About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Monthly archive January 2012

2D:4D asymmetry and gender differences in academic performance: evidence from Moscow and Manila

(with John V.C. Nye, Grigory Androuschak, Garett Jones, and Maria Yudkevich) Exposure to prenatal androgens affects both future behavior and life choices. However, there is still relatively limited evidence on its effects on academic performance. Moreover, the predicted effect of exposure to prenatal testosterone (T) – which is inversely correlated with the relative length of the...

Household decisions and child health: Estimating the links between water treatment and the incidence of diarrhea using non-recursive two-equation causal models

(with Carlos Antonio R. Tan, Jr.) The treatment of drinking water is advocated to reduce the incidence of child diarrhea. However, evaluating the impact of water treatment with only observational data leads to biased estimates since it could be the occurrence of child diarrhea that induced the household to treat their drinking water. To deal with the...

The effects of term limits and yardstick competition on local government provision of health insurance and other public services: The Philippine case

(with  Stella A. Quimbo, Aleli D. Kraft, Carlos Antonio R. Tan, Jr., and Vigile Marie B. Fabella) We investigate the effects of two accountability measures on the decisions of the local governments under decentralization. Using a panel of Philippine municipalities and cities in three election years, we find that term limits have negative but weak...

SALNs seldom used to fight corruption

That the SALNs are a potentially strong weapon that could ensure victory in the war against corrupt officials and employees there is no doubt, because combined with the income tax returns of the latter, it would be almost a walk in the park to determine any unexplained wealth on their part.

Short run, long run

In late December last year, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC) downgraded its forecast for the Philippine economy for this year to 3.6% GDP growth, from an earlier outlook of 4.2%. The same report noted that the eurozone continued to slip into a recession and the US economy remained stagnant. Now comes an optimistic...

Caught unprepared

The pictures that come forcibly to mind when I observe the behavior of the Executive and the Lower House in the matter of the impeachment of CJ Renato Corona are of a pack of wolves circling their prey, or of a couple of bullies ganging up on someone half their size. And my natural instinct...

Foreign chambers of investors dream of accelerated growth (arangkada)

Seven foreign chambers of commerce have joined to offer their views on how the country can accelerate economic growth. Left behind by high growth neighbors that have benefitted from the remarkable inflows of foreign direct investment, the joint chambers offer their advice on how to accelerate the country’s growth rate.

Do it the right way

It started off so well. First, there was Sen. Angara’s opening prayer, asking for wisdom and enlightenment. What I hoped would be internalized by the senators was the part where Divine intervention was asked to “enlighten our minds so that we may do what is right and just and fair”...

Hall of fame, hall of shame

Philippine decentralization had a good start in the ’90s. But fiscal decentralization has suffered a policy reversal during the last decade. Local governments have become dependent on grants from the central government. Local budget priorities were misplaced. And there were distinct moves towards recentralization of both health and social welfare services.

International factors affecting economic performance this year

The thing certain with international factors affecting this year’s economic performance is that they are uncertain. Hence, we expect, as in the past, economic volatility. Economic and business expectations definitely have to factor in these uncertain events to manage the year right.

After twenty years, what?

The central government’s direct grants to local governments have reached about P300 billion, or about one-fifth of total budget net of interest payments. Are citizens getting good value for their taxes?

Dutch Disease? Make that Spanish

Depending on who was talking, syphilis in the past was variously called the “French Disease,” the “Italian Disease,” the “Spanish Disease,” or the “English Disease” -- and sometimes even the Poles got blamed. The source of Dutch ignominy, however, has nothing to do with promiscuity but rather with a problem of economy