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The Slow Pace of Economic Reform
In the late 1980s, Japan's strong economic performance put it on a the verge of becoming a major player in regional and global affairs. But nearly a decade of economic stagnation, a mounting of bad debts, and a continuing stream of scandals have tarnished the country's distinctive economic model. At the turn of the millennium, the Japanese economy remained mired in a pattern of stagnation. As this disappointing condition dragged on, the government pursued policies to restore economic health. Yet Japan has been slow to embrace the systemic reform on which a robust economic recovery depends. In Arthritic Japan, Edward J. Lincoln examines the causes and implications of this weak response. Concluding that Japan is unlikely to pursue the vigorous reform necessary for economic growth, Lincoln warns of serious consequences: a stumbling economy bedeviled by recession and financial crisis, eroding leadership in economic and security issues, a continued defensive trade posture, and a disgruntled population that could turn a more nationalistic stance in foreign policy.
Myths and Realities
The year 2015 has special significance for regional economic integration. The ASEAN Community, integrating the political, economic and social aspects of regional cooperation, will complete its first milestone by December 2015. Expectations of tangible benefits under an ASEAN Economic Community have attracted much attention though many of the initiatives will be realized post-2015. Following the policy of open regionalism, ASEAN has also signed free trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Japan and South Korea. It has launched negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement in 2013, with expected breakthrough by end-2015. The Southeast Asian economies are also involved in two other regional initiatives. First is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), initiated by the United States. As part of the U.S. "pivot to Asia", the TPP is envisioned as a "comprehensive and high-quality" agreement and has concluded its negotiation in October 2015. Second, the discussions on regional connectivity have broadened; China has emerged as a recent lead proponent with its proposals for "One Belt, One Road" and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. All these together have implications not only for individual Southeast Asian countries but also for regional trading architecture. To aid in understanding the beginnings, development, and potential of these grand plans, this collection of 22 essays offers a rich analysis of ASEAN's own economic integration and other related initiatives proliferating in the broader Asia-Pacific region.
In this collaboration between the Brookings Institution and the Asian Development Bank Institute, eminent international economists examine the increased influence of Asian nations in the governance of global economic affairs, from the changing role of the G-20 to the reform of multilateral organizations such as the International Monetary Fund.
Established in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis at the ministerial level, the G-20 has served as a high-level platform for discussing economic analyses and policy responses since 1999. During the current global financial crisis, however, the G-20's role moved toward that of a global crisis management committee at the leadership level. The challenge now for the G-20 is to succeed in fostering ongoing and increasing cooperation among its members while being supportive of, rather than trying to replace, more universal institutions.
After analyzing the dynamics of growth in Asia comparatively and historically, the volume appraises the scope for policy coordination among key economies. The contributors analyze financial stability in emerging Asia and then assess the implications of Asia's increasing role within the newly emerging system of global economic governance, focusing especially on reform of the international monetary structure.
Contributors: Dony Alex (ICRIER, New Delhi), Kemal Dervis¸ (Brookings), Hasan Ersel (Sabanci University), Karim Foda (Brookings), Yiping Huang (Peking University), Masahiro Kawai (ADBI), Rajiv Kumar (FICCI, New Delhi), Domenico Lombardi (Oxford University and Brookings), José Antonio Ocampo (Columbia University), Jim O'Neill (Goldman Sachs)
New Agenda in Its Third Decade
Ippei Yamazawa is one of the fathers to the study of Asia-Pacific regional cooperation in Japan and has contributed hugely to the development and work of APEC over many years. APEC is a crucial trans-regional arrangement that draws the United States into constructive economic engagement with East Asia. This book makes it clear why APEC remains such a crucial element of regional economic architecture and defines an agenda going forward to which regional leaders should aspire. Here is a first rate exposition of the priorities for regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific.--Peter Drysdale, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University
The Role of Governance in Asia
This volume investigates the “missing link”, the complicated realities of the relations between governance and development through case studies of ASEAN countries. Its main objective is to explore a theoretical framework to overcoming the limitations of mainstream approaches by employing case studies on decentralization, crisis management, corporate governance and foreign aid management of both public and private entities. From the beginning of the 1990s onwards, the international aid community has increasingly stressed that “good governance”, together with democracy and protection of basic human rights, is indispensable for sustainable economic development. The terms, however, are complex, broad, and arguable. They largely refer to discipline of government institutions and the capacity of the public sector.While a wide variety of empirical studies has been done on the relations between good governance and development, it is still unclear how the differences in governance influence development performance in a real world.
Although emerging economies as a group performed well during the global recession, weathering the recession better than advanced economies, there were sharp differences among them and across regions. The emerging economies of Asia had the most favorable outcomes, surviving the ravages of the global financial crisis with relatively modest declines in growth rates in most cases. China and India maintained strong growth during the crisis and played an important role in facilitating global economic recovery.
In this informative volume, the second in a series on emerging markets, editors Masahiro Kawai and Eswar Prasad and the contributors analyze the major domestic macroeconomic and financial policy issues that could limit the growth potential of Asian emerging markets, such as rising inflation and surging capital inflows, with the accompanying risks of asset and credit market bubbles and of rapid currency appreciation. The book examines strategies to promote financial stability, including reforms for financial market development and macroprudential supervision and regulation.
A New Approach to Understanding Price Stickiness
Why do consumer prices and wages adjust so slowly to changes in market conditions? The rigidity or stickiness of price setting in business is central to Keynesian economic theory and a key to understanding how monetary policy works, yet economists have made little headway in determining why it occurs. Asking About Prices offers a groundbreaking empirical approach to a puzzle for which theories abound but facts are scarce. Leading economist Alan Blinder, along with co-authors Elie Canetti, David Lebow, and Jeremy B. Rudd, interviewed a national, multi-industry sample of 200 CEOs, company heads, and other corporate price setters to test the validity of twelve prominent theories of price stickiness. Using everyday language and pertinent scenarios, the carefully designed survey asked decisionmakers how prominently these theoretical concerns entered into their own attitudes and thought processes. Do businesses tend to view the costs of changing prices as prohibitive? Do they worry that lower prices will be equated with poorer quality goods? Are firms more likely to try alternate strategies to changing prices, such as warehousing excess inventory or improving their quality of service? To what extent are prices held in place by contractual agreements, or by invisible handshakes? Asking About Prices offers a gold mine of previously unavailable information. It affirms the widespread presence of price stickiness in American industry, and offers the only available guide to such business details as what fraction of goods are sold by fixed price contract, how often transactions involve repeat customers, and how and when firms review their prices. Some results are surprising: contrary to popular wisdom, prices do not increase more easily than they decrease, and firms do not appear to practice anticipatory pricing, even when they can foresee cost increases. Asking About Prices also offers a chapter-by-chapter review of the survey findings for each of the twelve theories of price stickiness. The authors determine which theories are most popular with actual price setters, how practices vary within different business sectors, across firms of different sizes, and so on. They also direct economists' attention toward a rationale for price stickiness that does not stem from conventional theory, namely a strong reluctance by firms to antagonize or inconvenience their customers. By illuminating how company executives actually think about price setting, Asking About Prices provides an elegant model of a valuable new approach to conducting economic research.
Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, and the ushering in of an era of global economic relations, the United States and Europe have been the core poles of economic power. However, China along with India are increasingly challenging the traditional economic hegemony. An issue of great importance is how this shift in the global economic balance of power will affect developing economies and the transition economies of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), which are located in China's backyard and deeply integrated into its economy through regional supply chains. This volume examines the relationship between transition economies and the rise of China through presenting empirical case studies from the GMS. In doing so, it offers insights into the effect of China on developing countries in general, and offers practical policy directions for the place-specific economies of the GMS.
This book shows how current and recent market prices convey information about the probability distributions that govern future prices. Moving beyond purely theoretical models, Stephen Taylor applies methods supported by empirical research of equity and foreign exchange markets to show how daily and more frequent asset prices, and the prices of option contracts, can be used to construct and assess predictions about future prices, their volatility, and their probability distributions.
Stephen Taylor provides a comprehensive introduction to the dynamic behavior of asset prices, relying on finance theory and statistical evidence. He uses stochastic processes to define mathematical models for price dynamics, but with less mathematics than in alternative texts. The key topics covered include random walk tests, trading rules, ARCH models, stochastic volatility models, high-frequency datasets, and the information that option prices imply about volatility and distributions.
Asset Price Dynamics, Volatility, and Prediction is ideal for students of economics, finance, and mathematics who are studying financial econometrics, and will enable researchers to identify and apply appropriate models and methods. It will likewise be a valuable resource for quantitative analysts, fund managers, risk managers, and investors who seek realistic expectations about future asset prices and the risks to which they are exposed.
The Benefits of Spreading Asset Ownership
Over the past three decades, average household wealth in the United States has declined among all but the richest families, with a near 80 percent drop among the nation's poorest families. Although the national debate about inequality has focused on income, it is wealth—the private assets amassed and passed on within families—that provides the extra economic cushion needed to move beyond mere day-to-day survival. Assets for the Poor is the first full-scale investigation into the importance of family wealth and the need for policies to encourage asset-building among the poor.
Assets for the Poor shows how institutional mechanisms designed to encourage acquisition of capital and property favor middle-class and high-income families. For example, the aggregate value of home mortgage tax deductions far outweighs the dollar amount of the subsidies provided by Section 8 rental vouchers and public housing. Banking definitions of creditworthiness largely exclude minorities, and welfare rules have made it nearly impossible for single mothers to accumulate savings, let alone stocks or real estate. Due to persistent residential segregation, even those minority families who do own homes are often denied equal access to better schools and public services.
The research in this volume shows that the poor do make use of the assets they have. Cash gifts—although small in size—are frequent within families and often lead to such positive results as homebuying and debt reduction, while tangible assets such as tools and cars help increase employment prospects. Assets for the Poor examines policies such as Individual Development Account tax subsidies to reward financial savings among the poor, and more liberal credit rules to make borrowing easier and less costly. The contributors also offer thoughtful advice for bringing the poor into mainstream savings institutions and warn against developing asset building policies at the expense of existing safety net programs.
Asset-building for low-income families is a powerful idea that offers hope to families searching for a way out of poverty. Assets for the Poor challenges current thinking regarding poverty reduction policies and proposes a major shift in the way we think about families and how they make a better life.
A Volume in the Ford Foundation Series on Asset Building