From rice bowl to safety net: Insecurity and social protection during China's transition

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Alongside economic growth, inequality and insecurity have increased rapidly in China. Groups formerly excluded from the security of the 'iron rice bowl' are now excluded from new forms of social assistance, often designed to compensate those losing livelihood guarantees. There is thus a need for new safety-net measures, both to assist the most vulnerable and least secure members of society throughout the transition, and to enhance their longer-term security. This article argues that compensatory arrangements can be effective only alongside a complementary set of social protection policies including increased investment in human resources. Better-designed interventions could strengthen rather than undermine existing informal safety nets, and allow an expanded role for non-governmental organisations in social protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-635
Number of pages21
JournalDevelopment Policy Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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