Economic Analysis |

Economic Analysis

  1. Singapore's transformation into a global financial hub

    Author/s:
    WOO JUN JIE
    Year:
    2017
    Abstract:

    Ranked third most competitive financial centre in the world, Singapore has over the short span of its 50-year history established itself as a leading global financial hub. Yet the city-state does not owe its success solely to luck and fortuity. Rather, it is through the astute policy planning, active industry engagement, and long-range planning of its government that Singapore has managed to grow and develop its financial services sector.

    This case study will provide an overview of Singapore’s emergence and rise to prominence as a leading global financial centre, in the process discussing its key strengths and value propositions as a financial centre. It will examine both the historical factors and policy initiatives that have driven Singapore’s successful transformation into a global financial hub.

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  2. Singapore’s Productivity Challenge: Part IV

    Author/s:
    HAWYEE AUYONG
    Year:
    2015
    Abstract:

    This part covers the current challenges facing policymakers in light of slowing global demand and future technological disruptions to jobs and employment. Many of these challenges stem from policy responses to other problems in the past, such as rapid industrialisation through foreign investment to tackle high unemployment during the immediate post-independence years; suppressing domestic costs in order to remain competitive as other economies in the region mimicked Singapore’s export-oriented growth strategy; and the drive to maintain high GDP growth rates through large labour and capital imports. Singapore’s current policy challenges in labour productivity demonstrate how policymaking is extremely path dependent, and that care has to be taken when designing interventions to current challenges to minimise unintended consequences for future policymakers.

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  3. Stateless Refugees from Myanmar, in Thailand

    Author/s:
    VIGNESH LOUIS NAIDU
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:

    Since the first major influx in 1984, Thailand has witnessed a steady stream of refugees from Myanmar entering its borders. Many of these refugees live in camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. Despite having large numbers of refugees, Thailand does not have an established legal framework to deal with them. In recent years, the Thai government has proposed the establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and a Special Administrative Zone (SAZ) in Tak Province; a province that houses the largest number of Myanmar refugees, living in refugee camps, in Thailand.

    This case encourages readers to analyse the Thai government’s proposals through the lens of a Cost Benefit Analysis.

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  4. Business Process Outsourcing in the Philippines (The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy – Microsoft Case Study Series on IT, Public Policy and Society)

    Author/s:
    ASHISH LALL, ALVIN LEE, ZSUZSANNA VARI-KOVACS, STEVENSON Q YU
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:

    The Philippines has over time developed a strong and adaptive economy amongst its Southeast Asian peers as demonstrated by its resilience during the global financial crisis of 2008. One industry that has grown increasingly important to the economy is the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, which has grown to be fastest growing sector in the Philippines, second only to India on the world scale. BPO has been defined as the delegation of all or part of the technical, process and human resources.. Today, the BPO industry in Philippines may be categorized into six subsectors: voice BPO (or call centers), back-office BPO (mainly finance and accounting services), transcription (mainly medical and legal transcription services), animation, engineering services, and software and digital content (including game development).

    This case study examines the factors in the growth of the BPO industry in the Philippines, focusing on the rise of the “next wave cities”, such as Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Clark, facilitated by the availability of an educated and effective labour force as well as infrastructure and government commitment that has fostered growth in BPO. The key challenges the country faces to maintaining this remarkable industry is the development in communications technology, such as automation towards its less skilled jobs, building a more coherent tax policy that is business-friendly, as well as improvement in further developing talents and marketing of the Philippines as a premier BPO destination.

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  5. Singapore’s Productivity Challenge: Part III

    Author/s:
    HAWYEE AUYONG
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:

    The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis severely impacted regional economies. Although Singapore emerged relatively unscathed compared to other Southeast Asian economies, it adopted wide cost cutting measures including wage reductions to restore export competitiveness because the Singapore Dollar remained relatively strong. Singapore recovered strongly from the crisis, but continued to face economic volatility in the following decade. This volatility justified a strategy of “go for growth in the good years”, supported by growth in the foreign labour force that helped to grow the workforce by up to 5% per year during this period. But largely due to the changing attitudes of the population towards the increasing proportion of foreign labour in the economy, labour productivity once again became a priority after 2009 and the government set an ambitious target of 2-3 per cent annual productivity growth for the decade from 2010 to 2020. Meeting this target has proved challenging because of a number of structural issues in the economy including an entrenched dependence on foreign labour. Nevertheless, the government has so far seemed determined to press on with industrial restructuring.

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  6. Singapore’s Productivity Challenge: Part I

    Author/s:
    HAWYEE AUYONG
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:

    Since 2010, the Singapore government has committed to reduce the rate of growth in foreign labour, and to support economic growth through increases in labour productivity. Singapore’s economic policy challenges today bear little resemblance to the pressing, existential challenges the country faced more than 50 years ago in 1961, where the priority was employment creation. This case explores how Singapore’s challenges in raising labour productivity today could be, to a large extent, the product of economic policy decisions made in the past. Part 1 covers the years 1961 to 1985.

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  7. Singapore’s Productivity Challenge: Part II

    Author/s:
    HAWYEE AUYONG
    Year:
    2014
    Abstract:

    Since 2010, the Singapore government has committed to reduce the rate of growth in foreign labour, and to support economic growth through increases in labour productivity. Singapore’s economic policy challenges today bear little resemblance to the pressing, existential challenges the country faced more than 50 years ago in 1961, where the priority was employment creation. This case explores how Singapore’s challenges in raising labour productivity today could be, to a large extent, the product of economic policy decisions made in the past. Part 2 covers the years 1985 to 1998.

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  8. Vietnam: Embracing ICT for Economic Catch-Up Case

    Author/s:
    VU MINH KHUONG and ROBERT D. AUSTIN
    Year:
    2014
    Publication:
    The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy – Microsoft Case Study Series on IT, Public Policy and Society
    Abstract:

    Since the launch of economic reforms known as “Doi Moi” (renovation) in December 1986, Vietnam’s vigorous embrace of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has enabled the country to transform itself from a closed, impoverished country into a highly open and fast-growing economy. Today, Vietnam has become a hub of global ICT hardware production and IT outsourcing (ITO) in the region. This case explores how Vietnam transformed into an ICT hub over a short period of time, as well as the key policy challenges it faces going forward, which include expanding the country’s IT infrastructure, addressing the shortage of skilled labour, and strengthening the cyber-security environment.

    This is the second paper of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy – Microsoft Case Study Series on IT, Public Policy and Society.

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  9. Singapore's Fiscal Response to the Great Recession: Radical Innovation or Incremental Change?

    Author/s:
    ALISHA GILL
    Year:
    2013
    Abstract:

    Singapore’s Budget for financial year (FY) 2009 was delivered in January, at the start of the Great Recession. Commentators hailed it as an extraordinary budget, and praised the radical policy measures that it contained. Although these claims contained a grain of truth, they also overstated the extraordinariness of Budget 2009. This case study situates Budget 2009 in the context of the Ministry of Finance's evolving policy orientations, and relates the seemingly radical measures in Budget 2009 to earlier policy initiatives that the Ministry had undertaken in response to greater economic volatility and uncertainty. The perspective gained from such an understanding of Budget 2009 is one of path dependence, continuity and incremental change. Though policymakers were articulating what appeared to be novel policies, these were in fact highly embedded in established policy understandings, orientations and bureaucratic capabilities. Analysing Budget 2009 against the backdrop of the earlier policy innovations of the Finance Ministry also allows one to appreciate how cumulative, incremental policy decisions contributed to significant shifts in the Singapore government’s response to a major recession.

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  10. When the Poor Became Bankable: Microfinance crisis in Andhra Pradesh

    Author/s:
    SHRIYA MOHAN and P PRAVEEN SIDDHARTH
    Year:
    2010
    Abstract:

    The success of Grameen Bank, founded by Muhammad Yunus, had led to the sprouting of microfinance institutions in India. The Grameen model provided financing support for income generation in remote areas where banks had been tardy in providing service and had historically seen high repayment rates. However, the microfinance sector in India underwent a change in its model in August 2009 when India’s largest private microfinance institution (MFI) raised funds from the public through an IPO, promising high rates of return. While this was condemned as commercialization of microfinance, the market-oriented model aimed to help more poor people by tapping the large pool of investor capital rather than the limited pool of donor or subsidized funds. The situation reached a crisis in October 2010 when there was a spate of farmer suicides in Andhra Pradesh, the microfinance capital of India. More shocking facts about the industry such as the exorbitantly high interest rates, intense competition among MFIs which had led to multiple loans being offered for consumption in addition to income generation and tight repayment schedules, came to light. The group-lending system which enforced repayment through social pressure had exacerbated the situation for women caught in debt traps. The Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank had to intervene urgently. This case raises questions of ethics, profit models for social businesses and regulation through government intervention.

    Second Prize – Case Writing Competition 2010

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  11. Growth pangs of a Microfinance Institution: Trying to speed ahead without going off-course

    Author/s:
    DURREEN SHAHNAZ and SAVITA SHANKAR
    Year:
    2010
    Abstract:

    A development oriented microfinance institution based in Tamil Nadu, India, wants to grow without drifting away from its mission. The case gives students an opportunity to consider the dilemmas faced by social enterprises, when they aim for sustainable and socially responsible growth in competitive sectors such as microfinance.

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  12. All the Maharajah’s Men

    Author/s:
    ANISHA GEORGE
    Year:
    2011
    Abstract:

    In the early 2000s, the national air carriers of India, Air India (operating international air services) and Indian Airlines (servicing domestic routes and neighbouring countries) were facing a financial crisis following a slump in the aviation sector worldwide due to global recession and rising fuel prices. In 2007, the two airlines had been merged in a bid to galvanize their fortunes but the merger had not been successful. Expensive fleet acquisition, sale of bilateral air traffic rights in favour of private and foreign carriers and attempted integration policies in the course of the merger resulted in mounting losses and debt for the company. The leader of the airline’s largest trade union sought to work with a newly-appointed, socialist Minister for Aviation to garner government support to save the airline through capital and equity infusion. The alternate options to government aid were privatisation or a shrinking of the airline. The government had occupied an ambivalent stance and public support stood against the airline’s favour. Given the political scenario, the strategic importance of the national carrier and the ailing aviation scenario of India itself, how could the merged national carrier be saved?

    Second Prize – Case Writing Competition 2011

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  13. The Buck Stops Where? A Healthcare Policy Trilemma for Singapore’s Foreign Workers

    Author/s:
    MOSES SAM PAUL JOHNRAJ and NICOLE BACOLOD
    Year:
    2012
    Abstract:

    Between October 2010 and November 2010, The Cuff Road Project (TCRP), a twice a day food programme in Little India, Singapore, had catered to 610 foreign workers. Of this, 81% had encountered injuries in their work and had filed a Work Injury Compensation claim. Many low-skilled foreign workers worked in the construction sector where there could be serious work-related injuries. Although there were several legislative measures and regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of these foreign workers, these were oftentimes unknown to the injured workers and were often not complied with by the employers, causing the medical treatment for injured workers to be delayed or denied. This case study highlights some of the policy gaps and the challenges faced by Singapore in maintaining a high level of growth vis-à-vis ensuring the welfare of foreign workers with particular reference to the construction sector. It zooms in on the experiences of two foreign construction workers who experienced workplace injuries, requiring costly and long medical treatment.

    Second Prize – Case Writing Competition 2012

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