New Publication Compares the Effect of Social Safety Net Programs on Reducing Poverty Risks in Taiwan and Southeast China

Hanna Wang
June 08, 2021

East Asia has undergone rapid demographic, economic, political, and social transformations in recent decades. In a new article published in the Journal of Asian Public Policy, Julia Shu-Huah Wang, Yixia Cai and Qin Gao used the harmonized Panel Study on Family Dynamics 2006, 2011, and 2013/14 data to examine poverty patterns and compare the role of social safety nets in alleviating poverty across Taiwan and southeast (SE) China.

The study has four main findings. First, the extent of poverty increased faster in rural areas and among migrants in SE China than in Taiwan and urban SE China, suggesting widening regional inequality. Second, social safety nets reduced poverty in all locations, and the reductions increased over time to a greater extent in rural areas and among migrants in SE China. Third, social safety nets in SE China lagged behind Taiwan’s on participation rates in the elder, disability, and education assistance and led in low-income aid. Finally, Taiwan’s safety net did not alleviate poverty to a greater extent than SE China’s despite that Taiwan’s more generous welfare policy.

In their discussion of policy implications, the authors called for greater redistributional policies to enhance the strengths of social safety nets. They also advocated for more research that delves deeper into the complexities of poverty risks and the role of various social safety net programs from a comparative lens.

Read the Article: How effective are social safety net programs in reducing poverty risks? A comparative study of Taiwan and Southeast China

Columbia Affiliations
China Center for Social Policy