Social Policies in Samoa

image of Social Policies in Samoa

The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.


Samoa is widely known as a role model in the Pacific region for its economic and social achievements since gaining independence in 1962. This indepth study traces the history of government policy and examines the fundamentals underpinning the country’s social development progress: the welfare state; social cohesion; participative democracy and the power of jurisdiction. It also examines how the fa’a Samoa, the Samoan culture, and securing external assistance enabled the country to build resilience in the face of a number of crises in the 1990s – including two cyclones and a taro blight.



The Welfare State, Social Cohesion, Participative Democracy, Power of Jurisdiction and Social Policy Design

Social policy in Samoa in terms of its design and subsequent success is heavily contingent on a network of relationships between the state, society and external partners, as elaborated in the preceding chapters. Such relationships have been the subject of many studies that have attempted to determine the effective conditions for successful social policy. Over the years, four main theories evolved from the many analyses of the factors that underpin an effective social policy: the welfare state, consensual democracy, power of jurisdiction and social cohesion. This chapter presents observations and analyses of the four concepts with respect to the practice and design of social policy in Samoa.


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