Mr. Ravi Balakrishnan, Mr. Chad Steinberg, and Mr. Murtaza H Syed
This paper assesses how pro-poor and inclusive Asia’s recent growth has been, and what factors have been driving these outcomes. It finds that while poverty has fallen across the region over the last two decades, inequality has increased, dampening the impact of growth on poverty reduction. As a result, relative to other emerging and developing regions and to Asia’s own past, the recent period of growth has been both less inclusive and less pro-poor. Our analysis suggests a number of policies that could help redress these trends and broaden the benefits of growth in Asia. These include fiscal policies to increase spending on health, education, and social safetynets; labor market reforms to boost the labor share of total income; and reforms to make financial systems more inclusive.
Unemployment has remained high in the Philippines, at almost twice the level of neighboring countries, despite relatively fast employment growth in the past decade. Employment growth was not sufficient to reduce unemployment because of rapid population growth and increased labor force participation. This paper shows that Philippine employment growth and unemployment declines were positively correlated with real GDP growth and, to a lesser extent, negatively with the real minimum wage. The key policy implications are that higher economic growth and moderation of increases in the real minimum wage are required to reduce unemployment.