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Equity, Growth and Insurrection: Liberalization and the Welfare Debate in Contemporary Sri Lanka

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  • David Dunham
  • Sisira Jayasuriya

Abstract

Protagonists in the 1980s' debate on equity and growth in Sri Lanka claimed to show that economic liberalization could deliver growth without jeopardizing equity, and the main lesson that they drew from the Sri Lankan experience - that welfarism should be abandoned - helped to reinforce neoliberal policy reforms of the Washington institutions. This paper shows that their conclusions were heavily dependent on the time frame employed and on the concept of welfare and inequality that was utilized, and that they seriously underestimated the importance of state welfare expenditure in buying social peace. Perceived relative inequality is seen to have increased remarkably, perceptions magnifying objective changes in distribution that coincided with the withdrawal of public support systems.

Suggested Citation

  • David Dunham & Sisira Jayasuriya, 2000. "Equity, Growth and Insurrection: Liberalization and the Welfare Debate in Contemporary Sri Lanka," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 97-110.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:28:y:2000:i:1:p:97-110
    DOI: 10.1080/713688305
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    Cited by:

    1. Thankom Arun & Vani Borooah & Shoba Arun, 2013. "Earnings inequality in sri lanka," Journal of Developing Areas, Tennessee State University, College of Business, vol. 47(1), pages 355-371, January-J.
    2. Ramani Gunatilaka & Duangkamon Chotikapanich, 2006. "Inequality Trends and Determinants in Sri Lanka 1980-2002: A Shapley Approach to Decomposition," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 6/06, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
    3. Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan & Kurukulasuriya, Pradeep, 2002. "Ethnic and gender wagedisparities in Sri Lanka," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2859, The World Bank.
    4. Ramani Gunatilaka & Duangkamon Chotikapanich, 2009. "Accounting For Sri Lanka'S Expenditure Inequality 1980-2002: Regression-Based Decomposition Approaches," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(4), pages 882-906, December.
    5. Thankom Arun & Vani K. Borooah, 2011. "The Gender impact in Earnings Inequality: Evidence from Sri Lanka," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 4(2), pages 71-80, August.
    6. Rajesh Venugopal, "undated". "The Global Dimensions of Conflict in Sri Lanka," QEH Working Papers qehwps99, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    7. Yiping Huang & Jian Chang & Prema-Chandra Athukorala & Sisira Jayasuriya, 2013. "Economic Policy Shifts in Sri Lanka: The Post-Conflict Development Challenge," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 12(2), pages 1-28, Summer.

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