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Title: Do the benefits of growth trickle-down to Georgia's poor? : a case for a strong welfare system
Author: Gugushvili , Dimitri
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 1877
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2014
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During 2004-2012 Georgia became a test-case of the neoliberal development paradigm, as President Saakashvili's government actively implemented one of the most radical neoliberal programmes. Deregulation of the economy was justified by the need to achieve rapid economic growth which was expected to trickle-down to the whole population. The growth has certainly been superior compared to preceding years; the economy grew by six per cent a year during this period while the GDP per capita almost tripled. However, progress in tackling poverty did not appear to match this economic performance. This thesis explores the impact of the neoliberal reforms on poverty in Georgia. Drawing on an official data source, the Integrated Household Survey, conducted by the Georgian statistical office on a quarterly basis, it analyses the dynamics of core welfare indicators. We find that despite some progress in a few areas, the overall welfare of Georgia's population has worsened. The most worrying development is the growth in poverty, which has increased from 18 to 26 per cent. The failure of the neoliberal model in Georgia is not surprising given both its conceptual limitations and the large volume of empirical evidence documenting its negative social effects in different parts of the world. The thesis also explores the impact of the welfare system, as it is one of the main instruments for widely spreading the benefits of growth. We find that social transfers have a considerable effect and without them poverty would reach 33 per cent. Nevertheless, the existing social protection system requires major reforms to fulfil the core objectives of a welfare state. We outline a broad framework for a particular type of welfare regime termed progressive-selective, combining universal and targeted measures geared towards ensuring a minimum level of protection for all citizens while also contributing to better economic performance through investment in human capital.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available