New variants of the coronavirus are producing the worst outbreaks in many countries in the Indo Pacific. Progress with vaccine rollouts has been uneven, further contributing to inequality of outcomes. The pandemic could have lasting effects by reinforcing nationalism, protectionism, and other trends that are already undermining globalisation. The most serious challenge posed by a pandemic induced acceleration towards a digital economy is the disruption to labour markets, made worse by divergent demographic trends in the region. Policies that increase factor mobility can narrow differences in capital-labour ratios and assist in productivity catch-up to promote more inclusive growth. Since commodity movements can substitute for factor movements, regional initiatives that liberalise trade can also reduce adjustment costs. Investing in a skilled and flexible workforce remains the long-term remedy.
About the Speaker
Dr Menon works on trade and investment issues and economic development in the Asian region. His last post was at ADB as Lead Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist. He was also at the ADB Institute in Tokyo from 2005 to 2008. He started work as an academic in Australia, spending almost a decade at the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University at its original campus in Clayton, Melbourne. He has also worked at the University of Melbourne, Victoria University, and the American University in Washington, DC. He holds adjunct appointments with the Australian National University, University of Nottingham, UK and IDEAS, Malaysia. He has authored/edited 15 books, 40 chapters in books and 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals.