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Security >>Social Safety Nets in East Asia: How Desirable? How
Social Safety Nets in East Asia: How Desirable? How Feasible?
By Mukul G Asher
Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Department of Economics (AS2)
National University of Singapore, 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570,E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A paper prepared for the Second Intellectual Dialogue on Building Asia’s Tomorrow: Promoting Sustainable Development and Human Security, co-organized by Japan Centre for International Exchange, Tokyo and Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, July 12-13, 1999, Singapore.
Research Assistance provided by Rahul Sen is gratefully acknowledged. The usual caveat applies.
Factors contributing to East Asia’s Social Development
i. Small holder based rural development
Social Impact of the Crisis: The Main Channels
Acceleration in rates of inflation and sharp currency depreciation leading
to sudden increases in prices of traded goods (including food), and of
public sector services, including utilities
SOCIAL SAFETY NETS
The social safety nets are designed to protect the real consumption of individuals and their families against abrupt and sharp fall in the living standards in the event of unemployment, disability, sickness, incapacitation or retirement.
Thus, both chronic incapacity to work and earn (chronic poverty) and a decline in this capacity from a marginal situation that provides minimal means for survival with few reserves (transient poverty) are constituents of Social Safety nets.
Factors to consider in designing Safety Nets
i) The number and composition of the poor
ii) Potential effects of reform policy measures
iii) Financial and administrative constraints
iv) Existing social security arrangements
Main Instruments/Programs of Safety Nets
Targeted Consumer Subsidies through a variety of Delivery Instruments
- Public Distribution System
Key Assumptions Underlying East Asia’s Approach to Safety Nets
Reliance on the continuation of rapid economic growth, and consequent
continuing reduction in the poverty levels in the region.
Reasons for Desirability
East Asia has coped much better with the Short-Run social impact of the crisis than was feared at the height of the crisis. Nevertheless, Reforming and Strengthening of Social Safety Nets is necessary to sustain Medium and Long-run Economic and Social progress.
Erosion of Informal Systems Due to Growth, Industrialization, Urbanization,
and Attitudinal Changes.
Involve Political, Financial, Institutional and other aspects. Better
Governance will be the key.
Leakages during the process of disbursement of funds budgeted for
Such programs must be based on:
Firmer statistical databases and mapping of informal social security
networks and cultural dynamics in East Asia; and
alleviation only to the extent it contributes to economic growth.