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A Decade of Social Protection Development in Selected Asian Countries

image of A Decade of Social Protection Development in Selected Asian Countries

Over the past ten years economic growth in Asia has contributed to a reduction of poverty as well as fertility rates, and greater prosperity has contributed to gains in life expectancy. However, at present many workers still work in informal employment, frequently for long hours at little pay and without social protection coverage. A growing demand for social support, extending the coverage of social protection benefits and improving the job quality of workers will be among Asia’s major challenges in future. This report considers these challenges, providing policy examples from countries to illustrate good practice, including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and Viet Nam.

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Social protection expenditure and coverage across Asia

This chapter starts with setting out the scope of social expenditure and then summarises the prevalence of statutory social protection provisions across countries. The third section discusses issues around the extension the coverage of social protection benefits among elderly citizens considering pensions, non-contributory benefits as well as the Singaporean provident fund. Section 2.4 looks at the ADB’s Social Protection Indicator to glean some insight in the extent to which richer and poorer countries devote resources to social expenditure and whether or not they are able to reach potential beneficiaries. This discussion illustrates the importance of different components of social spending (e.g., social insurance, social assistance, and active labour market programmes); and, the poverty and gender dimensions of distributional impacts of social spending.

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