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  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Martin Kessler
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: A country's rise to economic dominance tends to be accompanied by its currency becoming a reference point, with other currencies tracking it implicitly or explicitly. For a sample comprising emerging market economies, we show that in the last two years, the renminbi has increasingly become a reference currency which we define as one which exhibits a high degree of co-movement (CMC) with other currencies. In East Asia, there is already a renminbi bloc, because the renminbi has become the dominant reference currency, eclipsing the dollar, which is a historic development. In this region, 7 currencies out of 10 co-move more closely with the renminbi than with the dollar, with the average value of the CMC relative to the renminbi being 40 percent greater than that for the dollar. We find that co-movements with a reference currency, especially for the renminbi, are associated with trade integration. We draw some lessons for the prospects for the renminbi bloc to move beyond Asia based on a comparison of the renminbi's situation today and that of the Japanese yen in the early 1990s. If trade were the sole driver, a more global renminbi bloc could emerge by the mid-2030s but complementary reforms of the financial and external sector could considerably expedite the process.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Foreign Exchange, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Marcus Noland, Donghyun Park
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The maturing of the manufacturing sector in many Asian countries, combined with the relative backwardness of its services sector, has made services sector development a top priority for developing Asia. The authors' central objective is to broadly survey and analyze the current landscape of the region's services sector so as to assess its potential to serve as an engine for inclusive economic growth. Their analysis indicates that services are already an important source of output, growth, and jobs in the region. However, its productivity greatly lags that of the advanced economies, which implies ample room for further growth. The impact of the services sector on poverty reduction is less clear but the authors do find some limited evidence of a poverty reduction effect. One key challenge for all Asian countries is to improve the quality of services sector data. Overall, while services sector development is a long and challenging process, creating more competitive services markets by removing a wide range of internal and external policy distortions is vital for improving services sector productivity. As important as such policy reforms are, complementary investments in physical infrastructure and human capital will also be necessary to achieve a strong services sector.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia
  • Author: Jeffrey J. Schott, Julia Muir, Minsoo Lee
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Trade and investment in services are difficult to measure, and the regulatory barriers that inhibit the free flow of services are hard to quantify. As a result, very little attention has been paid to dismantling barriers to services trade and investment. Rather, free trade negotiations tend to focus on liberalizing merchandise trade. This paper examines what has been achieved in both regional and multilateral compacts by surveying international precedents involving Asian countries in which services reforms have been included in bilateral and regional trade pacts. The authors then assess the prospects for services trade negotiations and explore how services trade negotiations could be pursued over the next decade through two distinct channels: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a plurilateral approach among groups of WTO countries. The authors find that in the case of developing Asia, free trade agreements have largely excluded services or have only committed to "lock in" current practices in a narrow subset of service sectors. This is also the case in agreements negotiated between developing countries, which have produced less substantial commitments to liberalize services than those negotiated between developing and developed countries. Multilateral negotiations on services have also underperformed, as substantive negotiations on services in the Doha Round never really got underway. To that end, the authors advocate a stronger effort by developing Asian countries to prioritize services negotiations in their regional arrangements and to expand coverage of services in those pacts to a broad range of infrastructure services that are included in other FTAs in force or under construction in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In this paper Kirkegaard presents new micro-level data consisting of individual greenfield investment projects and mergers and acquisitions as a source for detailed analysis of services sector cross-border investment flows among the Asian Development Bank (ADB) regional membership in Asia. The new transactional foreign direct investment (FDI) data are methodologically distinct from traditional BPM5-compliant FDI data but found to yield generally comparable aggregates, when compared with the latest available International Monetary Fund (IMF) data from the Comprehensive Direct Investment Survey for the ADB regional membership. The services sectors are found to receive considerably larger amounts of foreign investment, when compared with the Asian region's manufacturing and raw materials sectors. OECD countries account for roughly three-quarters of total recorded inward services sector FDI of about $2 trillion, relatively evenly split between the United States, the EU-27, and regional OECD-level-income countries. The presence of sizable regional "upward flowing" services sector investments into OECD-level-income economies is verified. Kirkegaard draws preliminary policy conclusions based on the new transactional FDI data results concerning prospects for regional services sector liberalization, threshold income levels for inward services sector FDI, upward-flowing regional services FDI, and preferred modes of services sector investments.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel, Asia
  • Author: C. Randall Henning
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper examines the exchange rate regimes of East Asian countries since the initial shift by China to a controlled appreciation in July 2005, testing econometrically the weights of key currencies in the implicit baskets that appear to be targeted by East Asian monetary authorities. It finds, first, that Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines have formed a loose but effective “renminbi bloc” with China, and that South Korea has participated tentatively since the global financial crisis. Second, the emergence of the renminbi bloc in terms of the exchange rate has been facilitated by the continued dominance of the US dollar as a trade, investment, and reserve currency. Third, exchange rate stabilization is explained by the economic strategies of these countries, which rely heavily on export development and financial repression, and the economic rise of China. Fourth, analysts should specify the exchange rate preferences of these emerging market countries carefully before drawing inferences about Chinese influence within the region.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Malaysia, Asia, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) have become a prominent feature of the international financial landscape. They are sufficiently diverse in their origins, structures, and objectives that generalizations are perilous. However, legitimate concerns have been raised in home and host countries about the management, behavior, and interactions of these funds. Many of those concerns can be addressed via increased accountability and transparency. The Santiago Principles are a good start in doing so, but Edwin M. Truman's SWF scoreboard points to areas where these principles can be improved. Meanwhile, SWF compliance must be further increased. At the same time, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) effort to address concerns from the host-country side has not resulted in the erection of new barriers to that form of cross-border investment, but the OECD failed to reverse the creeping financial protectionism of the past decade. Because of their size and the source of their funding, some Asian funds are different. As a result, they will be held to a higher standard of accountability and transparency even as their government owners press for more openness to cross-border investment.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper addresses two central questions for Asia and the world: (1) What is the purpose of Asian regional policy coordination going forward? (2) Will Asian regional policy coordination substitute or complement global policy coordination? The paper examines the potential coverage and content of such policy coordination, what is meant by Asia in this context, and how Asia fits in with global policy coordination processes. Truman addresses three related aspects of Asian regional policy coordination: macroeconomic policies, reserve management, and crisis management. He concludes that while the countries in the Asian region have not completely exploited the scope for regional policy coordination, more ambitious efforts focused on close integration are not likely to bear fruit, in particular, if they are conceived and promoted under the banner of Asian exceptionalism. These conclusions are based on two main considerations: First, Asian economies differ, and will continue to differ, sufficiently in size and stage of development such that it is difficult to conceive of a successful voluntary blending of their interests. Second, the central lesson of the global financial crisis and its current European coda is that global economic and financial integration has advanced sufficiently that countries can run but they cannot hide individually or in sub-global groups of countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Author: C. Randall Henning, Mohsin S. Khan
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Currently, Asia's influence in global financial governance is not consistent with its weight in the world economy. This paper examines the role of Asia in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Group of Twenty (G-20). It looks in particular at how the relationship between East Asian countries and the IMF has evolved since the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98 and outlines how Asian regional arrangements for crisis financing and economic surveillance could constructively interact with the IMF in the future. It also considers ways to enhance the effectiveness of Asian countries in the G-20 process.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the agenda for the Group of Twenty (G-20) leaders' meeting in Seoul, Korea in November 2010. This is an opportunity and challenge for Asian leaders in particular. Their test will be, first, to demonstrate that they can responsibly advance economic recovery. They must also deliver on institutional reform, in particular of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I advocate a substantial expansion of the IMF's role as lender of last resort that is integrated with the surveillance role of the IMF in the form of comprehensive prequalification for IMF assistance and policy advice and a substantial increase in the IMF's financial resources. I also propose an approach to meaningful reform of the distribution of IMF quotas along with limiting European seats on the IMF executive board.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Global Recession, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Morris Goldstein, Daniel Xie
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes how the global financial crisis has affected emerging Asia and identifies key characteristics that have made these economies more or less vulnerable to a transmission of crises from the advanced economies. After reviewing how economic outcomes in emerging Asia have evolved since the crisis began in the summer of 2007, we review several studies of the effect of financial stress and/or growth slowdown in advanced economies on emerging Asia. We then discuss how emerging Asia is “different” in ways that matter for the contagion of crises, with the emphasis on currency and maturity mismatches, the nature of the region's foreign trade links (product composition, the geographic pattern of trade, and the degree of net export-led growth), financial market integration with the advanced economies, and the scope for implementing countercyclical monetary and fiscal stimulus.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia