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wp98eThis paper examines public spending on education, health and infrastructure in Cambodia. Using benefit incidence analysis (BIA), marginal benefit incidence analysis (MBIA) and the nationally representative household survey data from the Cambodia Socio-Economic Survey (CSES) in 2004, 2009 and 2011, the paper examines whether government spending in each sector is equally distributed across household income groups or geographical zones, and to what extent changes in public spending affect different population groups. Broadly speaking, public spending in Cambodia is not pro-poor except for the spending on primary schools, and it is also disproportionately allocated between rural and urban areas and among geographical zones. Increased public spending, except for primary and lower secondary schools, is highly unlikely to benefit the poor. This suggests that there is an urgent need to implement sectoral pro-poor policies within the prioritisation of target regions.

wp98eThere is growing consensus that an emerging skill gap could impose human costs and constraints on Cambodia’s economic growth and development. The country is facing a shortage of skilled human resources even for low-to-medium skill intensive industries. There is a widening gap between the skills that industries and businesses need and what the education institutions, whether academic or vocational training, are producing. Cambodia’s skill gap is emerging at a time when the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is preparing to launch the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The AEC will allow a freer movement of certain kinds of skilled labour across national borders. That could put further pressure on the country’s growing but inadequately skilled young workforce.

This publication is CDRI’s first major macro-development research product on Cambodia in recent years. The empirical research it presents places Cambodia’s development performance and priorities in a multi-country comparative perspective. The Report relies on both quantitative and qualitative evidence, often from many sources – national and international. Many of the Report’s findings and conclusions, therefore, are only as reliable as the empirical evidence they are based on.

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