Resource Social policies in Suriname
Type Journal (article)
Last update: 31/03/2019
Type: Journal (article)
Language English
Year of publication: 2001
Citation: Article in
Authors: Geske Dijkstra, Niek de Jong and Rob Vos
Target countries: Suriname
Summary The report analyses social policies in Suriname, with a view to identifying their strengths and weaknesses and to suggest improvements to these policies.
In general, social policies have two objectives. One is to foster human development, in particular by raising educational levels and health standards; the other is to prevent people from falling below a minimum standard of living.
The long-run growth and development perspectives of a country depend to a large extent on its levels of human development. Policies towards the so-called social sectors should enhance the levels of education and skills, and improve health conditions in a country. The second objective of social policies is important for fostering the short-run well being of a country’s population. These social safety net or social welfare policies address poverty and poverty risks in the short term, but also have longer-term consequences, especially in so far as children’s welfare is concerned.
With respect to social service delivery policies, three issues are important: effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Social service delivery should of course be effective and efficient. That is, it should lead to an well-educated and healthy labour force and it should do so at the lowest possible cost. In addition, access of the poor to these services should be guaranteed. Equity in social services delivery implies both horizontal and vertical equity. Horizontal equity means that all persons must have equal access to services, especially at the basic level. Vertical equity is about the financing of these services which should be according to ability to pay. For the sake of equity, the government usually plays an important role in the provision and/or the regulation of these services. Effectiveness and efficiency might be better guaranteed by involvement of the private sector or of civil society. Equity is by definition the overriding concern in designing social welfare policies. The effectiveness question is addressed via targeting: how is the selection of beneficiaries made, and what provisions are given. In practice, targeting will never be perfect: whatever criterion is chosen, there will always be errors of inclusion and exclusion, reducing the effectiveness (Cornia & Stewart, 1993). In addition, welfare systems have transaction costs: communication costs, as well as operational and maintenance costs. The size of these costs relative to the benefits determine the efficiency. In addition, welfare systems generally have “strategic” costs, meaning that there will be unintended behavioural consequences. In the next section, we analyse the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of social policies in Suriname in the 1990s. The focus is on education, health and welfare policies, leaving out housing policies. 2 We review how Surinamese governments of the 1990s have approached social policies, and examine why it sometimes proved so difficult to implement intended policy changes. In Section 4, we elaborate our suggestions for changes in social policies. The final section concludes. Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy for Suriname”.
Role Organisation
Network Organisation organisation details Food & Nutrition Security-Suriname netwerk
List Keywords
1.1 Socio- economic Sector (OECD) 110 Education
120 Health
160 Other social infrastructure and services  
1.2 Institutional dimension Policy Development