Children's Social Welfare in China
Fundamental changes in China’s finance system for social services have\r\ndecentralized responsibilities for provision to lower levels of government and\r\nincreased costs to individuals. The more localized, market-oriented approaches to\r\nsocial service provision, together with rising economic inequalities, raise questions\r\nabout access to social services among China’s children. With a multivariate analysis\r\nof three waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey (1989, 1993 and 1997), this\r\narticle investigates two dimensions of children’s social welfare: health care, operationalized\r\nas access to health insurance, and education, operationalized as enrolment\r\nin and progress through school. Three main results emerge. First, analyses do not\r\nsuggest an across-the-board decline in access to these child welfare services during\r\nthe period under consideration. Overall, insurance rates, enrolment rates and gradefor-\r\nage attainment improved. Secondly, while results underscore the considerable\r\ndisadvantages in insurance and education experienced by poorer children in each\r\nwave of the survey, there is no evidence that household socio-economic disparities\r\nsystematically widened. Finally, findings suggest that community resources conditioned\r\nthe provision of social services, and that dimensions of community level of\r\ndevelopment and capacity to finance public welfare increasingly mattered for some\r\nsocial services.
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