Political Economy

  • Can Hashimoto's Osaka victory translate nationally?

    Japan's Hashimoto Practices Unconventional Politics

    The results of the November 2015 ‘double election’ for the Osaka Prefectural governor and Osaka City mayor are in. The regional Osaka Ishin no Kai candidates won both positions with huge margins, defeating their rivals — including those supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and other national political parties.

    It is rather exceptional in Japan that both the governor of a prefecture and the mayor of a city within that prefecture represent a regional political party.

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  • Part of Abenomics' third arrow is corporate governance reform.

    Part of Abe's Third Arrow Takes Aim at Governance

    As part of Abenomics’ third arrow of structural reform, Japan recently adopted a new corporate governance code. The new code focuses on making Japanese corporations more transparent, more responsive to shareholders — including minority shareholders — and subject to more effective oversight by boards of directors, especially outside directors. It seeks to make boards of directors not only more active and independent, but more diverse.

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  • Germany holds sway in the EU and that's a problem for France.

    France an Example of Europe's Governance Challenge

    With the ECB poised to take additional steps down the unorthodox monetary policy route, financial and economic forces are as potent as ever.  However, there is a subtle shift, taking place that few seem to recognize.  It is the re-emergence of non-economic/non-financial issues.

    Since the Great Financial Crisis began, and especially since the emergence of the European debt problems, economics have been paramount in Europe.  Even political developments were understood in relation to the economic and financial problems.   

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  • The Chinese and Indian governments are grabbing large tracts of land.

    Grabbing Hands Grab All the Land

    Behind the impressive growth of the world’s two largest emerging nations, China and India, land has been a key infrastructural resource as well as a major source of social conflicts. Laws in both countries have allowed the governments to take land away from agricultural communities for industrialisation and development, while offering little compensation or no resettlement alternative in return.

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  • Ma Ying-jeou's visit with Xi has been polarizing in Taiwan.

    Did Ma Meet Xi for His Political Legacy?

    Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the first ever meeting between the leaders of the two countries on 7 November 2015 in Singapore.

    The timing of the meeting is interesting and controversial. President Ma is an unpopular president whose term is about to end. His party, the Kuomintang (KMT), is widely predicted to lose both the next presidential and parliamentary elections. Many see Ma’s decision to meet Xi as an attempt to secure his historical legacy and provide a boost to his struggling party.

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  • Portugal needs a government while Spain may get two.

    The Iberian Peninsula Grabs Headlines

    The US dollar is firm within fairly narrow ranges that have prevailed this week as the market consolidates its recent gains.  Draghi's comments to the European Parliament are similarly dovish in tone to the October post-ECB press conference.  Sterling posted outsized gains yesterday, pushing above $1.5200, and those gains extended to almost $1.5250 today before sterling sold back to $1.5175, leaving it almost flat against the euro.

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  • Monks in Myanmar are getting behind politics that support Buddhism.

    Buddhist Nationalism Changes Course in Myanmar

    The upcoming general elections in Myanmar raise the question of religion’s role in democratisation processes. Previously Buddhism has been an important force in favour of democracy, but in the 2015 election campaign strong Buddhist forces are supporting the military-aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). This is their democratic right, but it may hinder further political reforms and democratisation in Myanmar.

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  • Scholars tackle the debate rhetoric.

    GOP Debate: Someone Has to Win, Right?

    Republican presidential candidates debated a range of economic issues in their third debate, from what to do about Medicare and social security to tax policy and even a brief exchange on daily fantasy sports. The moderators became part of the scrum, and Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democrats took a few bashes, as GOP contenders strove to stand out. Here is an instant analysis from three scholars.

    Candidates and media spar, but Americans get their moment

    - Thomas Kochan, MIT Sloan School of Management

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  • It's likely easier to take on the drugmakers during the campaign than in office.

    Bashing Drug-Makers for Short-term Political Gain has Risks

    At Tuesday’s Democratic debate, they asked candidates to name the enemies they are most proud of making.  Front-runner Hillary Clinton’s answer? Drug companies (along with the National Rifle Association, “the Iranians” and Republicans).

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