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Social spending and democratic institutions in Southeast Asia: A comparative study between Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines

Fadillah Putra (Faculty of Administrative Science and Postgraduate Program, Brawijaya University, Malang, Indonesia)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Article publication date: 20 September 2019

Issue publication date: 20 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse how democratic institutions affects social spending formations in the context of developing countries. Furthermore, this essay will also challenge the theory that the government system (majoritarian versus consensus democracy) influences the magnitude of social spending and welfare commitment, especially in Southeast Asian democracies, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Design/methodology/approach

This research uses descriptive statistics and qualitative data to match social spending with the development of democratisation in four cases.

Findings

The main argument is whether the presence of democratic institutions encourages the government to be more open, citizen-oriented and responsive or whether the inclusive political conditions will create more open public participation in the policymaking process. Thus, in the context of developing countries, public participation will be more likely to demand social policies.

Research limitations/implications

It has not been able to undertake a more detailed impact evaluation assessment of the development and change of democratic institutions towards policy outcomes within a shorter temporal scope. In addition, this thesis does not also provide details or explanations about the interaction process between particular democratic institutions and specific social policy sectors.

Practical implications

The process of interactions between particular electoral systems. For instance, the contribution to the emergence of policy in the health services sector or conducting research in normative democratic institutions such as public awareness of the importance of public participation in shaping and directing the implementation of poverty reduction policies could be studied, by using the historical institutionalism approach.

Originality/value

The impact of certain political institutions on public policy has become a very important discussion in the new institutionalism perspective. Social policy (social spending) as a manifestation of government’s commitment towards welfare is the result of institutional arrangement. In the context of developing countries, where social policy is needed to fulfill the basic needs of citizens, it is important to identify what kind of institutional formations are conducive to the development of social policy. This essay will analyse how democratic institutions affects social spending formations in the context of developing countries.

Keywords

Citation

Putra, F. (2019), "Social spending and democratic institutions in Southeast Asia: A comparative study between Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 381-395. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDI-12-2018-0210

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited