effective in protecting the interests of its citizens, with 239 confirmed cases and no fatalities. This study analyzes the situation in terms of Vietnam's policy response, social media and science journalism. A self-made web crawl engine was used to scan and collect official media news related to COVID-19 between the beginning of January and April 4, yielding a comprehensive dataset of 14,952 news items. The findings shed light on how Vietnam-despite being under-resourced-has demonstrated political readiness to combat the emerging pandemic since the earliest days. Timely communication on any developments of the outbreak from the government and the media, combined with up-to-date research on the new virus by the Vietnamese science community, have altogether provided reliable sources of information. By emphasizing the need for immediate and genuine cooperation between government, civil society and private individuals, the case study offers valuable lessons for other nations concerning not only the concurrent fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but also the overall responses to a public health crisis.
    Keywords: Coronavirus; COVID-19; Pandemic; Policy response; Public health system; SARS-CoV-2; Science journalism; Social media; Vietnam
    Date: 2020–04
  3. By: Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal; Finn Tarp
    Abstract: While there is substantial corruption in developing countries, the costs imposed by corruption on individuals and households are little understood. This study examines the relationship between exposure to local corruption and mental health, as measured by depressive symptoms. We use two large data sets - one cross-sectional and one panel - collected across rural Vietnam. After controlling for individual and regional characteristics, we find strong and consistent evidence that day-to-day petty corruption is positively associated with psychological distress. Our results are robust to a variety of specification checks. Further, we find that the relationship between corruption and mental health is stronger for women, and that there are no heterogeneous effects by poverty status. Finally, using a difference-in-difference estimation strategy, we provide suggestive evidence that a recent highly proled anti-corruption campaign had significant positive effects on mental health. Overall, our findings suggest that there may be substantial psychosocial and mental health benefits from efforts to reduce corruption and improve rural governance structures.
    Keywords: Corruption, mental health, depression, Vietnam
    JEL: I3 I15 O12 D73 P3
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Miranti, Ragdad Cani; Mendez-Guerra, Carlos
    Abstract: Indonesia is an archipelago country which comprises of two main parts, western and eastern regions and spread into over 500 districts. Each district has their own characteristics, especially in development aspect. Some districts have been growing faster on economic and social development, yet others still fall behind. Using Human Development Index and its components on education, health and economic variables over 2010- 2018 period, this study aims to examine convergence on the regional human growth process and investigate the speed of convergence across districts. The result reveals convergence occurred on human development process and its determinants across districts during 2010-2018. Education variables are assumed as the main contributor for boosting the speed of convergence of human development. Spatial dependences are detected among districts, followed by the spatial clusters and spatial outliers through global and local spatial autocorrelation. Applying two spatial autoregressive models, spatial autoregressive lag model (SAR) and spatial autoregressive error model (SEM), confirmed that there is significant spatial spill-overs.The speed of convergence for all variables are much declining after the inclusion of spatial lag and error model. As the policy implication, since regional inequality in term of human development is still a major issue, it will be a call for better coordination and cooperation within and between regions.
    Keywords: Indonesia, human development, convergence, spatial approach, district
    JEL: O15
    Date: 2020–04
  5. By: Anirban Mitra; Sarmistha Pal
    Abstract: We study the effect of ethnic diversity on local public spending following fiscal decentralisation in a setting where local institutions condition cooperative behaviour across ethnic groups. The theory we develop highlights the role of the local elite in lobbying for policies which favour them in a decentralised setting. The differences in preferences over public good allocations along with the salience of coordination costs across ethnic groups are relevant in determining the equilibrium lobbying behaviour. This results in ethnic diversity having a detrimental effect on local developmental spending which is aggravated by increased levels of coordination costs. We test these predictions using Indonesian community-level data. Utilising the 1997 and 2007 Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) rounds, we are able to construct various measures of ethnic diversity. Also, we exploit an institutional feature of Indonesian communities - namely, the observance of traditional "Adat" laws to proxy coordination costs across ethnic groups. Overall, we find that ethnic diversity depresses local development spending post-decentralisation at the community level particularly where Adat laws are not followed, which is consistent with our theory.
    Keywords: Decentralisation; Lobbying; Local development; Political Economy
    JEL: D72 D74 H40
    Date: 2020–04
  6. By: Kim, Seonghoon (Singapore Management University); Koh, Kanghyock (Korea University)
    Abstract: We examine the health impacts of early access to public pension wealth by exploiting a unique policy in Singapore allowing individuals to withdraw a proportion of their pension savings after their 55th birthday. For the identification, we employ a regression discontinuity design by comparing individuals before and after their 55th birthday. To address anticipated and lagged health impacts, we adopt the donut regression discontinuity approach. Using nationally representative monthly panel data, we find that early access to pension wealth improves self-reported overall health.
    Keywords: regression discontinuity design, early access to pension wealth, health
    JEL: I10 H55
    Date: 2020–04
  7. By: Jiaming Soh
    Abstract: This paper isolates the demand and supply factors of credit extension. We construct a new dataset that combines loan application information from the credit register with individuals' income and banks' balance sheet for the period 2014-2016. Using this dataset, we verify the importance of banks' balance sheet (supply factor) and individuals' income (demand factor) in determining housing and car loan approval empirically. We have two main findings. First, we find that banks' balance sheet matters. Banks with a higher funding ratio, higher capital ratio, and lower liquidity ratio are more likely to approve a housing and car loan. Among the supply factors, the funding ratio of the banks is the strongest determinant of household lending. Second, we find that the supply factors have a greater impact on household loan approval than the demand factor. Specifically, the effect of banks' funding ratio on loan approval is twice the size of income. Therefore, the declining funding ratio due to higher net external outflows may potentially explain the moderation in aggregate household loan approval growth in 2014-2016. The findings fill a research gap for the Malaysian economy and could serve to inform policies, especially in relation to the discussion on the role of banks' balance sheet in lending activities.
    Keywords: : Supply factor, demand factor, household loan approval, credit register, funding ratio
    JEL: G21 E51
    Date: 2018–10
  8. By: Dirk van Seventer; Finn Tarp; Nyo Nyo San; Soe Thei Nu Htwe; Thandar
    Abstract: This paper documents the compilation of a 2017 Social Accounting Matrix for Myanmar. This is based on partial and unpublished National Accounts data and unpublished Supply and Use Table data, as well as Balance of Payment data and Government Finance Statistics data. It provides a detailed representation of the Myanmar economy and identifies 43 activities and 43 commodities. Labour is disaggregated by educational attainment level or by occupation group using a Labour Force Survey, while household income and expenditure detail is extracted from the Myanmar Living Conditions Survey.
    Keywords: Balance of payments, Income distribution, labour force survey, national accounts, Social Accounting Matrix, Supply table
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Sproule, Kathryn; Martinez, Elena M.; Malapit, Hazel J.
    Abstract: Although women’s empowerment and gender equality are associated with better maternal and child nutrition outcomes, recent systematic reviews find inconclusive evidence. This paper applies a comparable methodology to data on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), a recent internationally-validated measure based on interviews of women and men within the same household, from six countries in Africa and Asia to identify which dimensions of women’s empowerment are related to household-, women-, and child-level dietary and nutrition outcomes. We examine the relationship between women’s empowerment and household-level food security and dietary diversity; women’s dietary diversity and BMI; and child-related outcomes, controlling for woman, child, and household characteristics. We also test whether women’s empowerment has differential associations for boys and girls. We do not find consistent associations between dimensions of empowerment and food security and nutrition outcomes across countries, but some patterns emerge. Overall empowerment scores are more strongly associated with nutritional outcomes in the South Asian countries in our sample compared to the African ones. Where significant, greater intrahousehold gender equality is associated with better nutritional outcomes. However, different domains have different associations with nutritional outcomes, suggesting that tradeoffs exist: higher workloads are associated with more diverse diets but lower women’s BMI and child anthropometric outcomes. Identifying the overlap between the top contributors to disempowerment and those most strongly related to nutrition outcomes can inform the design and implementation of nutrition-sensitive agricultural programs.
    Keywords: BANGLADESH; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; NEPAL; CAMBODIA; SOUTH EAST ASIA; GHANA; WEST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; MOZAMBIQUE; SOUTHERN AFRICA; TANZANIA; EAST AFRICA; women; gender; agriculture; nutrition; empowerment; women's empowerment; maternal and child health; food security; body mass index; child nutrition
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Qiu, Yue (Shanghai University of International Business and Economics); Xie, Tian (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics); Yu, Jun (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: This paper introduces novel methods to combine forecasts made by machine learning techniques. Machine learning methods have found many successful applications in predicting the response variable. However, they ignore model uncertainty when the relationship between the response variable and the predictors is nonlinear. To further improve the forecasting performance, we propose a general framework to combine multiple forecasts from machine learning techniques. Simulation studies show that the proposed machine-learning-based forecast combinations work well. In empirical applications to forecast key macroeconomic and financial variables, we find that the proposed methods can produce more accurate forecasts than individual machine learning techniques and the simple average method, later of which is known as hard to beat in the literature.
    Keywords: Model uncertainty; Machine learning; Nonlinearity; Forecast combinations
    JEL: C52 C53
    Date: 2020–05–11
  11. By: Bazzi, Samuel; Hilmy, Masyhur; Marx, Benjamin
    Abstract: Public schooling systems are an essential feature of modern states. These systems often developed at the expense of religious schools, which undertook the bulk of education historically and still cater to large student populations worldwide. This paper examines how Indonesia's long-standing Islamic school system responded to the construction of 61,000 public elementary schools in the mid-1970s. The policy was designed in part to foster nation building and to curb religious influence in society. We are the first to study the market response to these ideological objectives. Using novel data on Islamic school construction and curriculum, we identify both short-run effects on exposed cohorts as well as dynamic, long-run effects on education markets. While primary enrollment shifted towards state schools, religious education increased on net as Islamic secondary schools absorbed the increased demand for continued education. The Islamic sector not only entered new markets to compete with the state but also increased religious curriculum at newly created schools. Our results suggest that the Islamic sector response increased religiosity at the expense of a secular national identity. Overall, this ideological competition in education undermined the nation-building impacts of mass schooling.
    Keywords: education; Islam; Nation building; religion; school competition
    JEL: H52 I25 N45 P16 Z12
    Date: 2020–05
  12. By: Kunimoto, Takashi (School of Economics, Singapore Management University); Zhang, Cuiling (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: As efficient, voluntary bilateral trades are generally not incentive compatible in an interdependent-value environment (Fieseler, Kittsteiner, Moldovanu (2003) and Gresik (1991)), we seek for more positive results by employing two-stage mechanisms (Mezzetti (2004)). We say that a two-stage mechanism satisfies incentive compatibility if the truth-telling in both stages constitutes an equilibrium strategy.First, we show by means of a stylized example that the generalized two-stage Groves mechanism never guarantees voluntary trade, while it satisfies efficiency and incentive compatibility. In a general environment, we next propose Assumption 1 under which there exists a two-stage incentive compatible mechanism implementing an efficient, voluntary trade. Third, within the same example, we confirm that our Assumption 1 is very weak because it holds as long as the buyer’s degree of interdependence of preferences is not too high relative to the seller’s counterpart. Finally, we show by the same example that if Assumption 1 is violated, our proposed two-stage mechanism fails to achieve voluntary trade.
    Keywords: Bilateral trade; interdependent values; two-stage mechanisms
    JEL: C72 D78 D82
    Date: 2020–05–01
  13. By: Ma, Shujie (University of California, Riverside); Su, Liangjun (School of Economics, Singapore Management University); Zhang, Yichong (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a logistic undirected network formation model which allows for assortative matching on observed individual characteristics and the presence of edge-wise fixed effects. We model the coefficients of observed characteristics to have a latent community structure and the edge-wise fixed effects to be of low rank. We propose a multi-step estimation procedure involving nuclear norm regularization, sample splitting, iterative logistic regression and spectral clustering to detect the latent communities. We show that the latent communities can be exactly recovered when the expected degree of the network is of order log n or higher, where n is the number of nodes in the network. The finite sample performance of the new estimation and inference methods is illustrated through both simulated and real datasets.
    Keywords: Community detection; homophily; spectral clustering; strong consistency; unobserved heterogeneity
    Date: 2020–05–07
  14. By: Afees A. Salisu (Department for Management of Science and Technology Development, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Faculty of Business Administration, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam); Rangan Gupta (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa); Elie Bouri (USEK Business School, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon)
    Abstract: In this study, we examine the role of global economic conditions in forecasting gold market volatility using alternative measures. Based on the available data frequency for the relevant series, we adopt the GARCH-MIDAS approach which allows for mixed data frequencies. We find that global economic conditions contribute significantly to gold market volatility albeit with mixed outcomes. While the results lend support to the safe-haven properties of the gold market, the outcome is influenced by the choice of measure of global economic conditions. For completeness, we extend the analyses to other precious metals such as silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium and find that global economic conditions forecast the volatility of gold returns better than other precious metals. Our results are robust to multiple forecast horizons and offer useful insights into plausible investment choices in the precious metals market.
    Keywords: Precious Metals Volatility, Global Economic Conditions, Mixed-Frequency
    JEL: C32 C53 E32 Q02
    Date: 2020–05
  15. By: Jedd Ugay (Alt Mobility PH and MoveAsOne Coalition); Monica Lavares (Ateneo School of Government); Jerik Cruz (Ateneo de Manila University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Marjorie Muyrong (Ateneo de Manila University and La Trobe University)
    Abstract: Most Filipinos in the labor force are commuters. In the ‘old normal’, most of these daily travelers have gotten used to traveling to school or work using various modes of public transport. But the woes of the Philippines’ commuting public have been a long-standing issue even prior to COVID-19. The pandemic therefore presents a ‘golden opportunity’ for an overhaul of the public transport system. An efficient urban transportation system would not only result in significant positive spillovers to the general public and to the entire economy, but would also allow for coordinated response to the social distancing and the safety requires of COVID-19 for the commuting public. Accordingly, there is an urgent need for (a) a rationalization of Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) routes; (b) a shift to service contract arrangements between the government and PUV operators; (c) a reprioritization of inclusive mobility infrastructure investments from mega-rail, mega-bridge, mega-airport, and tourism-related infrastructure projects; and (d) alternative revenue-raising measures that also reduce air pollution and discourage private car use.
    Keywords: mass transit, urban transportation systems, public services, public finance, taxation
    JEL: R4 H41 H30 H2
    Date: 2020–06

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