Monday, August 4, 2014

INCOME DISPARITY A ROADBLOCK TO INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT Rosy economic outlook must be coupled with institutional, labor market reforms

MANILA-The economic gains in the 5th State of the Nation Address by President Benigno Aquino III must be coupled with reforms that will promote inclusive, broad-based development. This includes reforms to even out the rural-urban wage gap, which remains a barrier to many sectors of the population from enjoying the fruits of economic reform.

In his penultimate SONA, President Aquino touted the upgrade in the country’s investment grade rating, saying the country is now more open to business. He also emphasized the improved revenue collection efforts and said the country’s debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio went down, and thus funds for interests went to social services.
Experts note, however, that the Philippines’ overall ratio of rural-urban wage gap at 67 percent has remained constant over the last decade. Differences in labor policies between commercial industries and rural labor reinforce the disparity.

Such income disparity has brought about social inequalities between the rural and urban populations. Reversing this pattern of uneven development requires initiating policies and institutional reforms.

Within this context, the Angara Centre for Law and Economics presents the second roundtable discussion of the Andrew Tan Lecture Series on the topic “Promoting Inclusive Growth: Identifying Opportunities for Focused Reform” on 20 August 2014, Wednesday, at the Malcolm Hall, College of Law, University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

This lecture is part of a joint study undertaken by the Angara Centre with the World Bank to identify the areas of persistent underperformance and inequality in the Philippines.

Among the questions the roundtable will center on are: 1) What is the extent of disparity between regions? 2)What is the response of labor markets? and 3) How do political institutions limit reform and distort the outcome of economic policies?

Teams of economists and leading researchers from the Philippines and abroad will present their study and recommend actionable policy initiatives. Leading this lecture are Dr. James Robinson of Harvard University, Dr. Pablo Querubin of New York University and Dr. John C. Nye, Frederic Bastiat Chair in Political Economy at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University and Research Director at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.

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