About Per SE

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

Wanted: full-blown inquiry into Jesse’s death

I want to articulate what is in many people’s minds, but which they may be too embarrassed or afraid to verbalize: There must be a full-blown investigation of the circumstances surrounding Jesse’s death to rule out the possibility of foul play. By credible, competent, and independent investigators.

Optimal taxation

Yesterday I talked about deadweight loss (DWL) or loss in efficiency as a result of taxation. At an optimum, marginal DWL on each commodity will be the same; at the optimum, the price of tax revenue must be equal for all taxes.

Managing tax reform

The administration of Benigno Aquino III has finally accepted the reality that new taxes are needed in order to finance its costly expenditure program. That’s a significant move forward. But it is important to manage the reforms properly.

Peso exchange rate: something to correct

The peso appreciation has given a false sense of optimism about the country’s economic condition. Domestic shoppers find foreign goods cheaper in the shopping malls. A side effect of this development is that domestic goods become relatively more expensive compared to imports.

Don’t get fancy

Congress is quite free to spend the next four years arguing about the shape of constitutional provisions. It should not delude itself into thinking, however, that it is thereby doing anything particularly urgent or relevant.

Two cases of direct assault

The reaction to the Carabuena-Fabros incident was instantaneous. It occurred on Saturday, was aired on TV-5 the following Tuesday , and went on the Internet immediately after. It went viral, and the public outrage was almost palpable.

The link between economic growth and FDI inflows

President Benigno Aquino wants more evidence before supporting the Enrile-Belmonte initiative to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution. This time I will emphasize mainly country evidence, starting first from the simplest to the more complex.


I was really taken aback by the latest attack against artificial contraceptives -- that they cause congenital anomalies in babies born of mothers who were on the ACs either before or during pregnancy. Senator Sotto, and Congressman Ace Barbers, leveled these charges, citing their own experiences.

When it rains, it pours

As the saying goes: when it rains, it pours. As a consequence of the monsoon rains and floods, and three discouraging economic news, the first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.4% has been virtually washed away. What remains is an economy that is facing a deflated growth prospect.

RH will help economy reach ‘sweet spot’

“Demographic sweet spot” is becoming a buzzphrase in business and political circles and the media, thanks to British international bank HSBC’s bold prognosis early this year on the Philippine economy’s rise to global prominence by 2050. This was essentially echoed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. at the Euromoney forum late in...


Since the flagship program of the P-Noy government gained considerable traction with the removal of no less than a Supreme Court Chief Justice, there is renewed belief in the seriousness of combating corruption.

Is getting De Lima short-listed worth the cost?

As I write this column, the Judicial and Bar Council is scheduled to decide whether to relax its disqualification rules before it decides on the short list of candidates for chief justice to be submitted to P-Noy. One thing is sure. If it does amend those rules, the JBC’s name will be mud, ...