Abstracts & Papers in Stream 2

The economic reform started in the late 1970s has significantly transformed the economy and society in China. After more than three decades of economic reforms, people living in the coastal areas or in major Chinese cities have enjoyed very high living standard. Nonetheless, the same process of economic restructuring has also resulted in intensified social inequality and income disparity in Mainland China. In view of the growing regional disparity and widening gap between the rich and the poor, the idea of harmonious society was introduced as China's millennium policy goal in the context of intensified social conflicts and the rise of various kinds of social problems. Since 2004, public policy in China has begun to experience significant transformation from primarily taking an economic policy orientation to a social policy orientation. Realizing adverse social consequences resulting from the rapid economic growth might lead to social instability and political turmoil, the Chinese government has made attempts to reverse the tide of excessive marketization of social policy and social welfare in order to address people's changing social needs and welfare demands. This paper sets out in the above policy context to examine how the Chinese government has tried to transform its social policy model by bridging the gap between public finance and social policy delivery. This article argues that China's public expenditure should be correspondingly restructured, particularly allocating more public resources to social policy areas such as education, healthcare and social security. Without reforming public finance arrangements in China, the promotion of the harmonious society would end in empty slogan. More specifically, this paper argues the necessity to restructure China's public expenditure in order to turn the recent paradigm shift towards a more 'people-oriented' social policy and welfare approach into reality to address rapid socio-economic changes in China.

Full paper download: Mok K_gap between public finance and social policy.pdf

Living Arrangement and the Well-being of the Elderly in Taiwan

Taiwan became an aging society in 1993. However, the aging rates will be rapidly increasing due to low fertility rates and aging of baby boomers in the near future. Near 40 percent of population will be over 65 years old in 2050 in Taiwan by projection. This paper discussed the trend of population aging in Taiwan and the changes in the living arrangement of the elderly. By using Surveys of Family Income and Expenditure (SFIE) data, we examined not only the living arrangement of the elderly in the recent two decades, but the economic situations of these families. The findings revealed that the government had increased the amount of transfer in recent years, even though the poverty rates of the elderly remained relatively high. We would like to call the attention of the changes in living arrangement as one of the substantial factors that affected the economic security of the elderly.

Full paper download: Hsueh J_living arrangement and well-being.pdf