Table of Contents

Handbook on East Asian Social Policy

Handbook on East Asian Social Policy

Elgar original reference

Edited by Misa Izuhara

Dramatic socio-economic transformations over the last two decades have brought social policy and social welfare issues to prominence in many East Asian societies. Since the 1990s and in response to national as well as global pressure, there have been substantial developments and reforms in social policy in the region but the development paths have been uneven. Until recently, comparative analysis of East Asian social policy tends to have focused on the established welfare state of Japan and the emerging welfare regimes of four ‘Tiger Economies’. Much of the recent debate indeed preceded China’s re-emergence onto the world economy. In this context, this Handbook brings China more fully into the contemporary social policy debates in East Asia. Organised around five themes from welfare state developments, to theories and methodologies, to current social policy issues, the Handbook presents original research from leading specialists in the fields, and provides a fresh and updated perspective to the study of social policy.

Chapter 16: Challenges and directions: building a comparative quantitative dataset for East Asian social policies

Chan-ung Park and Dongchul Jung

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian politics and policy, asian social policy, development studies, asian development, politics and public policy, asian politics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


There is a large corpus of comparative studies on welfare states (see, for example, Wilensky, 1975; Korpi, 1983; Orloff and Skocpol, 1984; Esping-Andersen, 1990). Since the 1950s, many scholars have compared different welfare states with regard to how countries cope with social welfare needs and deal with the problems associated with modernization, industrialization , and changes in civil society. More importantly, many studies have recognized temporal and spatial variations in the ways in which societies construct their own social welfare programs. The first generation of welfare state research compared welfare state development in Western countries by examining state expenditure on social welfare or welfare efforts (Flora and Heidenheimer, 1981). Influenced by theories related to modernization and industrialization, many early studies (see, for example, Wilensky, 1975) explained different levels of welfare state development through comparisons of the different levels of industrialization or economic growth in different countries. Despite strong criticism of the assumptions of modernization theories (Quadagno, 1987), subsequent studies, including those taking a Marxist approach, have continued to rely on welfare state expenditure as a basis for comparing the nature of welfare states. The first generation of comparative studies contributed to the development of the field of social welfare studies by facilitating comparisons of welfare state development in selected Western countries, using a relatively simple quantitative measure (Wilensky, 1975; Flora and Heidenheimer,1981; Castles, 1982; Pampel and Williamson, 1988).

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