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Taiwan urged to provide economic stimulus plan to counter downcycle

TAIPEI -- Taiwan should provide economic stimulus plans to counter the impact of the global economic slowdown, a visiting U.S. economist urged yesterday.

It is unlikely that even a single country can remain insulated from the problem, especially if it has an export-oriented economy like Taiwan, said Robert Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale University.

To lessen the effects of the slowdown, the government needs to provide economic stimulus plans rather than impose austerity programs, Shiller said at a press briefing in Taipei.

However, Shiller noted that the problem of being a smaller economy than Europe or the U.S. is that much of the stimulus effort may "flow abroad," helping stimulate economies around the world.

"But I think there's still a role (for such efforts)," he said, adding that the impact on the global slowdown, if that continues, can be limited.

Asked about his opinions on Taiwan's stock market, which is experiencing volatility, Shiller first said he himself is not an expert on Taiwan's economy, but later expressed optimism, saying that "the general outlook is very positive."

"Taiwan's economy has been a success story for a very long time, an object of admiration around the world, and even my cellphone was made in Taiwan" said Shiller, who took out an HTC smartphone with a smile.

"If you look at the behavior of the stock market in Taiwan and the U.S., more or less, they're very similar, and it's not a dramatic difference," he said.

Shiller, who arrived Thursday on a three-day visit, was invited to Taiwan by the local Chinese-language economic weekly Business Today.

The academic is scheduled to deliver a speech titled "Seeking for the Economic Recovery" at a forum and meet President Ma Ying-jeou later in the day.

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