About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Monthly archive April 2013

Smuggling, shadowy funds, and tax reform

Despite claims to the contrary, the Philippines’ fiscal space is narrow and will continue to tighten unless steady, sustainable sources of revenues are generated. The policy options all require political will, hard work, and superior competence: control of smuggling, regaining control of some shadowy funds, and tax reform.

Poorly planned, poorly executed

If it had happened, say, during the watch of Romulo Neri, speculation would have been rife about the role of partisan politics in the situation. But it is happening under a NEDA headed by Arsi Balisacan, who is not known for any partisan leanings, so I am ready to give it the benefit of...

Dumaguete: a ‘labor employment zone’?

Excess labor supply at the going wage rate is a major characteristic of the Philippine economy. This statement is ekonomikspeak to describe a situation when many workers cannot find employment. “Excess labor supply” is a widespread phenomenon in the country.

Mother looking for her young

The mothers of Argentina were looking for their young, just as, in the Philippines, Edita Burgos has been looking for her son Jonas. And as a result of her dogged efforts, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in general, and the Philippine Army (PA) in particular, are now on the hot seat.

War vs. smuggling: a dismal failure

The Aquino administration is losing the war against smuggling. The biggest loser is the administration’s reputation for good governance -- “daang matuwid” in the common parlance. It would appear that the scale of smuggling this huge can’t go on without the protection of Malacañang.

Investment grade: boon or bane?

The annals of underdevelopment are filled with chapters on failures due to wasted opportunities, with hardly any account of failure due to scarcity of resources.

Dr. Onofre D. Corpuz, a significant life

Onofre D. Corpuz, 1926-2013. Former president of the University of the Philippines; former secretary of Education; founder and first president of the Development Academy of the Philippines; national scientist, professor of Political Science and emeritus professor at the UP School of Economics.

Inequality, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship

Our country is among the most unequal in wealth and income distribution in Asia such that it is often associated with its more distant cousins in Latin America. The Philippines’ Gini index is 43, .compared with Thailand’s 40 (as of 2009), Indonesia’s 34 (2005), and Vietnam’s 36 (2008)

Benefits of upgrade are grossly exaggerated

The benefits of the first ever investment-grade upgrade are grossly exaggerated. The behavior of the stock market last Monday, rising tentatively, retreated, and finally fell, supported this view. The stock markets’ hyperactive reaction to the upgrade before the Holy Week break was totally irrational. I see the upgrade as a ray of hope, however.

A tribute to OD Corpuz: unconventional thinker

OD was quintessentially an unconventional thinker. While a disdain for convention is common among people of his stature and accomplishment, he had more of it than most.

O.D. at the School of Economics

It was through the wisdom of Pepe Encarnación that O.D. Corpuz became regular faculty at the School of Economics in 1990 and it will be forever be to our institution’s honour that it was from there that O.D. ultimately retired from the University in 1993.

Addressing ‘merit goods’ deficit

One important reason why our nation has lagged behind its Asian neighbors has to do with inadequate spending on merit goods. A “merit good” is one deemed that an individual or society should have on account of real need rather than ability or willingness.