Since the publication of the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) study (whatsenough.sg), which sought to establish what constituted basic needs in Singapore and the household budgets needed to meet those needs, public discussion has taken two related directions. First, focusing solely on the S$6,426 dollar figure needed per month for partnered parents with two children, and then extolling Singaporeans to “spend within their means”. And second, criticising the study’s methodology without, in my opinion, fully understanding it. Some said, for instance, that the MIS study was analogous to interviewing colleagues about daily budgets before asking bosses for a salary raise.
Every research study has its limitations. But a fair evaluation only follows if we know the research motivations and methodology. It is with that in mind that we host Drs. Ng Kok Hoe and Teo You Yenn, members of the MIS study, who explain a “basic standard of living”, detail the study methodology, and address five common responses and rebuttals to the study.
Dr. Ng was previously on the podcast: On homelessness and housing insecurity, income insecurity and minimum income standard, and bridging research, practice, and policy.