nep-sea New Economics Papers
on South East Asia
Issue of 2024‒03‒04
seventeen papers chosen by
Kavita Iyengar, Asian Development Bank

  1. Process Evaluation of the “One-Stop Laboratory Services for Global Competitiveness†(OneLab) Project By Manalili, Nerlita M.; Melad, Kris Ann M.; Estopace, Katha Ma-i M.; Abrigo, Michael R.M.; Alicante, Kean Norbie F.; Hernandez, Angelo C.
  2. The Marginal Propensity to Consume and Household Savings During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Thailand and Vietnam By Bui, Dzung; Dräger, Lena; Hayo, Bernd; Nghiem, Giang
  3. Impact of relationship quality on customer loyalty: A study in the banking system By , Le Thanh Tung
  4. The long-lasting effect of feudal human capital: Insights from Vietnam By Hoang, Trung Xuan; Nguyen, Cuong Viet
  5. Robert Triffin, Japan and the quest for Asian Monetary Union By Maes, Ivo; Pasotti, Ilaria
  6. Matching Grants as a Strategy for Enterprise Development By Briones, Roehlano M.; Umlas, Anna Jennifer L.
  7. Assessing ASEAN Economic Integration Progress and South Korea’s Approach Focusing on TBT and SPS By KWAK, Sungil
  8. Pesticide Use, Maximum Residue Limitation and Fruit Export: An Application of ASEAN By Peng, Xue; Shen, Jinhu
  9. Fostering Active Ageing in Thailand's Informal Economy: A Policy Imperative By Euamporn Phijaisanit
  10. Thailand: 2023 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Thailand By International Monetary Fund
  11. Social Media and Stock Market Participation By Müller, Karsten; Pan, Yuanyuan; Schwarz, Carlo
  12. Synergy in environmental compliance, innovation and export on SMEs' growth By Phu Nguyen-Van; Tuyen Tiet; Quoc Tran-Nam
  13. Cambodia: 2023 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; and Staff Report By International Monetary Fund
  14. Filipino Use of Designer and Luxury Perfumes: A Pilot Study of Consumer Behavior By John Paul P. Miranda; Maria Anna D. Cruz; Dina D. Gonzales; Ma. Rebecca G. Del Rosario; Aira May B. Canlas; Joseph Alexander Bansil
  15. The Pick of the Crop: Agricultural Practices and Clustered Networks in Village Economies By Andre Groeger; Yanos Zylberberg
  16. Company Performance and Its Determinants: A Study on New Hoong Fatt Holdings Berhad By Tan Ke Wen, Carmen
  17. From promises to action: Analyzing global commitments on food security and diets since 2015 By Zorbas, Christina; Resnick, Danielle; Jones, Eleanor; Suri, Shoba; Iruhiriye, Elyse; Headey, Derek D.; Martin, Will; Vos, Rob; Arndt, Channing; Menon, Purnima

  1. By: Manalili, Nerlita M.; Melad, Kris Ann M.; Estopace, Katha Ma-i M.; Abrigo, Michael R.M.; Alicante, Kean Norbie F.; Hernandez, Angelo C.
    Abstract: The OneLab network, established in 2012 by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the Philippines, aims to enhance collaboration and coordination among laboratories. It eliminates the need for clients to hop between labs by offering a one-stop platform via the OneLab website and the Unified Laboratory Information Management System (ULIMS). After a decade of implementation and with 54 member laboratories in its network, this process evaluation was conducted in 2022 using qualitative and quantitative methods. The evaluation found that OneLab effectively provides laboratory services to various clients, including industries, research institutions, government units, nongovernment organizations, and the public, with 296 services available from interviewed labs. Clients reported reduced transaction times, cost savings due to government support and shared resources, and improved compliance with regulatory requirements. However, service-providing labs faced challenges such as limited funding, job insecurity for personnel, maintenance for serviceable equipment and infrastructure, and policy constraints. Recommendations include refining the service mix, adapting to industry needs, strengthening the program secretariat for better planning and monitoring, and advocating for policy support. In general, OneLab has successfully streamlined laboratory services in the Philippines, benefiting a wide range of clients. However, to ensure its continued success, adjustments and improvements are necessary to address the challenges faced by participating laboratories. Comments to this paper are welcome within 60 days from the date of posting. Email
    Keywords: OneLab;process evaluation;laboratory services;laboratory network;testing;calibration;global competitiveness;information management system
    Date: 2024
  2. By: Bui, Dzung; Dräger, Lena; Hayo, Bernd; Nghiem, Giang
    Abstract: Using representative household surveys conducted in Thailand and Vietnam during the COVID-19 pandemic, we find that the marginal propensity to consume is signicantly larger for positive than for negative income shocks. Moreover, we discover that the savings position plays a crucial role, as the effects are especially pronounced for households that experienced a decline in savings. This result contradicts a prediction from the life-cycle permanent income model with borrowing constraints as well as empirical evidence from industrialized countries. However, our ending is consistent with Kahneman and Tversky's prospect theory, according to which the combination of income uncertainty and loss aversion can lead households to react more strongly to positive shocks than to negative ones.
    Keywords: Marginal propensity to consume (MPC), Households' savings position, Unanticipated income shocks, COVID-19, Thailand, Vietnam
    JEL: D12 D14 E21 H31
    Date: 2024–02
  3. By: , Le Thanh Tung
    Abstract: In recent times, the notion of relationship quality has attracted a lot of interest in the domains of consumer behavior and marketing. This research aims to investigate the influence of service quality, intimacy, and ethics as antecedents on the elements of relationship quality (satisfaction, trust, and commitment) and loyalty in the Vietnamese banking business. Utilizing the mediating function of relationship quality, this research seeks to enhance the understanding of the factors influencing customer loyalty. A survey of 302 bank customers in Vietnam was conducted. The findings show that service quality and ethics have a substantial impact on customer trust, satisfaction, and commitment, resulting in greater loyalty. Furthermore, the study provides managerial implications for Vietnamese banks to improve their service quality and ethical standards to develop customer trust and commitment, resulting in increased customer loyalty in Vietnam's banking industry.
    Date: 2024–02–08
  4. By: Hoang, Trung Xuan; Nguyen, Cuong Viet
    Abstract: This study investigates the long-term effect of the density of the elite - the highest educated - during the period 1075-1919 on today's educational attainment and economic performance in Vietnam. Using nearly 20, 000 elites, including 17, 061 junior bachelors and bachelors, and 2, 895 doctors who passed the imperial examination (1075-1919), and the distance to the nearest examination centers as an instrumental variable, we find that elite density has persistent effects on the present-day educational attainment, income, poverty, and night-time light intensity. The impact of the elite density on schooling years tends to be higher in urban areas than in rural areas. Our findings are robust to a variety of model specifications.
    Keywords: Human capital, historical legacy, economic growth, household income
    JEL: I25 O12 E24 N35
    Date: 2024
  5. By: Maes, Ivo; Pasotti, Ilaria
    Abstract: Especially with the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998, Asian countries have advocated a profound reform of the international financial architecture. Their proposals focused on two main axes: a reform of the global financial system and stronger regional monetary integration in Asia. There are here significant parallels with the ideas of Robert Triffin (1911-1993). Triffin became famous with trenchant analyses of the vulnerabilities of the international monetary system. Also now, the Triffin dilemma is still present among international monetary policymakers, also in Asia. Triffin put forward several proposals for reforming the global monetary system, but he also developed proposals for regional monetary integration. These were very much based on his experience with the European Payments Union, and focused on the creation of a (European) Reserve Fund and a (European) currency unit. In this paper we focus on Triffin’s proposals for an Asian payments union in the late 1960s, giving special attention to Japan (in Triffin’s time the biggest Asian economy, moreover Triffin had an important Japanese network).
    Date: 2024–01–26
  6. By: Briones, Roehlano M.; Umlas, Anna Jennifer L.
    Abstract: This paper provides a short overview of the potential use of matching grants as a strategy to spur private sector investment. Specifically, it describes the design and initial implementation of the conditional matching grant scheme under the Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project. The focus is on the use of matching grants as a strategy to finance productive investments of farmer organizations or private micro and small enterprises. Comments to this paper are welcome within 60 days from the date of posting. Email
    Keywords: matching grant;RAPID Growth project
    Date: 2023
    Abstract: TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) and SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures) have two attributes. They act as barriers to trade expansion by protecting producers, but their importance has grown in terms of consumer protection measures after the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than eliminating related regulations, achieving harmonization within the ASEAN region can simultaneously serve two objectives: expanding trade between South Korea and ASEAN and improving consumer protection. We assess the level of regional economic integration by measuring regulatory distances among ASEAN member states. We also measure regulatory distances between South Korea and ASEAN, and between Japan and ASEAN. We estimate the impact of ASEAN's TBT and SPS on the export performance of countries exporting goods to the ASEAN region.
    Keywords: ASEAN Economic Integration; TBT; SPS
    Date: 2024–02–14
  8. By: Peng, Xue; Shen, Jinhu
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Agricultural Finance, International Relations/Trade
    Date: 2022–12
  9. By: Euamporn Phijaisanit (Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University)
    Abstract: Ageing societies pose a unique challenge for Thailand, where a large informal sector excludes most workers from mandatory retirement ages and social security coverage. While extending retirement ages is a pertinent consideration for the formal sector, policy considerations should also encompass the informal sector. Specifically, policies should strive to enhance the physical and cognitive abilities of older workers in the informal sector through appropriate guidance, empowering them to prolong their working years and bolster their financial security. Despite the availability of voluntary social security schemes, enrollment rates among informal workers remain low due to a combination of factors, including lack of awareness, perceived benefit inadequacy, financial burden, and reliance on alternative social welfare programs. Even those receiving the government's old-age allowance may struggle financially. This article highlights the underutilized potential of Thailand's extensive informal sector as a source of employment opportunities for older adults. Despite cross-country data suggesting a positive association between a large informal sector and high elderly employment rates, Thailand's labor force participation rate (LFPR) for individuals aged 65 and above remains comparatively low among similar developing nations. Furthermore, the LFPR decline for people transitioning from age group 55-64 to 65 and above is sharper in Thailand than in many other countries. The Active Ageing Index (AAI) can serve as a tool to investigate the factors contributing to Thailand's relatively low old-age LFPR by evaluating active ageing scores across various aspects. By identifying the missing elements in specific localities, the AAI and its sub-indices can guide local-area policy prioritization to address these gaps and enhance national policy effectiveness in promoting higher LFPR in old age. Fostering an active-ageing ecosystem within the informal sector will empower older individuals to continue working for longer periods and mitigate poverty risks in their later years.
    Keywords: Active Ageing, Informal Economy, Ageing Society, Labor Force Participation, Thailand
    JEL: E26 H53 I38 J14 J26
    Date: 2024–02
  10. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Thailand’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple shocks in 2022 is continuing, amid elevated uncertainty. Growth is projected at 2.5 percent in 2023, broadly on par with 2022, while inflation is expected to remain well-within the authorities’ target range. Policies have gradually normalized to support growth and financial stability while protecting the population from the high inflation, but there is limited space to absorb new shocks. Heightened global uncertainty, with downside risks prevailing, puts an extra premium on prudent macroeconomic management.
    Date: 2024–01–30
  11. By: Müller, Karsten (National University of Singapore, Department of Finance); Pan, Yuanyuan (National University of Singapore, Department of Finance); Schwarz, Carlo (Bocconi University, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of social media adoption on stock market participation in the United States. Using plausibly exogenous variation in the early adoption of Twitter across counties, we show that a 10% increase in social media usage is associated with a 2.5% higher rate of stock ownership and an overall increase in stock market wealth. Consistent with the idea that social media can lower the cost of accessing information, we find that Twitter adoption is associated with a decline in the number of financial advisors and has larger effects on stock ownership in counties with lower levels of pre-existing stock market knowledge. Twitter adoption also fuels interest in “meme stocks, †which tend to be more volatile and owned by retail investors. Overall, our results suggest a distinct impact of social media platforms on household portfolio choices that differs from that of other modern information technologies.
    Keywords: Social Media, Stock Market Participation, Household Finance, Participation Puzzle JEL Classification:
    Date: 2024
  12. By: Phu Nguyen-Van; Tuyen Tiet; Quoc Tran-Nam
    Abstract: Although numerous studies examine the impacts of environmental compliance and innovation on a firm's economic performance, the role of export activities in this nexus has remained unanswered. In this study, we revisit the Porter hypothesis by investigating synergy strategies of dierent environmental and economic practices (i.e., environmental compliance, product innovation, process innovation and having export activities) on total factor productivity (TFP) of Vietnamese manufacturing SMEs. Our results suggest that while encouraging either product or process innovation is also essential in the environment-promoting policy, joint implementation of these two practices should be carefully considered by managers. Moreover, entering export markets positively impacts rms' productivity; complying with the domestic/local environmental standards could signicantly increase the chances for SMEs to enter the export markets
    Keywords: Environmental compliance; Export; Product innovation; Process innovation; Productivity; SMEs
    JEL: L25 M11 O12 Q55 Q56
    Date: 2024
  13. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Cambodia has experienced rapid growth over the past decade, outpacing many regional peers. Growth was driven by industrialization, increased foreign direct investment, and a surge in exports, particularly in labor-intensive manufacturing. The economy underwent significant structural shifts and has made strides in poverty reduction. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant setbacks and may have left longer-term scarring. The challenges ahead are to sustain inclusive growth, diversify exports, and navigate potential headwinds from China's slowing growth.
    Date: 2024–01–31
  14. By: John Paul P. Miranda; Maria Anna D. Cruz; Dina D. Gonzales; Ma. Rebecca G. Del Rosario; Aira May B. Canlas; Joseph Alexander Bansil
    Abstract: This study investigates the usage patterns and purposes of designer perfumes among Filipino consumers, employing purposive and snowball sampling methods as non-probability sampling techniques. Data was collected using Google Forms, and the majority of respondents purchased full bottles of designer perfumes from retailers, wholesalers, and physical stores, with occasional "blind purchases." Daily usage was common, with respondents applying an average of 5.88 sprays in the morning, favoring fresh scent notes and Eau De Parfum concentration. They tended to alternate perfumes daily, selecting different scent profiles according to the Philippine climate. The study reveals that Filipino respondents primarily use designer perfumes to achieve a pleasant and fresh fragrance. Additionally, these perfumes play a role in boosting self-esteem, elevating mood, and enhancing personal presentation. Some respondents reported fewer common applications, such as using perfume to address insomnia and migraines. Overall, the research highlights the significant role of perfume in the grooming routine of Filipino consumers. This study represents the first attempt to comprehend perfume usage patterns and purposes specifically within the Filipino context. Consequently, its findings are invaluable for manufacturers and marketers targeting the Filipino market, providing insights into consumer preferences and motivations.
    Date: 2024–01
  15. By: Andre Groeger; Yanos Zylberberg
    Abstract: This paper studies how social networks (might fail to) shape agricultural practices. We exploit (i) a unique census of agricultural production nested within delineated land parcels and (ii) comprehensive social network data within four repopulated villages of rural Vietnam. In a first step, we extract exogenous variation in network formation from home locations within the few streets that compose each village (populated through staggered population resettlement), and we estimate the return to social links in the adoption of highly-productive crops. We find a large network multiplier, in apparent contradiction with lowadoption rates. In a second step, we study the structure of network formation to explain this puzzle: social networks display large homophily, and valuable links between heterogeneous households are rare. Due to the clustered nature of networks and the dynamic, endogenous propagation of agricultural practices, there are decreasing returns to social links, and policies targeting “inbetweeners” are most able to mitigate this issue.
    Keywords: technology adoption, social networks
    JEL: D85 O13
    Date: 2024–02
  16. By: Tan Ke Wen, Carmen
    Abstract: This study analysis the factors that might affect New Hoong Fatt Holdings Berhad's performance. The objective is to identify the variables, internal as well as external, and the combinations of factors that might influence New Hoong Fatt Holdings Berhad's performance. Regression analysis and statistical methods have been opted for in the current research issue in order to determine the degree of significance of the relationship between each of these variables. When a number of variables are taken into consideration, it is obvious that credit risk, rather than the remaining variables has the most influence over New Hoong Fatt Holdings Berhad's performance. However, while the closure of New Hoong Fatt Holdings Berhad's business in 2020 may have impacted the company's profitability, an analysis of the statistics suggests that the company's good management of credit risk may have also directly impacted its performance.
    Keywords: New Hoong Fatt Holdings Berhad, profitability, performance, ROE, corporate governance.
    JEL: G3
    Date: 2023–12–25
  17. By: Zorbas, Christina; Resnick, Danielle; Jones, Eleanor; Suri, Shoba; Iruhiriye, Elyse; Headey, Derek D.; Martin, Will; Vos, Rob; Arndt, Channing; Menon, Purnima
    Abstract: Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2), Zero Hunger, by 2030 is in jeopardy due to slowing and unequal economic growth, climate shocks, the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, lackluster efforts toward investing in food system sustainability and agricultural productivity growth, and persistent barriers to open food trade. Nevertheless, numerous commitments to achieving SDG 2 have been repeatedly expressed by Heads of State and Ministers at diverse global meetings since the SDGs became a focus in 2015. To identify the intensity and degree of convergence of commitments that national governments have collectively made to realizing SDG 2, this paper provides a qualitative assessment of statements from more than 68 global meetings and 107 intergovernmental commitment documents since 2015. Analyzing these commitments against seven critical factors necessary for impact at scale, we find that stated intentions to solve the global food security and hunger challenge have become more pronounced at global meetings over time, especially in the wake of the crises. However, the intent to act is not consistently matched by commitments to specific actions that could help accelerate reductions in hunger. For instance, while increased financing is often recognized as a priority to reach SDG 2, few commitments in global fora relate to detailed costing of required investments. Similarly, many commitment statements lack specificity regarding what and how policy interventions should be scaled up for greater action on SDG 2 or the ways to enhance different stakeholders’ capacities to implement them. While horizontal coherence was mentioned across most global fora, it was only present in about half of the commitment statements, with even less recognition of the necessity for vertical coherence from global to local levels. Despite global acknowledgement of the importance of accountability and monitoring, usually by way of progress reports, we find few consequences for governments that do not act on commitments made in global fora. We discuss the implications of these findings and offer recommendations for how to strengthen the commitment-making process to help accelerate actions that can reduce food insecurity and hunger and augment the legitimacy of global meetings. This work can inform the policy advocacy community focused on SDG 2 and those engaged in catalyzing and supporting intergovernmental action on other SDGs. Our findings reiterate the importance of attention to global governance and the political economy of global meetings—which is necessary to strengthen our focus on delivering outcomes that put the world on a path that brings the solution to the problems of global hunger and food insecurity within reach.
    Keywords: food security; diet; accountability; food policies; hunger; governance; nutrition
    Date: 2024

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