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Theses Doctoral

Study of Income Maintenance Policy Formation in Selected Underdeveloped Countries

Pak, Po-Hi

This is a comparative case study of income maintenance policy formation
involving six economically underdeveloped countries, i.e. Bolivia, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Ghana, Mauritius, Thailand and the United Arab Republic (now Egypt).

The major questions raised are: what are the types of income maintenance programs in the selected countries?; are there specific factors associated with the adoption of those programs? If so, what are they?; and what are the conditions, if any, under which certain factors may become active in association with the program types?

In this study, the income maintenance program was defined as a body of statutory measures designed to help assure a minimum income for selected or all sectors of population through direct transfers of cash or benefit-in-kind. The specific program components examined were food subsidies, public education, public health, demogrants, modified negative tax and public assistance in the non-occupational sector and social insurance, provident fund, corporative profit-sharing and subsidized commissary in the occupational sector.

For the purpose of cross-national analysis, four basic program types determined by the level of pertinent expenditures, the number and type of components involved, population coverage and the relative balance between occupational and non-occupational components were delineated and employed.

In addition to exploring the substantive questions, this study attempted to formulate a conceptual model which may be useful for future studies in terms of defining the problem, generating hypotheses and comparing the findings of one study with those of another.

The basic problem of the study relates to theories of choice in the social field.

The selection criteria of the study settings were: the level of economy as represented by per capita income (US $137-157 and US $209-211 brackets), the income maintenance program variation and data availability. This study covers various historical junctures of the post World War II period, usually coinciding with the life span of one government in each country. In one country only (Mauritius) a period of nearly 20 years was covered because the evolvement of the income maintenance program in that country took that long.

Of existing theories and hypotheses of public policy, the study findings generally support a political one, particularly those involving the political self-interest theory of Anthony Downs, Theodore Riker, Daniel Ellsberg and others. This, however, does not rule out the secondary or conditional significance of non-political factors such as needs, resources, economic context, demography, technical assistance, socio-cultural and institutional factors and external factors.

The overall concept of income maintenance policy determination emerging from the study findings as a whole is represented by a systems model
distinguished by politico-kinetic dynamics among all the underlying factors. In this model, the policy-making environment is envisaged as a kinetic field in which the movements of and the relationships between all underlying factors of income maintenance policies are controlled by a shifting balance of forces among political factors, such as pressure group influence, power requisites of political leadership, the leadership orientation and commitment, ideology, and so on. These political factors are conceived to change not only in their relative strengths but also in their aims or directions, and thus cause modifications in the income
maintenance program. With the changes in the controlling factors and their relationships, the non-political factors are regarded to change also in terms of their relative strengths and dispositions in relation to the political factors as well as in relation to one another, thus undergoing changes in their powers of influence upon the program. The pattern of inter-factor relationships represented in the model is regarded to hold at any given moment in time as well as over a period of time.

The conceptual model that best embodies the above dynamics among the underlying factors may appropriately be termed a politico-kinetic paradigm.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Kahn, Alfred
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 26, 2015