Generalising the middle income trap

Two men carrying goods to be recycled ride their flatbed tricycles past a red Porsche Cayman parked outside a high-end housing complex in Beijing, China. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mark Fabian, ANU

The middle income trap has recently come (back) into vogue as a theoretical construct for understanding why some countries seem to stagnate at the middle-income level. The middle-income range is relatively common among contemporary emerging markets globally, so it is not surprising that ‘trap’ discussions focus on this income bracket. Read more…

Are global value chains the kickstart that AEC needs?

Laotian textile garment factory workers at work sewing clothes for export to Germany and other European markets, in the nation's largest textile factory located on the outskirts of Vientiane, Laos. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Daniel Wu, Bangkok

ASEAN is on the lookout for ways to accelerate trade facilitation and eliminate trade barriers by 2025 under its new 10-year ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) roadmap. Extensive research has demonstrated the vital role of global value chains (GVCs) in enhancing economic integration and liberalising trade. Read more…

Brunei must diversify its spluttering economy

Water taxis wait for passengers bound for the Water Village in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam on Friday, 10 September 2004. Brunei is located on the northwestern shore of Borneo and is heavily dependent on revenue from oil and gas exports. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Paul Pryce, UPH Analytics

The small Southeast Asian state of Brunei Darussalam has long enjoyed considerable affluence, thanks in large part to its exports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas to resource-hungry neighbours like Japan and India. According to 2010 data, GDP per capita was US$51,600 and Bruneians enjoy the total absence of sales taxes or personal income tax.

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India’s demographic dividend strait-jacketed by labour regulations

Unemployed Indians stand in a queue to register themselves at the Employment Exchange Office in Allahabad, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on 22 March 2012. India’s outmoded labour regulations are hindering job growth. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Mark Fabian, ANU

One of India’s most promising economic features is its large working-age population. Yet if India doesn’t find jobs for its young people, this boon will quickly turn into a powder-keg, as evinced by the recent agitations of unemployed Jats in Haryana. Read more…

Cool heads win out in India’s new budget

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley leaves for the Parliament House to present the 2015-16 Union Budget in New Delhi, India. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Mandar Oak, University of Adelaide

On 29 February, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the National Democratic Alliance government’s third Union Budget. The government, having assumed office a little less than two years ago, is no longer new to the job.

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Assessing Modi’s third budget

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses business leaders as he launches his ‘Make in India’ initiative in New Delhi, India. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ashima Goyal, IGIDR

When India voted in the Narendra Modi government with a stable majority in the last election in 2014 it was widely expected to pave the way for major changes. But political obstacles and a tendency to follow the path of least resistance has limited progress. Read more…

Trade policy lessons from Australia

Author: Bill Carmichael, Canberra

The goal of trade policy is not limited to increasing export opportunities. Nor is it just about improving trade balances. Rather trade policy is about taking opportunities to improve the economy’s productive base. Read more…