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  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: In October 2017, twenty-two scholars from eight countries attended a workshop titled “ASEAN @ 50, Southeast Asia @ Risk: What should be done?” The workshop was designed to facilitate a frank and creative discussion of policy recommendations, with the intention of providing the resulting proposals to ASEAN member states and other regional powers. Following two days of discussion and debate, the attendees produced a series of specific policy recommendations (SPRs).
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Human activities, technology and climate change drive changes to our environmental landscape and societal order. Marine microplastics arising from woeful human use of plastics threaten marine ecology. Excessive consumption of fossil fuels disrupts weather systems and consequently undermines food security. Unequal access between the “haves and have nots” aggravates food insecurity. Without meaningful intervention, annual deaths from food-borne diseases (FBDs) caused by anti-microbial resistant (AMR) bacteria will reach 10 million in 2050. Human displacement continues unabated across state lines as humanitarian crises require fresh responses. Ubiquitous use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) has created a new landscape where cyber-threats target both hardware and software and where truth has become its latest victim. Moreover, social media has been weaponized to breed intolerance. The Annual Conference of the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security (NTS) in Asia held in Singapore recently examined responses to these uncertainties, if not threats to humanity, arising from key disruptions. This report captures the responses and hopes touted by experts at the Conference with the view of providing policy makers and invested scholars interested in such developments with some recommendations towards building resilience within and across states.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Choi Hyelin, Kim Subin, Jung Sung Chun
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Productivity is considered one of the most important factors for economic growth. Total productivity grows through technological progress or realloca-tion of resources. This paper analyses their contribution to economic growth for total economy and by sectors. The main finding is that economy-wide increases but this is mainly due to internal technological improvements. On the one hand, inter-sector reallocation of labor negatively contributes to eco-nomic growth as employment moves to service sectors with low productivity. Further, when looking at the sectoral-level productivity growth, both internal and external restructuring make positive contributions to aggregate economic growth. However, internal technological progress and reallocation of employment appear to similarly contribute to the sectoral-level economic growth in the manufacturing sector, whereas internal restructuring makes a larger contribution to economic growth in the service sector. This suggests that there is more room for reallocation of resources to contribute to the productivity growth in service sectors. Therefore, the productivity growth of the service sector would foster economy-wide productivity and it can be achieved by the mitigation of misallocation of resources in service sectors.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Lee Woong
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: India is the first country to introduce mandatory CSR spending for eligible firms, based on the revision of the Companies Act in 2013. In this paper, I explore the effects of the revision of the Companies Act in India on the likelihood of a firm's CSR participation and its profit. It is the first work to investigate the effects of the provision of mandatory CSR. The results show that the revision increased the eligible firms' CSR incurrence by 2.3 percentage points, compared to ineligible firms. The findings also indicate that the revision is effective to increase the eligible firms' profits by 3.5 percent, compared to the ineligible firms. Therefore, I suggest that profit-maximizing CSR and private provision of public goods through mandatory CSR are valid in India.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Giuseppe Gabusi
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is, above all, a connectivity project. As connectivity requires financial support, in the past few years China has undertaken several institution-building activities at the national and international level, mainly in the financial and economic sector, showing a new propensity to influence global economic governance. In particular, the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has drawn attention worldwide. How does this institution building process connect with BRI? Are these institutions just a vehicle for exporting China’s capital and overcapacity, or do they signal a potential wider challenge to the post-World War II liberal international order? By analyzing the first loans approved by the bank, the present paper argues that far from representing a China-led challenge to the Western-led liberal order, the AIIB, while promoting Chinese commercial and geopolitical interests, shows the resilience of the global financial regime created by the West.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Hugh Stephens
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Trump administration’s arrival has scrambled the cards in the trade policy world. Not only will the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) be reopened with uncertain results, but President Donald Trump has scuttled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by announcing the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement. Canada, originally cool toward the TPP, pushed hard to be included in it. The TPP became the centrepiece of Canada’s Asia trade strategy, notwithstanding some public ambivalence on the part of the Trudeau government. With the TPP in its present form now in limbo, Canada still has options in Asia. First, it can keep an open mind with regard to the possible reconstitution of the TPP in another form, such as “TPP Minus One” (i.e., minus the U.S.). It should also push to reopen the bilateral negotiations with Japan that were suspended when that country joined the TPP negotiations. Canada is already exploring the possibility of an economic partnership agreement with China, perhaps on a sectoral basis, and simultaneously, it should actively pursue negotiation of a free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community. This could in time provide Canada access to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) currently being negotiated among 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and would position Canada well in the eventuality that a Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) emerges. In the meantime, uncertainty regarding NAFTA’s future needs to be addressed. This uncertainty makes it more difficult for Canada to attract Asian investment but it also provides further impetus for Canada to diversify its trading relationships and to explore stronger relationships with Asian economies.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Canada, Asia
  • Author: Peter Engelke
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: An insecure supply of clean water raises the dangers of economic disruption, social tension, and even conflict over water resources at both the domestic and international levels. These dangers are highest where water is scarce and governance (at the domestic or international levels) is poor. Asia provides the most powerful illustration of water security risks, with significant challenges that affect both the water supply and demand sides, as well as important governance shortcomings. While there are enormous disparities across Asia in terms of this issue, the continent’s overall water outlook is discouraging. Much of Asia suffers from the consequences of investments in supply-side water infrastructure projects that have emphasised gigantic scale over the efficient use of water. These investments have often been made without adequate consideration of their economic, social, diplomatic and environmental costs, nor with much concern for long-term impact. The rapid pace and massive scale of Asian urbanization are placing new stresses on water demand, because city dwellers consume more water than their rural counterparts. Water experts and practitioners across Asia are fully aware of the continent’s many problems and are diligently working to overcome them. There will be no easy fix, however, because of Asia’s massive scale plus significant financial, political and institutional obstacles. As in other domains, there is no substitute for good governance. Widespread progress on the continent will occur when local, regional, and national leaders use good data and information to make the right decisions to manage water resources smartly and cooperatively over the long run.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Water, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Kim Heung-kyu
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: Although we are only into the first months of the Trump administration, many Koreans recognize that the U.S.-led, market-oriented, liberal international order has been severely shaken. In the background, the rapid rise of China and rather successful economic reforms under Xi Jinping have dramatically reduced its vulnerability and sensitivity to the United States. As one power’s grip is shaken and another’s is energized, two different orders are emerging in East Asia. We accordingly witness a “Clash of Titans,” the fallout from which could be fatal to the security and economy of the Republic of Korea.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Asia