Weathering the Storm: Poverty and Indonesia’s Social Protection System Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Weathering the Storm: Poverty and Indonesia’s Social Protection System Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, October 29, 2020
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Via Zoom Webinar.

  • Sudarno Sumarto

This event is part of the Asia Health Policy Program (AHPP) 2020-21 Colloquium series "Health, medicine, and longevity: Exploring public and private roles"

Co-sponsored by the Asia Health Policy Program and the Southeast Asia Program

Jakarta time: Friday, October 30, 2020, 7:30am - 9:00am

Apart from the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis (AFC), the current COVID-19 economic crisis is Indonesia’s most serious economic calamity in half a century with adverse impact. In March 2020, Indonesia’s poverty rate increased from 9.41% to 9.78% year on year, the equivalent of 1.28 million new people entering poverty.  By the end of 2020, it is expected that poverty rates will increase above 10%, wiping out two years of Indonesia’s poverty alleviation achievements. Social protection is key for crisis recovery. Indonesia’s social protection system has continually become stronger since the AFC. Over the past two decades, Indonesia has significantly expanded its social protection programs and coverage buttressed by a robust social registry that covers the poorest 40% of the population. The COVID-19 crisis is pushing the system to its limits. Insufficient data on Indonesians vulnerable to falling into poverty (and above the poorest 40%), coupled with response programs with complicated delivery and eligibility mechanisms, has made it challenging to deliver response-focused social protection. Dr. Sumarto will discuss whether the current social protection system is strong enough to weather the storm, especially to protect those working in the informal sector and marginal groups. Today, Indonesian policymakers have the choice to keep on following the same path and continue investing on the same social protection system, or take a radical move to reform it and make it better equipped to face future challenges.

Sudarno Sumarto 102920
Sudarno Sumarto is an economist specializing in poverty reduction, social protection, labor, health, education and political economy of public policy implementation. Before joining the TNP2K, he was previously a visiting scholar at the Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center (APARC) at Stanford University as well as Founder and Executive Director of The SMERU Research Institute. Well-versed in leading large-scale research projects, Sudarno also provides intellectual leadership to Indonesia’s RISE country team. His research has been widely published in high-impact journals such as the Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Development Economics, and World Bank Economic Review, and has extensively contributed to policy-making by the Government of Indonesia. Sudarno earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in economics from Vanderbilt University.