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Social Impacts of the Asian Crisis: Policy Challenges and Lessons


  • Jong-Wha Lee and Changyong Rhee


This paper documents the social impacts of the financial crisis in Asia. We provide a general overview of the cause and the evolution of the crisis and highlight the differences as well as the similarities among the Asian countries. In particular, the impacts of the crisis on unemployment, real wage, poverty, and income inequality are analyzed using the cross-country data set, which consists of all the countries that have received financial assistance from the IMF over the period from 1973 to 1994. The stylized pattern of employment growth in previous IMF program countries indicates that employment growth is more sluggish in the recovery process compared with other macroeconomic variables. Hence, unemployment rates can remain high for a long period even after the crisis ends in the Asian countries. We also find that the crisis aggravates the poverty problem for the marginal group of the population over a significant period even though it does not bear a long-term effect on overall income distribution. Policy implications of our findings in building social safety nets in Asia are also discussed.
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  • Jong-Wha Lee and Changyong Rhee, 1999. "Social Impacts of the Asian Crisis: Policy Challenges and Lessons," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-1999-02, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Handle: RePEc:hdr:hdocpa:hdocpa-1999-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    2. James, Jeffrey, 1987. "Positional goods, conspicuous consumption and the international demonstration effect reconsidered," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 449-462, April.
    3. Congleton, Roger D., 1989. "Efficient status seeking: Externalities, and the evolution of status games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 175-190, March.
    4. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
    5. Rauscher, Michael, 1993. "Demand for social status and the dynamics of consumer behavior," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 105-113.
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    Cited by:

    1. Éric Bidet, 2003. "Corée du Sud : vers une société d'assurances sociales," Revue Tiers Monde, Programme National Persée, vol. 44(175), pages 603-620.
    2. Jong-Wha Lee & Changyong Rhee, 2002. "Macroeconomic Impacts of the Korean Financial Crisis: Comparison with the Cross-country Patterns," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 539-562, April.
    3. Gerard Postiglione, 2010. "Education Impact Study : The Global Recession and the Capacity of Colleges and Universities to Serve Vulnerable Populations in Asia," Development Economics Working Papers 22816, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    4. Kwang Soo Cheong, 1999. "Economic Crisis and Income Inequality in Korea," Working Papers 199906, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    5. Nielsen, Ingrid & Nyland, Chris & Smyth, Russell & Zhu, Cherrie, 2005. "Marketization and perceptions of social protection in China's cities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 1759-1781, November.
    6. Nahid Aslanbeigui & Gale Summerfield, 2000. "The Asian Crisis, Gender, and the International Financial Architecture," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 81-103.

    More about this item


    human development; economic growth; globalization; inequality; poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • Y8 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General


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