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Tang Hong

on 16 August 2013

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A Nation Catching Up with Itself:
Challenges to Redistributive Policies in Singapore
Irene Y.H. Ng

Rapid Development
Current Challenges
About Singapore
Victim of Our Own Success?
High Immigration
Public Housing Prices
Declining Fertility Rate
Impact on Low-Income
Wide & widening inequality
Wage stagnation and fluctuation
Despite high growth and government intervention
Land Area: 715.8 Sq Km
Population Density: 7,422 Per Sq Km
Wealth in Singapore
Pangaea, billed as the world's most expensive club
Homelessness and Poverty
Before 1963: A British Colony
Merger with Malaysia in 1963
1965: Separation
A Developmental Welfare Model
How We Arrived
Social Development
Open Economy
Public Housing
Attract Investments
Social Safety Net Response
Workfare Income Supplement (WIS)
Work Support Programme (WSP)
My Research
1. Work Support Program Evaluation
Research Aims:
Track the social and economic status of WSSR participants with children
Find out factors affecting programme completion and drop-out

Since 2010
Following 830 recipients at five points
3. Intergenerational Mobility
2. Poverty Attitudes
WSP Research Team
Ministry of Social and Family Development
Community Development Councils
Tang Wai Hong, Research Assistant
An Increasing Social Divide
Source: http://www.singstat.gov.sg/statistics/visualising_data/chart/Old_Age_Support_Ratio.html
Rapid Ageing
Source: Department of Statistics Singapore
Mahtani, S. (2013, March 7). Wealth Over the Edge: Singapore. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from
Source: Department of Statistics, Singapore
Yong, T., & Wong, G. K. M. (2002). Public Policies and Public Resale Housing
Prices in Singapore. International Real Estate Review, 5 no. 1, 115-132.
Housing Development Board, Singapore.
Low productivity
Hollowed-out jobs
Some Early Findings
1. Ng, I.Y.H. (2013). Multi-stressed Low-Earning Families in Contemporary Policy Context: Lessons from Work Support Recipients in Singapore. Journal of Poverty. 17(1): 86-109.
- Majority of Work Support recipients experience multiple barriers
62% had two or more, 12% had four or more.

2. “Troubled by finances and children: psychological well-being of low-income parents in Singapore.”
- lower family earnings amplified the effects of children’s difficult behavior on parents’ self-efficacy.

3. Regression Analysis of Non-economic Well-being before and after Work Support: Research Report to MSF
- Non-economic well-being decreased or unchanged at the end of WSP

Mobility and Education
Sample: 458 Singaporeans
Initial Findings:
- Low-income respondents more conservative; "sympathizers" more liberal
- Opposition party supporters most liberal
=> implications for social welfare policy in dynamic flux?
Source: http://www.singstat.gov.sg/publications/publications_and_papers/population_and_population_structure/population2012.pdf
Source: Department of Statistics, Singapore
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