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Mohamed Ariff and Shamsher Mohamad

Adam Smith traced the source of opulence of nation, which he called capital, to the uninterrupted efforts of every man to better his condition. Today we define wealth as the item that has some economic substance, a value such that this wealth can be used for several intended purposes, in modern economics, for consumption as theoretically glorified by the Utility Maximization Theorem (Arrow-Debreu). In this chapter, the reader is introduced to the modern idea of net wealth held by households and entities. The amount of wealth as at 2017 is given as US$ 250 trillion after all liabilities are subtracted from total wealth. In this context, Calvin’s contribution of wealth as God’s gift to man is referred to, which provides a continuity with Islam’s claim that wealth belongs to God, and He apportions who begets it.

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Preface

Theory and Practice

Edited by Mohamed Ariff and Shamsher Mohamad

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Shahid Yusuf

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Preface

Achieving Fiscal Sustainability

Edited by Naoyuki Yoshino and Peter J. Morgan

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Peter J. Morgan and Long Q. Trinh

Sustainable and inclusive growth in emerging Asian economies requires continued high levels of public sector investment in areas such as infrastructure, education, health, and social services. These responsibilities, especially with regard to infrastructure investment, need to be devolved increasingly to the regional government level. However, growth of sources of revenue and financing for local governments has not necessarily kept pace, forcing them, in some cases, to increase borrowing or cut spending below needed levels. This chapter reviews alternative models of the relationship between central and local governments, and provides an overview and assessment of different financing mechanisms for local governments, including tax revenues, central government transfers, bank loans, and bond issuance, with a focus on the context of emerging Asian economies. The chapter also reviews financing mechanisms for local governments and mechanisms for maintaining fiscal stability and sustainability at both the central and local government levels. Based upon the evidence on the decentralization process in Asia, it proposes some policy implications for improving central–local government relations and fiscal sustainability.

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Introduction: Asia-Pacific resource politics between boom and crisis

The Political Economy of Conflict and Cooperation

Jeffrey D. Wilson

What explains the emergence of international resource conflicts in the Asia-Pacific during the last decade? This chapter first introduces the empirical scope of this book – providing a broad overview of the global resource boom of the 2000s, the resource security challenges it has posed, and emerging patterns of inter-governmental conflict these have engendered. It then reviews existing theoretical approaches to international resource politics, outlining how these fail to move beyond the systemic level to probe the wider range of factors at both the international and domestic levels driving government’s policy behaviour. It argues that to adequately explain these dynamics, it is necessary to examine why resource interdependence has become a securitised policy domain, and the political-economic factors driving this shift.

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Anwar Shah, Karim Khan and Hayat Khan

The mainstream economic theory assumes that individuals’ preferences are exogenous and self-regarding. However, the laboratory experiments show that in most of the cases, individuals’ preferences exhibit regard for others. It is widely believed that values and norms can foster the other-regarding behaviour by constraining selfishness. This does not imply that selfish behaviour is dead as there is enough experimental evidence that other-regarding individuals use information asymmetry for their personal gains. In this study, while controlling for one aspect of values, that is, religion, we investigate whether individuals behave significantly differently when we control for their religiosity. We examine the behaviours of proposers in a modified ultimatum game after priming their religious identity. Using hadith, saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH), as a priming instrument, we find that most of the proposers make equitable offers to the responders as compared to the controlled treatment. This is in spite of the fact that the proposers could use information asymmetry regarding the size of the pie for maximizing their private gains. The study suggests that promoting universal values can be beneficial for the promotion of pro-social or other-regarding behaviour.

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M. Kabir Hassan

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Edited by M. Kabir Hassan

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Edited by Dongsoo Kang and Andrew Mason