New measures are needed to understand gender and poverty

A woman living under the poverty line cleans rice, which she purchased from a fair-price shop in the Public Distribution System in the Indian state of Orissa. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Priya Chattier, ANU

The World Bank’s International Poverty Line (IPL) is the benchmark for tracking progress in the reduction of global poverty. But the US$2 a day guideline has drawn criticism among academics and policy circles for subsuming all those below the IPL under the ‘poverty’ category, and for its unidimensional focus on monetary poverty. A new, better measure is out there — and policymakers should use it. Read more…

If Mao still ran China, China would still be poor

Vendors sell posters of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Communist Party founder Mao Zedong on a street of Gujiao in northern China's Shanxi province. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Paul Hubbard, ANU

Reading the latest Chinese growth projections to 2050 brings to mind Karl Marx’s aphorism that history repeats itself first as tragedy, second as farce. One of the co-authors, a Yale economics professor, told the Financial Times the ‘main point of our findings is that, contrary to common misconceptions, productivity growth under Mao, particularly in the non-agricultural sector, was actually pretty good’. Read more…

Middle income countries need to learn how to learn

Children head to get a mid-morning snack at Yaowawit School, Thailand, 3 November 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Emmanuel Jimenez and Elizabeth M. King, Brookings Institution

Investment in human capital through education, partly by the government, is almost universally thought to be a precondition for sustainable growth. For Asian countries that can no longer rely on factor accumulation to underpin their continued economic development, improving the quality of national education systems has become of paramount importance. Read more…

The problems for Asia’s growth

On 24 March 2015, the Chinese government approved three new free trade zones. Trade liberalisation remains important for escaping the middle income trap. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

There has been a great deal of brouhaha about the risks of a collapse in the Chinese economic growth over the past couple of months because of the dramatic fall in Chinese stock markets. The truth is that movement in the Chinese stock market has never been closely related to China’s economic growth rate performance. Read more…

Can Asia keep growing through middle income?

Female Chinese workers sew clothes at a garment factory in Huaibei city, east China's Anhui province, 1 June 2015. Studies suggest that one-quarter of Chinese growth over the past three decades has been the result of its demography. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Indermit Gill, World Bank, and Homi Kharas, Brookings Institution

About a decade ago we observed that there was no easily communicable growth strategy we could recommend to policymakers in the middle income economies in Asia.

At that time, the China export juggernaut was accelerating. Read more…

Is Indonesia trapped in the middle?

An Indonesian boy plays on concrete blocks for a road construction at a beach during sunset in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, 8 August 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Hal Hill, ANU, and Haryo Aswicahyono, CSIS, Jakarta

Indonesia became a middle-income country in 2004. Indonesia’s growth rates — while superior to those of most developing countries — remain below those of East Asia’s most dynamic economies. So why hasn’t the country grown faster still and why does growth appear slower in the democratic era than that of Soeharto? Read more…

Malaysia’s mess is Mahathir-made

Embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on July 28 replaced his deputy premier Muhyiddin Yassin, who has been critical of Najib's handling of the 1MDB scandal, and sacked his attorney general amid a furore that is threatening his hold on office. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Dan Slater, University of Chicago

At least embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is right about one thing. The current mess in Malaysian politics is the making of his greatest nemesis, Mahathir Mohamad, who led the Southeast Asian nation with an iron fist from 1981–2003. What Najib fails to fathom is that Mahathir has not produced this mess by criticising his leadership, but by paving Najib’s path to power in the fashion he did during his decades in office. Read more…