About Per SE

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

Pork barrel and agriculture

The latest Philippine Human Development Report (2012/2013), launched last Monday, may not have the most eye-opening, or curiosity-inspiring, of titles—“Geography and Human Development”—but its contents belie whatever humdrum expectations may be implied.

Salience and cooperation among rational egoists

We introduce the concept of the Ostrom threshold, the failure cost in excess of which cooperation is the best reply to itself. For high enough cost of failure, cooperation among rational egoists is sustained. The Ostrom threshold first rises and then falls as the fury of nature rises.

Moral hazard and cooperation in competing teams

We give the conditions for the attainment of self-enforcing Pareto efficiency under complete effort non-observability, strict agent rationality and global budget balance among teams involved in a winner-takes-all contest for a prize.

‘Time inconsistency’: the Phillips Curve example

We provide the algebra and a panel diagram to attempt to examine the so-called inflation- unemployment (or Phillips curve, or aggregate supply) example. This is used to analyze whether there is indeed “time inconsistency” or “dynamic inconsistency” in the said example.

An exercise on discrete-time intertemporal optimization

Using the different alternative methods of dynamic optimization we derive the conditions that must be satisfied by the solution to the so-called Ramsey problem in a way that can be understood by advanced undergraduate economics students.

Does economic empowerment protect women against domestic violence? Evidence from the Philippines

[with Xylee Javier] We ask whether women's economic empowerment -- defined alternatively as having the ability to decide on daily needs, major purchases, and spending own income -- protects women against domestic violence.

Fiscal transfers and gerrymandering under decentralization in the Philippines

While gerrymandering in developing countries is often pushed by local authorities to secure political advantages, fiscal grants systems under decentralization may also have the same result. We investigate this issue to identify the correlates of the growth in the number of cities in the Philippines in 2001-2010.

Deviant behavior: a century of Philippine industrialization

[with Jeffrey Williamson] While the Philippines conformed to the world-wide unconditional industrial convergence pattern for seven decades, it began to deviate from the pack in the 1980s, leaving the industrial catching up club in 1982, never to re-enter. What were the causes of this regime switch?

Use political capital to raise FDIs and taxes

Halfway through his presidency, Mr. Benigno Aquino III remains popular. But his promise of new prosperity that would lead to better lives for many Filipinos is at risk as unemployment remains high and poverty incidence is unchanged.

Passable first half; Can Aquino do better?

Has the President done a good job or a bad job during his first half in office? His loyal friends and supporters opine that his performance is good enough just by being the opposite of his predecessor. But that is setting the standards too low. Our problems are more serious.