Does China’s public assistance scheme create welfare dependency? An assessment of the welfare of the Urban Minimum Living Standard Guarantee

Jie LEI*, Chak Kwan CHAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

1 Scopus Citations


This study examines the myth of whether China’s public assistance scheme is creating welfare dependency. It first analyses the benefit levels of the Urban Minimum Living Standard Guarantee (UMLSG) according to the international poverty measurements. Then it employs in-depth interviews to reveal the life experiences of 15 UMLSG beneficiaries and the views of 8 welfare officials in Guangzhou city. It concludes that the UMLSG assistance is actually too low to reduce the work motivation of beneficiaries. Instead, supplementary welfare associated with the UMLSG contributes to the staying of beneficiaries, to facilitate access to basic housing, health and educational services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-501
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Social Work
Issue number2
Early online date20 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes



  • Costs of basic needs
  • global absolute standards
  • minimum living standard
  • poverty
  • welfare dependency

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