Canada’s North-South Institute is incubating a network of research organizations in Southeast Asia to help improve their capacity to provide relevant macroeconomic policy advice.

The Southeast Asian Macroeconomic Network, which is expected to formally launch in 2014, is the first of its kind in the region. It will include participants from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and possibly Laos, Indonesia, Mongolia and China’s Hunan Province.

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Many Southeast Asian countries want to put in place new macroeconomic institutions to help make their economies more resilient to shocks and thus better able to sustain growth over the medium and long term. In addition, “Vietnam and Cambodia are moving into middle-income status, so it’s becoming more challenging to maintain high growth rates,” says Dr Rodney Schmidt, vice president and director of research at the North-South Institute.

“It’s relatively easy to initiate a growth spurt when you start from a fairly low base. But when you get close to middle-income status and have taken advantage of all the easy policy fixes, you start having more sectors and more actors, so economic growth can get stalled,” he explains.

“We want to foster a dynamic research community in each country, which would include research think tanks, universities and recognized domestic experts. We would then bring in the stakeholders – policy makers associated with national assemblies or macroeconomic institutions like central banks, ministries of finance and regulatory agencies,” says Dr Schmidt.

“Our goal is to encourage peer-reviewed and practical macroeconomic research and then enable productive dialogues between those who are doing the research and those who are using it,” he adds.

In Vietnam, potential partners include the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the Vietnam Center for Economics and Policy Research. “We’re also working with the Cambodia Development Resource Institute in Phnom Penh, the National University of Laos and National Economic Research Institute in Laos, and the Thailand Development Research Institute among others,” says Dr Schmidt.

For further information contact:

Dr Rodney Schmidt
Vice President and Director of Research
The North-South Institute, Canada