[TimorLesteStudies] New articles

Michael Leach mleach at swin.edu.au
Tue Apr 1 15:20:06 EST 2014

Pamela Dale, Lena Lepuschuetz and Nithin Umapathi Peace. 2014. 'Prosperity and Safety Nets in Timor-Leste: Competing Priorities or Complementary Investments?' Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies


Social protection cash transfers are a vital policy instrument in tackling poverty, and provide an affordable, broad-based foundation for inclusive growth and social stability. Yet, international experience has shown that many countries have too many programs, but with coverage gaps and fragmented benefits which leave significant proportions of the population without adequate poverty relief or improved economic security. Here, we examine the design and poverty impact of the primary cash transfer programs in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste using nationally representative survey data. We find that though Timor-Leste's level of social protection expenditure is high by international standards, the overall poverty impact is incommensurate with spending levels. This is explained by the proportion of expenditure devoted to transfers to veterans, the large proportion of the poor population which is not reached by the current targeting mechanisms, and the small coverage and benefit level of the only program that explicitly targets poor households.

Barma, N. H. 2014. 'The Rentier State at Work: Comparative Experiences of the Resource Curse in East Asia and the Pacific'. Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies.

Countries rich in natural resources do not all experience the resource curse in the same way. The rentier state logic holds that the main political–economic impacts of resource dependence rest on how the state handles windfall resource rents. I differentiate how countries experience the resource curse by disaggregating the rentier effect into how governments generate and distribute resource rents. A simple typology of variation in rentier state experiences explains how the overall credibility of intertemporal commitment and degree of political inclusiveness in a country determine its distinct experience of the resource curse. Four brief country cases—comparing the micro political economy of natural resource governance in Laos, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, and Timor-Leste—illustrate how intertemporal credibility and political inclusiveness affect patterns of resource rent generation and rent distribution. Different countries experience the resource curse in different ways, with implications for policy attempts at mitigation.

Associate Professor Michael Leach
Chair, Department of Education and Social Sciences
Faculty of Health, Arts and Design
Swinburne University of Technology
H98, PO Box 218 Hawthorn VIC
Phone: +61 3 9214 5357

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