KSBL Research Seminar “What drives the quality of institutions in Asian economies? Directions for economic reforms.”

The Karachi School for Business & Leadership (KSBL) has launched a research seminar series to provide a platform to active researchers (within-and-outside KSBL) for the presentation and dissemination of their research papers. The first research seminar was held on 29th November 2013 at the KSBL campus, titled “What drives the quality of institutions in Asian economies? Directions for economic reforms.”

Dr Nadeem Javaid, Assistant Professor, KSBL, presented his research paper. The abstract is as follows;

The study attempted to construct an indicator of institutional quality, through exploratory factor analysis, for eleven Asian countries and identifies its potential determinants. Our panel data regression results, employing the data from ICRG, WDI and DPI for the period from 1984 to 2007, show that an increase in the efficiency of the tax system, income per capita, international openness, adult literacy rate along with a decrease in the level of national indebtedness have the potential to improve the institutional quality of the respective countries in the short run. Besides, an increase in the number of checks over the political elite and a decrease in military spending have additional possibility to improve the institutional quality in the longer run. However, quantile analysis shows that an increase in income per capita, tax collection and a decrease in military spending have better potential to enhance the institutional quality in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand; whereas an increase in adult literacy rate, international openness, tax collection and a decrease in indebtedness have better potential to enhance the institutional quality in Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and China. A notable fact is that adult literacy rate, a proxy for the education system, does not have any potential to influence the institutional quality of the above mentioned first set of countries. This necessitates that these countries should re-examine and refurbish their education system to make it deliverable.

Next in line was Mr. Zafar Shaheed who has been a visiting lecturer at different universities in Europe and most recently in Pakistan. He has been educated at the Universities of Columbia, Sussex and Leeds and holds a DPhil in political science. With global responsibilities, he has a number of publications in these subject areas.

He research paper’s abstract is as follows;

Why and how do businesses devise rules and regulations to guide their conduct relating to societal issues that range from child labor to the environment? This paper explores how organizations learn about societal issues and respond to these, based on the relative latency or maturity of the issue in question. Based on secondary research, as well as practical experience from the author’s international career, the stages of learning and responses are illustrated with examples from international companies. The case of Nike provides a particular illustration of how companies move from defensive stages of denial to managerial and strategic stages of addressing labor conditions in its supply chain. The paper argues that a “civil” stage of learning and doing by business is possible and benefits both society and the company in question, leading towards the concept of the enterprise as “corporate citizen”.

The seminar was highly informative and provided a deep understanding of the researchers’ key findings.
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