Questions of sustainability and inclusiveness of economic growth have always been raised in academic and policy debates. In this third issue of the PIDS Economic Policy Monitor (EPM), inclusiveness is examined in the context of regional economic integration. With barely three years remaining before the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), it is but fitting to take a look at the effects of the rapid pace of regional integration on the achievement of sustained, inclusive growth in the Philippines. Despite increasing interrelatedness of markets and freer flows of capital, labor, and technology - which are anticipated to significantly narrow development gaps - income inequalities are rising within countries and between countries in the region. To be truly meaningful, economic growth should be inclusive, where its fruits are not concentrated in the hands of a few but enjoyed by all. It should translate to significant poverty reduction, a better quality of life for the poor.

The four papers featured in this volume show that regional economic integration can become a double-edged sword for the Philippines when its pursuit of full integration into the regional and global economy is not complemented by domestic policy reforms in key economic sectors, the strengthening of industrial capacity, and deepening of poverty reduction efforts. Download the soft copy of the 2012 EPM.

Want more?  Know what other PIDS studies have to say about the growth and poverty nexus. What factors constrain inclusive growth? How can the Philippines capitalize on regional economic integration to reduce poverty?

For other related studies, visit the SocioEconomic Research Portal for the Philippines.