GIR Colloquium | Social Policy Reform in Singapore's Authoritarian Developmental State

12 October, 2017
12:00pm - 1:30pm


Singapore’s economic achievements have been widely applauded as a model worthy of emulation, particularly by authoritarian and developing economies. Yet, the city-state retains the dubious distinction of being one of the most inequitable countries in the world – in income inequality terms. Following the 2011 electoral backlash against the long-serving PAP government, numerous social policy reforms were introduced. But have these social policy reforms been effective in qualitatively addressing widening inequality?

The presentation will examine the relationship between the political and social policy dynamics underpinning Singapore’s authoritarian developmental state. The social policy orientation of Singapore’s developmental state is analysed in relation to other authoritarian and democratic developmental states in East Asia. This comparative approach provides us with the conceptual lens to understand social policy reforms within the context of an electoral authoritarian developmental state subjected to the electoral and political pressures associated with the forces of globalisation.


About the speaker:

Lily Zubaidah Rahim is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. Her books include Muslim Secular Democracy: Voices from Within (2013) and Singapore in the Malay World: Building and Breaching Regional Bridges (2009).  Her multidisciplinary research has been published in numerous international journals and book chapters. It spans governance in authoritarian states, democratisation, development, ethnicity, regionalism and political Islam. She has served as President of the Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA) and is Convenor of the Religion, State & Society (RSS) Network at the University of Sydney.

Location: Merewether Room 427, Butlin Avenue, Unviersity of Sydney