Developing and transition economies are prone to financial crises, including balance of payments and banking crises. These crises affect poverty and the distribution of income through a variety of channels: slowdowns in economic activity, relative price changes, and fiscal retrenchment, among others. This paper deals with the impact of financial crises on the incidence of poverty and income distribution, and discusses policy options that can be considered by governments in the aftermath of crises. Empirical evidence, based on both macro- and microlevel data, shows that financial crises are associated with an increase in poverty and, in some cases, income inequality. The provison of targeted safety nets and the protection of specific social programs from fiscal retrenchment remain the main short-term propoor policy responses to financial crises.
Marijn Verhoeven, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Gerd Schwartz, Mr. Calvin A McDonald, Željko Bogetic, and Mr. Christian Schiller
This paper presents a preliminary analysis of the likely social impact of the economic crisis and the reform programs in three Asian countries—Indonesia, Korea, and Thailand. The focus is on likely changes in real consumption expenditures arising from higher inflation and increases in unemployment. The current social policy measures adopted in the reform programs should provide significant social safety nets for the poor. However, if the social impact turns out to be larger than projected, it would be worthwhile to assess cost-effective and efficient alternatives for expanding social safety nets. The paper presents some options that could be considered.