About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Author archive for Emmanuel S de Dios

Four figures in search of commentary

Below are some figures that seem to express definite trends or turning points. But the meaning is left to the reader who might have a different interpretation. The titles, of course, are completely gratuitous.

Middle class legislation and its discontents

The recent alarm over falling rice prices after import-quotas were replaced by tariffs points up a larger problem that will increasingly confront Philippine society — the conflict between the interests of a growing middle class and poorer minorities.

Why China is unlikely to go away any time soon — 2

The administration's specific conception of a China strategy, however, leaves much to be desired.

Why China is unlikely to go away anytime soon

Chinese persons already make up 40 percent of the world's adults who middle class or richer. The US and Europe together constitute less than 30 percent.

There’s ‘growth’, then there’s growth

What is not at issue is that a society failing to make progress in height — or worse, retrogressing in stature like the Philippines “cannot be in a wholesome state” and is failing to address serious problems of nutrition, disease, and poverty.

What’s up (actually down) with exports?

The longer term issue is whether a country with such a palpable disinterest in exports can long sustain a high level of growth.

What does Big Data say about PH exports?

[with Annette Balaoing-Pelkmans] Recent concern over a widening current account deficit has refocused attention on the country’s lagging export performance. Goods exports have fallen drastically as a share of GDP from 45 percent in 2000 to just 16 percent in 2017. Big Data offers some clues to this decline.


What follows is a list of Ph.D. graduates of the U.P. School of Economics in chronological order of their graduation. The School has graduated a total of 88 Ph.D.s since its first graduate in 1975.

Uncreative distractions

There is a hiatus in the administration’s economic agenda because the attention of its highest leaders is preempted by an agenda of vendetta and scorched-earth politics.

Vox populi vox Dei?

The political independence and professionalism of the bureaucracy and the courts are part of constitutional design. It is foolish and uninformed of politicians to demand that they conform to political trends and opinions of the day, no matter how “popular”.

Growth accelerations

Taking the long view and beyond scoring political points, however, if GDP does grow by 6-6.5% this year, then the Philippines would qualify as a clear case of “growth acceleration”

Just take it, it’s good for you

Not all who take sugar-sweetened beverages will indulge to excess. And not even all who over-indulge will become obese or diabetic. Yet, the proposal would penalise all these people in the same way. I hate to say it: just like the war on drugs.