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Grants Support Social Policy Research in Korea and China

11 Feb 2011



UNRISD has received two significant grants in support of research related to Social Policies for Inclusive Development. This is one of the themes framing the Institute’s new research agenda for 2011-2014.

The first grant comes from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), founded in 1991. This project will explore the development path taken by the Republic of Korea, identifying relevant lessons from this experience for today’s developing countries. The research will feed into the Korean government’s preparations for the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, to be held in Korea in late 2011. When the country joined the OECD Development Assistance Committee in 2010, it officially transitioned from aid recipient to aid donor.

On its path to development Korea has adopted heterodox policies that reflected national conditions, rather than fully embracing market-conforming prescriptions. The research will explore how foreign aid and non-aid policies, on the one hand, and Korea’s national development policies, on the other, have interacted to achieve development across the economic, social and political spheres, and the reduction of poverty and inequality. A range of factors behind the country’s success will be addressed, including human capital investment, quality of life improvement, economic growth and political democratization. While recognizing that each country’s development experience is unique in terms of timing and context, the research should uncover policy lessons applicable to both donor and recipient countries.

UNRISD Research Coordinator Ilcheong Yi will lead this project, which began in January 2011 and will run for two years. Expected outputs include a set of case studies, which will be disseminated through a virtual library and edited volume, policy dialogues and a conference.

The second grant, from the China Medical Board, will support a joint project between UNRISD and the Centre for Migrant Health Policy (CMHP) at Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) in Guangzhou. The project addresses neglected issues related to migration and health in China, and will contribute to UNRISD’s ongoing comparative research on migration and social policy.

Over the last three decades, China has witnessed the largest internal migration in history. Approximately 230 million rural inhabitants have moved, whether temporarily or permanently, to cities in search of employment and livelihood. The implications for the health of the population and for the health care system are staggering. Issues of concern include the health of migrants; the health and care of populations left behind; changing disease patterns and their transmission; and the distribution of economic and social costs in addressing the burden of ill-health. Relatively little is known about these issues and the links between them. Consequently, policy making has not taken them into account.

UNRISD Director Sarah Cook will collaborate with Professors Li Ling and Wenhua Ling of SYSU’s School of Public Health on this project. A multidisciplinary team including social scientists, epidemiologists and public health experts from China and the international research community will examine key issues related to migration and health from these diverse perspectives. Expected outputs include a set of conceptual and empirical papers, presented through workshops and policy dialogues, which will fill a major gap in our current knowledge and lay the ground work for further in-depth inquiry. The project runs from January 2011 for two years.