The State of Shared Prosperity in the Philippines
88 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2016 Last revised: 29 Aug 2016
Date Written: July 22, 2016
The Philippines is now one of the best-performing economies in the world. The country’s macroeconomic environment is characterized by strong growth, low and stable inflation, a steady fiscal position, healthy current account surpluses, strong foreign direct investment, and abundant international reserves. The economy has proven to be resilient to external shocks and appears to be poised for takeoff. At present, the drivers of growth are, in terms of expenditures, private consumption and, on the supply side, the services sector. There are still underserved markets, and the benefits of recent economic successes are yet to be broadly felt. Shared prosperity is an alternative to the lingering obsession with economic growth alone, especially in relation to national competitiveness. Shared prosperity implies rising standards of living for all citizens. We assess the state of shared prosperity in the country based on trends in poverty reduction, income growth and distribution, and decent and productive employment. One in four Filipinos is still poor. Four in ten are trapped in a vicious cycle, vulnerable to external shocks and slipping in and out of poverty as a result. The unemployment rate had reached a record-low, but in-work poverty and vulnerable employment are prevalent. Conflicts and calamities present recurring setbacks to economic and social progress in affected areas. Market and institutional barriers must be overcome to facilitate full participation of the citizenry, across geographic regions, regardless of urban-rural divides, and including women and the youth, in the creation and equitable sharing of wealth and value.
Keywords: shared prosperity, inequality, working poverty, employment, competitiveness
JEL Classification: D63, E24, I32, J21, O15
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