Also, new policy directions such as active labour policies, pension cuts and increasing family benefits have been initiated in some European countries since the 1990s (Bonoli and Natali 2012; Hemerijck 2013). Recent policy changes seem to suggest that the current Singaporean welfare state is searching for a balance between ‘productivist’ and ‘protective’ welfare regimes. Please enable scripts and reload this page. Singapore: Social Welfare Department. In a small city- state with no natural resources, the Singapore government has always feared that the What was most critical in the 2011 election was the loss of key ministers (in Aljunied Group Representation Constituency). In 2015, Singapore ranked first among 72 countries in the PISA test (OECD 2016). The MediShield policy is for patients utilizing ward classes B2 and C. The number of enrollees for MediShield was over 3.5 million in 2014. Subsidy rates vary with ward classes. Political separation led to the British withdrawal of armed forces in 1970 (this step was not linked to the separation, but its timing came soon after the separation in 1965). Given the rationales of political survival and economic growth strategy, the amount of social protection expenditure, including assistance for unemployment, social insurances and direct health expenditure of the government, is limited. Public housing policy is another important social policy in Singapore. Importantly, these welfare regimes are contextual and configured by historical, economic, political and social conditions. For example, the ownership rate in Hong Kong was only about 51 per cent in 2014.33 See http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp150.jsp?tableID=005&ID=0&productType=8 (accessed 30 July 2016). The Korean welfare state: A paradox of expansion in an era of globalisation and economic crisis, Governance and economic change in Singapore, The Monetary and Banking Development of Singapore and Malaysia, Social Policy in Post‐industrial Singapore, Social challenges in Singapore's healthcare system, Fifty years of development in the Singapore economy: An introductory review, Unequal Gains: American Growth and Inequality since 1700, How Singapore's central provident fund fares in social security and social policy, The Political Economy of a City‐state Revisited, Coping through reproducing state ideology: Working poor families in Singapore, Social Policy and Poverty in East Asia: The Role of Social Security, Ministerial Committee on Low Wage Workers, Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports (MCYS), Being poor in a rich ‘nanny state’: Developments in Singapore social welfare, Organisation for Economic Co‐operation and Development (OECD), Labor, productivity and Singapore's development model, Manufacturing human resources: The role of the social investment state, Reagan, Thatcher and the Politics of Retrenchment, American exceptionalism and the welfare state: The revisionist literature, Welfare Capitalism in Southeast Asia: Social Security, Health, and Education Policies in Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, Convergence with a twist: East Asian welfare capitalism in comparative perspective, Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism, Interrogating the limits of welfare reforms in Singapore, Social policy issues in a post‐industrial society, East Asian Welfare State Regimes in Transition: From Confucianism to Globalization, Singapore's demographic transition, the labor force and government policies: The last fifty years. Please call the police at 999 immediately if the child's life is in danger. Following Esping‐Andersen (1990), rather than focusing on ‘more’ or ‘less’ social expenditure, this study reviews institutional arrangements, the role of the state and the rationale of the Singaporean welfare state. In particular, the dimension of the ‘productivist’ welfare regime in Singapore with a small government size may be understood through political logic combined with an export‐oriented economic growth strategy. You can report suspected social welfare fraud anonymously by completing this form. Fast and free shipping free returns cash on delivery available on eligible purchase. The emergence of working poor families now is an issue to be addressed (Mathew and Ng 2016). The PAP sought to win back the voting population to the view that a one‐party dominant system was the way for Singapore to go, as only through a PAP government could productivity be sustained in the long run. Individual and household savings in the CPF can be used to finance health expenditure. The 20 per cent increase in wages for these workers is higher than the 16 per cent average wage income for all workers in Singapore in the same period.1111 Straits Times, 19 June 2016. For example, in the Lisbon strategy drafted by the EU, human capital, innovation and development have been highlighted as the focus of social and economic policies in Europe, which is different from the traditional focus on social protection (European Council 2000). Moreover, the recent literature on the welfare state in the USA highlights the role of ‘tax expenditure’ (i.e. 35-cent lunch is a reality. From a recent survey, it was found that over 80 per cent resided in public housing, and 90 per cent of public housing residents owned their houses in 2015 (Department of Statistics and Ministry of Trade & Industry 2016), compared to approximately 29.4 per cent in the 1970s (Chia 2015a). Korea, Japan, Republic of China [henceforth, Taiwan], and Hong Kong SAR [henceforth, Hong Kong]), the economic development in Singapore has reached the level of high‐income countries. The Singapore Malay National Organisation ( PKMS , short for Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Singapura in ; : 新加坡马来民族机构) is a political party in . Also, supports from family are not as strong as before with ageing and changes of family structure (e.g. In particular, a majority of foreign‐owned firms hired more than 59 per cent of workers in the manufacturing sector in 1990 (Huff 1994). In addition, the government co‐funded 40 per cent of wage increases for Singaporean employees between 2013 and 2015 under the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) for workers earning up to the gross monthly wage of $ 4,000. Health financing is another concern. This is a list of social service agencies (SSA) in Singapore.. In particular, the Workfare Income Scheme (WIS), initiated in 2007, aims ‘… to prepare for long term retirement needs’ (Ministerial Committee on Low Wage Workers 2009). baby bonus, subsidies for childcare, job placement services, cash grants, etc.) East Asian welfare regimes are generally marked by segmented and underdeveloped welfare programmes (Midgley and Tang 2009). Include as much detail as possible. However, no redistribution through the fiscal system was permitted if it entailed the government going into monetary debt. Moreover, it is a compulsory saving scheme to which both employers and employees contribute. Third, government regulations are released to protect low‐income workers financially, and the government also provides a subsidy for low‐income workers. the 2011 General Election is considered a ‘watershed’ election because of the number of seats that the opposition won (five) and the proportion of persons voting for the first time (about two‐thirds). It is within this context, first, of political independence and self‐defence and, second, of fully backed currency issue, that the context of social policies in Singapore can be best explained. At present, the government spends approximately 20 per cent of its budget on education (figure 2). generous welfare and high tax rates had to be avoided. First, workfare programmes have been implemented for the employed. This forms the crux of the government’s “Many Helping Hands” social policy where the role of the family and immediate community in welfare provision is emphasized over government-funded programs. (1946, June 28). Active labour policies, such as workfare and training programmes, have been recently initiated to increase labour participation and promote worker skills. In comparison with MediShield, the newly initiated MediShield Life provides a more generous coverage and a lower co‐payment (table 2). Public housing is a significant social and economic policy for two reasons. Three sets of major initiatives have been established recently. CPF) has been implemented to finance social expenditure. In 2015, the contribution rates to Medisave increased to 8 per cent and 10.5 per cent, respectively, for these two age groups (CPF Board 2016c). The social policies in Singapore, which have been designed to accommodate the political rationale and economic growth strategy in the context of economic, political and social conditions, are discussed in this article. However, recently, institutions in the welfare states of a few European countries and the USA, such as social security, employment protection and welfare financing, have been evolving to address issues including ageing, low economic growth and changes of patterns in labour market participation (Gilbert 2002; Bonoli and Natali 2012; Hemerijck 2013). In 2015, the total government expenditure accounted for approximately 17 per cent of GDP (Ministry of Finance 2016a), which is significantly lower than Organisation for Economic Co‐operation and Development (OECD) countries, as well as other East Asian developed economies (e.g. Meanwhile, the private sector also offers health insurance, and residents can buy supplementary private health insurance for additional coverage. Also, the share of single‐person households of all resident households has increased from 8.2 per cent in 2000 to 11.2 per cent in 2014.44 Straits Times, 1 June 2015. ... To report suspected child abuse, please visit this page. Persons with disabilities can get subsidies to acquire, replace, upgrade or repair necessary assistive technology equipment and accessories (e.g. In 1980, among all employees aged 15 and over, 20 per cent of male employees and 13.9 per cent of female employees were professional, managerial and technical workers. It need not have adopted that system, but it chose to do so as Singapore was already a regional financial centre in 1965 and foreigners may not otherwise have placed confidence in it. For example, according to a recent and frequently cited study, a high degree of globalization not only increases the unemployment rate, but also increases the expenditures and transfers of social programmes, including social assistances and health insurances in the USA (David et al. Higher coverage for both outpatient and inpatients is provided under the Pioneer Generation Package. Downloadable! 2013). 1999 ranks … In addition, a relatively small government with low tax rate in favour of firms/investors is feasible under these policies. The ‘arrangements between state, market and family’ for welfare provision (Esping‐Andersen 1990: 26), as well as quality of social rights and social stratification (Esping‐Andersen 1990: 29), are different across countries. Inward foreign direct investment reached 160 per cent of GDP between 2005 and 2007 (Chia 2015b). The CPF accounted for 17–27 per cent of the gross national saving between 1974 and 1985 (Huff 1994). However, the Singaporean welfare state is different from other cases in the East Asian welfare regime. Workfare was claimed as the fourth pillar of Singapore's social security system, along with the CPF for retirement, the 3Ms (Medisave, MediShield and Medifund) for healthcare, and HDB subsidized housing (Poh 2007). Social policy in Singapore retains its fundamentally productivist philosophical orientation, but the recent deterioration in poverty, inequality and mobility trends is leading to adoption of more welfare-oriented and universalist policy solutions. The monthly payout now varies from S$660–720 for the basic plan and S$1,220–1,920 for other plans (CPF Board 2016b). As the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long made it explicit in his 2013 National Day Rally speech, ‘Today, the situation has changed. This research contributes to the literature by interpreting the welfare regime in Singapore from a broad and dynamic political and economic context. By compelling Singaporeans to save, welfare in Singapore has traditionally been internalized first to the individual and the family/grassroots level. Governments may use a wide range of policy instruments or programmes to achieve their policy targets. Rather, individual responsibility for retirement, housing, education and healthcare is highlighted, and a compulsory saving scheme (i.e. The HDB provides higher grants for low‐income families and offers mortgage loans for first‐ and second‐time buyers. This policy accommodated the demand of the labour force due to the expansion of manufacturing sectors at that time (Pereira 2008). Initiated in the early 2000s, ElderShield offers a basic financial protection to the elderly needing long‐term care. In addition, the monthly mortgage can also be paid from the CPF Ordinary account (CPF Board 2017). In addition, the CPF is more than a compulsory saving scheme in the Singaporean welfare state, it is a critical part of many social policies (Lian 2008; Lim et al. we provide to the elderly, people with disabilities, low-income families, parents, etc. From a recent report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), social protection expenditure (i.e. First, ageing and a low fertility rate have become serious issues. See http://www.pmo.gov.sg/newsroom/prime‐minister‐lee‐hsien‐loongs‐national‐day‐rally‐2013‐english (accessed 5 July 2017). From a recent report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), social protection expenditure (i.e. For example, the functional equivalences (e.g. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Given the decelerating productivity growth, the annual growth rate of real wage was slow in the 2000s (i.e. Subsequently, major components of the Singaporean welfare state are discussed. For example, the Progressive Wage Model requires a minimum wage for low‐income workers in some sectors (e.g. By Lorenz Dominance social welfare in Singapore during 1999 is less than in 1991 while unambiguous conclusion cannot be made on the welfare ranking of 1982 and 1991 or of 1982 and 1999.  The government took up the recommendation and appointed a committee to work on the details of the survey that would dovetail with a population … The report is divided into nine sections as follows: Section A provides details of expenditure. With higher income inequality, low‐ and middle‐income groups are vulnerable to adverse shocks. The annual productivity growth (total factor productivity) decreased from 2 per cent in the 1980s to 0.5 per cent between 2000 and 2008 (Pang and Lim 2015). Early Childhood and Development Agency; Councils under MSF Such rhetoric has inadvertently ‘hidden’ a nuanced social welfare history of Singapore, one that has imperial and global origins but was also fundamentally shaped by local circumstances. Furthermore, limited assistance for the unemployed has been provided in order to encourage labour participation (Schmidt 2008). Established in 1992 by our late founder, Venerable Yen Pei, Green Haven remains as the only Buddhist halfway house in Singapore. Conversely, in a broad perspective, a welfare state is considered to be a political economy concept that involves a complex system, including the state and the economy, as well as social policies (Esping‐Andersen 1990). SkillsFuture, initiated in 2015, is another scheme for all Singaporeans to upgrade their skills, whether or not they have a job. Therefore, Singapores social safety net has been anchored on social development to enable citizens to help themselves. To study the changes and dominance, both ordinal and cardinal measures are used. The Singapore currency board which issued the new Singapore dollar was bound not to issue currency except against foreign currency: in other words, the Singapore dollar was to be fully backed at all times by foreign reserves (Lee 1990: Chapter 2). The Malayan dollar was replaced in Malaysia in 1967 by the Malaysian ringgit, which was issued by the Central Bank of Malaysia and not by a Malaysian currency board. Social and public assistance (e.g. The ensuing paragraphs give an account of the circumstantial factors, current situation and development trends of social welfare in Hong It recognizes that we all have responsibilities to our families and to the community that sustains us' (MCYS 2010). After a brief discussion on the Singaporean welfare state and related literature, the key rationale behind the Singaporean welfare state is proposed. In 1990 and 2003, the ratios of tax revenue and GDP were 15.5 per cent and 12.6 per cent, respectively (Low 2006). However, many of these conditions now are changing. Singapore has made outstanding achievements in social development with a relatively small government social expenditure. health, workfare) have been adjusted to these changes. Arguments in this article regarding the Singaporean welfare state are consistent with the recent literature, in which the dynamics and dimensions of welfare states are essentially more complicated than that originally considered in the research of Esping‐Andersen (1990). Given the concern for political survival, the economic rationale plays a pivotal role in social policy‐making in Singapore. Singapore usually takes issue with social risk pooling in the mature European welfare states, of which unemployment benefits, nationalised health care, and pay-as-you-go public pensions are prime examples. Enter your email address below and we will send you your username, If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username, I have read and accept the Wiley Online Library Terms and Conditions of Use, Singapore's policy responses to ageing, inequality, and poverty: An assessment, The Social Protection Index: Assessing the Results for Asia and the Pacific, Employment‐based social protection in Singapore: Issues and prospects, Adding a basic pillar to the Central Provident Fund system: An actuarial analysis, Globalization and regionalization: Singapore's trade and FDI, Welfare developmentalism in Singapore and Malaysia, Transforming the Developmental Welfare State in East Asia, Changing welfare regimes in East and Southeast Asia: Crisis, change and challenge, The China syndrome: Local market effects of import competition in the United States, Department of Statistics and Ministry of Trade & Industry, Transformation of the Welfare State: The Silent Surrender of Public Responsibility, Productivist welfare capitalism: Social policy in East Asia, The Economic Growth of Singapore: Trade and Development in the Twentieth Century, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), Equality, employment, and budgetary restraint: The trilemma of the service economy, The Pacific challenge: Confucian welfare states, New Perspectives on the Welfare State in Europe, Developments in East Asian welfare studies. The Singapore government has always been quite prudent and mindful of the potentially corrosive effects of welfare in designing it social policies. In the literature, the Singaporean welfare belongs to the East Asian Welfare regime – a ‘productivist’ welfare state (Holliday 2000), in which human capital investment is supposedly the main focus of social expenditures. This article examines social security and housing policies in Singapore and shows how both were an integral part of a wider commitment to promote economic development. 1st and 10th percentile) has increased from 15.96 in 1997 to 23.68 in 2015 (Department of Statistics, various years a). 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In 2015, Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita amounted to approximately US$52,000 compared with US$32,400 in Japan and US$27,200 in Korea. For example, from a household survey in 2013, financial support from children is one of the major financial sources for over 67 per cent of the elderly (aged 65 or over) in Singapore (HDB 2014). The government also directly subsidizes public hospitals. In addition, the rationale of self‐reliance and family support, social policies and economic growth strategy, are interdependent.