International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper discusses that from shifting demographics to climate change, Southeast Asia confronts a host of challenges. Summoning them will require both resilience and flexibility. Advances in artificial intelligence, including robotics, together with innovations such as 3-D printing and new composite materials, will transform manufacturing processes, making them less labor-intensive while creating opportunities for new products. This will enable new ways of making things and change the drivers of competitiveness. There will be indirect effects as well. For example, aircraft manufacturers, taking advantage of new composite materials such as carbon fibers, have developed a class of superlong-haul aircraft that could bring more tourists to Southeast Asia as relatively cheap point-to-point travel options emerge. The region should still enjoy synergies from globalization and other modes of economic integration, but the form and shape of such integration could change. For Southeast Asia, the next couple of decades could prove exhilarating in terms of the opportunities presented by technology and global growth, but also tumultuous because of the continuing risks, such as those posed by an unreformed and unstable international financial architecture. There clearly is much hard work to be done. Policymakers still have not gotten everything right, but they are heading in the right direction.
Ms. Dalia S Hakura, Mr. Mumtaz Hussain, Ms. Monique Newiak, Mr. Vimal V Thakoor, and Mr. Fan Yang
A growing body of empirical evidence suggests that inequality—income or gender related—can
impede economic growth. Using dynamic panel regressions and new time series data, this paper
finds that both income and gender inequalities, including from legal gender-based restrictions, are
jointly negatively associated with per capita GDP growth. Examining the relationship for countries
at different stages of development, we find that this effect prevails mainly in lower income
countries. In particular, per capita income growth in sub-Saharan Africa could be higher by as much
as 0.9 percentage points on average if inequality was reduced to the levels observed in the fastgrowing
emerging Asian countries. High levels of income inequality in sub-Saharan Africa appear
partly driven by structural features. However, the paper’s findings show that policies that influence
the opportunities of low-income households and women to participate in economic activities also
matter and, therefore, if well-designed and targeted, could play a role in alleviating inequalities.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper examines how surges in global financial market volatility spill over to emerging market economies (EMs) including India. The results suggest that a surge in global financial market volatility is transmitted very strongly to key macroeconomic and financial variables of EMs, and the extent of its pass-through increases with the depth of external balance-sheet linkages between advanced countries and EMs. The paper also looks at food inflation, which has often been singled out as a key driver of India’s high and persistent inflation.