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Victoriia Alekhina and Mr. Giovanni Ganelli
Over the past decades ASEAN countries have experienced rapid economic growth accompanied by a dramatic fall in poverty rates, but income inequality has not retreated. This research aims at identifying factors which could contribute to more equally distributed growth in ASEAN. To measure inclusive growth, we use a variable integrating per capita income growth and an equity index. A cross-country panel analysis of the impact of macro-structural factors on inclusive growth and its two components suggests that fiscal redistribution, female labor force participation, productivity growth, FDI inflows, digitalization, and savings significantly drive inclusive growth. A scenario analysis based on our econometric results suggests that the implementation of fiscal redistribution and labor market-oriented structural reforms could help significantly accelerate inclusive growth in ASEAN.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper assesses the relationship between demographic trends and housing prices in Japan. Among various issues in the context of regional disparities, the paper focus on regional differences in population dynamics to try and understand to what extent demographic trends have influenced housing market prices in Japan in the past twenty years. Large cities, notably the Greater Tokyo area, are experiencing net migration inflows, while other regions are experiencing net migration outflows. Due to the durability of housing compared to other forms of investment, the magnitude of house price declines associated with population losses is larger than that of house price increases associated with population gains. These model-based predictions are likely to underestimate the actual fall in house prices associated with future population losses, as expectations of lower housing prices in the future could trigger more population outflows and disposal of houses, especially in rural areas. The paper suggests policy measures to help close regional disparities and avoid potential over-investment by taking account of demographic trends for housing supply.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Abstract

Growth in the first half of 2018 was softer than in 2017, especially in advanced economies. In contrast, growth remained robust in emerging market economies and broadly in line with expectations. After rising to 6.9 percent in 2017, growth in China continued to be strong into the first half of 2018 but has likely slowed since, given the latest high-frequency indicators, including weakening investment growth. In Japan, after exceeding potential for two years, growth dropped into negative territory in the first quarter of 2018 before rebounding sharply in the second quarter. In India, growth continues to recover steadily after the disruptions related to demonetization and the rollout of the goods and services tax in the last fiscal year.1 And in ASEAN-4 economies (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand), growth generally lost momentum in the first half of 2018, except in Thailand.

Allan Dizioli, Mr. Jaime Guajardo, Mr. Vladimir Klyuev, Rui Mano, and Mr. Mehdi Raissi
After many years of rapid expansion, China’s growth is slowing to more sustainable levels and is rebalancing, with consumption becoming the main growth driver. This transition is likely to have negative effects on its trading partners in the near term. This paper studies the potential spillovers to the ASEAN-5 economies through trade, commodity prices, and financial markets. It finds that countries with closer trade linkages with China (Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand) and net commodity exporters (Indonesia and Malaysia) would suffer the largest impact, with growth falling between 0.2 and 0.5 percentage points in response to a decline in China’s growth by 1 percentage point depending on the model used and the nature of the shock. The impact could be larger if China’s slowdown and rebalancing coincides with bouts of global financial volatility. There are also opportunities from China’s rebalancing, both in merchandise and services trade, and there is preliminary evidence that some ASEAN-5 economies are already benefiting from these trends.
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.