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  • Author: Lurong Chen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Global cross-border e-commerce has become increasingly important in the international economy. The next Asian miracle of growth could be born out of the region's digital transformation. Digital connectivity is the cornerstone that will make change feasible and smoothen the transformation. Digital connectivity consists of not only physical connectivity that facilitates the movement of raw materials, intermediate goods, and goods, but also cyber connectivity to support free flows of data, information, and services. This paper proposes a policy framework of promoting digital connectivity to support the development of e-commerce. Policy efforts to improve data connectivity, logistics, and online payment can help the Association of Southeast Asian Nations narrow the development gaps in information and communications technology infrastructure, both cross-border and within countries. Improving institutional connectivity and service development play a significant role. Digital connectivity is essential for the digital-friendly ecosystem that will facilitate digital transformation, which will affect not only e-commerce but also countries’ overall economic performance.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Digital Economy, Connectivity
  • Political Geography: ASEAN
  • Author: Ayako Obashi, Fukunari Kimura
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: We conducted a standard gravity exercise using worldwide disaggregated trade data to shed light on the influence of the spread of digital technologies on network trade. We found that growing investment in industrial robots in relatively lagging countries, together with imported digitally deliverable services, is enhancing bilateral network trade flows in East Asia, but not necessarily in other parts of the world. This suggests that exploring complementarities between machines and human resources in production blocks supported by better service-link connectivity may allow newly developed economies to retain and expand the international division of labour.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Digital Economy, Productivity
  • Political Geography: East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Thu Thu Vu, Duc Anh Dang
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Advanced machines and technology replace workers through automation. However, capital–labour substitution need not reduce aggregate labour demand, as it induces simultaneous contrasting effects within industries. To explore these effects, we examine the relationship between employment in Vietnamese manufacturing firms and imported capital goods in 2011–2017. To solve the problem of potential endogeneity and measurement errors, we used Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) imported capital goods as an instrument variable for imported capital goods in Viet Nam. We found that imported capital goods do not displace employment and even increase employment and labour productivity. The impacts of imported advanced technology are more pronounced in large firms. More imported technology increases labour productivity in state-owned enterprises and the number of workers in large firms and firms in industrial zones. However, the increase in the level of employment is lower in industries and firms intensively using machines.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Employment, Imports
  • Political Geography: Asia, Vietnam
  • Author: Đoàn Thi Thanh Ha
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impacts of advanced technology on a possible change in workers’ skills, wages, and employment due to such technological advancement. Three proxies of advanced technologies are used in the study: (i) information and communications technology, (ii) intensity of robot use, and (iii) value of e-commerce. Our study compares the effects of technological advancements on labour market outcomes with import penetration, delineating into raw materials, capital goods, and final products. Our results show that in Thailand, the impact of advanced technology in pushing workers out of the job market is limited. Instead, it tends to affect reallocation of workers between skilled and unskilled positions. The results vary amongst proxies of technology and sectors. It seems that workers in comparatively capital-intensive industries, including automotive, plastics and chemicals, and electronics and machinery, are the most affected by advanced technology. Dampened wage/income is found only in some proxies of technology and sectors. Our results show less concern of negative impacts induced by imports, particularly imports of capital goods and raw materials, on employment status and income than technological advancement.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Employment, Manufacturing, Job Creation, Labor Rights
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand
  • Author: Pavel Chakraborthy, Prachi Gupta
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Do incentives to innovate create demand for skilled workers more than proportionately? We study the question using the implementation of the Patent (Amendment) Act in India in 2002 to comply with the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement. We find, first, stronger intellectual property protection has a sharper impact on demand for skilled workers for high patentable industries. Demand for skilled workers increased by 0.5%–2.9% for industries that are more patentable. The average compensation for skilled workers went up by 10% in high patentable industries but decreased for unskilled workers by about 2%. Second, the increase in wage inequality can partly be attributed to the increase in wages rather than incentives. Third, the increase in demand for skilled workers is due to both the increase in intensive margin (or price) and extensive margin (number). Fourth, the aggregate effect is completely driven by industries producing intermediate goods and big plants. Finally, the reforms led to a significant reallocation of resources between industries. The high patentable industries invested more in technology adoption, started to produce more product varieties at higher quality, and filed for more product patent claims. Broadly, we demonstrate that stronger intellectual property protection leads to higher wage inequality between industries.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Bin Ni, Ayako Obashi
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Unlike studies that analyse the impact of robotics technology on employment at the industry or firm level, this study investigates cross-division employment adjustment within a firm in an industry with large penetration and diffusion of robotics technology. By examining the changes in the composition of employment, we measured job creation and destruction at the division level and explored whether robotics technology, as a leading example of automation, not only displaces workers but also introduces new jobs in favour of labour. We made use of unique, division-level employment data for Japan’s manufacturing firms, together with industry-level data on the installation of industrial robots. We found that industry-level adoption of robots positively affects the rates of firm-level job creation and job destruction. Because the magnitude of the impact is larger for job destruction, robot adoption has an overall negative impact on firms’ net employment growth. Our finding suggests that the labour displacement effect of robotics technology and the emergence of new jobs due to technological change coexist even at the firm level.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, Job Creation
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Han Phoumin, Fukunari Kimura, Jun Arima
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) faces tremendous challenges regarding the future energy landscape and how the energy transition will embrace a new architecture – including sound policies and technologies to ensure energy access together with affordability, energy security, and energy sustainability. Given the high share of fossil fuels in ASEAN’s current energy mix (oil, coal, and natural gas comprise almost 80%), the clean use of fossil fuels through the deployment of clean technologies is indispensable for decarbonising ASEAN’s emissions. The future energy landscape of ASEAN will rely on today’s actions, policies, and investments to change the fossil fuel-based energy system towards a cleaner energy system, but any decisions and energy policy measures to be rolled out during the energy transition need to be weighed against potentially higher energy costs, affordability issues, and energy security risks. This paper employs energy modelling scenarios to seek plausible policy options for ASEAN to achieve more emissions reductions as well as energy savings, and to assess the extent to which the composition of the energy mix will be changed under various energy policy scenarios. The results imply policy recommendations for accelerating the share of renewables, adopting clean technologies and the clean use of fossil fuels, and investing in climate-resilient energy quality infrastructure.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Green Technology, Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: ASEAN
  • Author: Han Phoumin, Jun Arima, Fukunari Kimura
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The power generation mix of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is dominated by fossil fuels, which accounted for almost 80% in 2017 and are expected to account for 82% in 2050 if the region does not transition to cleaner energy systems. Solar and wind power is the most abundant energy resource but contributes negligibly to the power mix. Scalable electricity production from wind and solar energy faces tremendous challenges due to system integration practices in ASEAN. Investors in solar or wind farms face high risks from electricity curtailment if surplus electricity is not used. Technologies for battery storage (lithium-ion batteries) have been developed to handle surplus electricity production from wind and solar energy but they remain costly. Hydrogen produced from electrolysis using surplus electricity, however, has numerous advantages that complement battery storage, as hydrogen can be stored as liquid gas, which is suitable for many uses and easy to transport. Employing the policy scenario analysis of the energy outlook modelling results, this paper examines the potential scalability of renewable hydrogen production from curtailed electricity in scenarios of high share of variable renewable energy in the power generation mix. The study intensively reviewed potential cost reduction of hydrogen production around the world and its implications for changing the energy landscape. The study found many social and environmental benefits as hydrogen can help increase the share of renewables in decarbonising emissions in ASEAN.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: ASEAN
  • Author: Takahiro Ono, Venkatachalam Anbumozhi
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economy has developed rapidly since the 1980s, centred on the automobile industry, and has been connected to economic regions around the world, including Japan, through supply chains. However, the ASEAN region is one where natural disasters frequently occur, and a region damaged by a disaster will have an impact on the region's economy, and the region’s supply chain will have a major impact on the world. Protecting the fast-growing and supply chain-connected ASEAN region from frequent natural disasters and reducing economic damage are important to Japan and the rest of the world. In 2015, the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction adopted the Sendai Framework, which focused on economic loss. To reduce economic loss caused by natural disasters, companies’ capability to continue doing business must be strengthened. Japan’s government has promoted business continuity planning to minimise economic loss. This paper examines the policy, reviews several devastating disaster case studies, and recommends policies for utilising the policy to reduce economic loss in the ASEAN region.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Natural Disasters, Business , Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: ASEAN