Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

EIJS Working Paper Series,
Stockholm School of Economics, The European Institute of Japanese Studies

No 161: CRISIS, SOCIAL SECTOR AND INCOME DISTRIBUTION IN SOME SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRIES

Pundarik Mukhopadhaya
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Pundarik Mukhopadhaya: National University of Singapore, Postal: Department of Economics, National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260, Phone: (65) 874 6129, Fax: (65) 775 2646,

Abstract: This paper examines the social impact of the recent Asian Economic crisis, drawing on the results of studies in two countries: Singapore and Thailand. The economic crisis had interrupted three decades of steady growth that had been accompanied by remarkable progress in poverty reduction and a betterment of social indicators like health and education. In particular, this crisis is feared to have a large negative effect on household welfare. It is found that absolute poverty became more acute in Thailand and with the wake of unemployment and decrease in real wages, income inequality increased both in Singapore and Thailand. This paper has examined the effect of crisis on other social indicators, such as school enrolments, dropouts and health. It is observed that the crisis has exposed significant limitations in the ability of social safety nets to cope with a negative shock of this magnitude, and manifested the need for better targeting to help households tide over their difficulties.

Keywords: Inequality; Gini; Social sector; Singapore; Thailand; Education; Health; Financial Crisis

JEL-codes: D30; D63; I18; I28; I38

45 pages, October 1, 2002

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