Everyone's miracle?: revisiting poverty and inequality in by Vinod Ahuja

By Vinod Ahuja

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Similarly, access to education expanded, with China and Indonesia reportedly joining Korea and the Philippines in achieving universal primary net enrollment. In all four countries, as well as in Malaysia, secondary net enrollment also expanded beyond 50 percent of children in the eligible age group. Cross-country disparities are evident in these indicators, however. While in 1993 around 1 in every 100 Malaysian or Korean live births led to death in the first year of the child's life, in Lao PDR the rate was almost 10 in every 100.

This study revisits poverty and inequality in East Asia and the Pacific, guided by two fundamental concerns. First, poverty remains a problem in the region. Although poverty has essentially been eradicated in the four "tiger" economiesHong Kong (China), the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan (China)about a third of the world's poor still live in East Asia. Most of the region's poor are in countries that have not received sufficient attention, including in The East Asian MiracleCambodia, China, Lao PDR, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Vietnam (as well as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Myanmar, for which we have little data).

In 1957 Malays had substantially lower educational levels than Indians and Chinese. Even for the youngest age cohort of males (15-19 years), 32 percent of Chinese had post-primary education (more than six years of education), compared with 23 percent of Malays. For older age cohorts the differences were more pronounced. By 1984 this had changed dramatically. For the two youngest cohorts of males Malays had slightly higher percentages with post-primary education than Indians or Chinese. A similar picture arises for females, who have effectively caught up with males over the period.

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