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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2007): Welfare state - overseas

The challenges of poverty and social welfare in the Caribbean

G.A. Bowen

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.16, 2007, p. 150-158

Despite overall improvements in living standards, poverty remains endemic in Caribbean countries. Poverty rates average about 30% of the Caribbean population. This article presents an overview of poverty and related problems, anti-poverty strategies and social welfare programmes in the region. It also presents practical proposals for addressing social and human development in the Caribbean. These proposals comprise a general approach to poverty reduction rather than specific strategies geared to particular countries.

East Asian welfare regimes: testing the hypothesis of the developmental welfare state

Y.-J. Lee and Y.-W. Ku

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 41, 2007, p. 197-212

Scholars have postulated the existence of a developmental or productionist welfare regime in East Asia, in which all social policies are subordinate to the aim of achieving strong economic growth. However these discussions have been based more on conceptual classification than empirical analysis. This article attempts to fill the gap, with reference to the characteristics of the Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean welfare states. A set of 15 indicators was developed for the factor and cluster analysis of 20 countries, based on data from the 1980s and 1990s. The results indicate the existence of a new category of welfare state represented by Taiwan and Korea. Regime characteristics peculiar to the cases of Taiwan and Korean include: low/medium social security expenditure, high social investment, medium/high welfare stratification, a high non-coverage rate for pensions, high individual welfare loading and high family welfare responsibility.

Housing and superannuation: social security in Singapore

D. Reisman

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 34, 2007, p. 159-187

In Singapore all permanently resident workers are required to invest a proportion of their earnings in the Central Provident Fund in order to finance their retirement. Members eventually take out whatever money they have put in, plus interest, tax free. However, members are succumbing to the temptation of withdrawing funds to pay off the mortgages on homes they have purchased at subsidised rates from the state-sponsored Housing Development Board. This exposes them to the risk of having insufficient funds left in the Central Provident Fund to secure a comfortable retirement should property prices crash.

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