New Welfare States in East Asia

New Welfare States in East Asia

Global Challenges and Restructuring

Edited by Gyu-Jin Hwang

The fast changing economic climate is creating substantial pressure for welfare state restructuring worldwide. Yet the discussion regarding challenges faced and the responses required has been confined to the ‘standard welfare states’ in the West. This book examines whether these challenges also apply to the countries in the East, whether these countries have generated different responses to their Western counterparts, and whether they have undergone a process of regime transformation while responding to these pressures.

Chapter 4: Labour Market Risks in De-industrializing East Asian Economies: The Cases of Korea, Japan and Taiwan

Sophia Seung-yoon Lee

Subjects: asian studies, asian social policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, welfare states


Sophia Seung-yoon Lee Introduction Labour markets in advanced economies are changing and the changes are both multidimensional and revolutionary. Transitions from manufacturing to the service sector, male-dominant labour market to an increase of female workers, and from a stable employment structure to a flexible one are the three major characteristics of labour market changes in advanced economies that are prominent. Although it must be emphasized that countries are experiencing transitions by different degree and by different timing, it is empirically evident that these changes are taking place in most of the developed economies. During the past 30 years, employment in manufacturing as a share of total employment has fallen dramatically in advanced economies, a phenomenon commonly referred to as ‘de-industrialization’ (Esping-Anderson, 1993). Together with de-industrialization, some include the increase of female participation in the labour market and the increase of atypical employment under the term post-industrialization (Pierson, 2001). Not surprisingly, many scholars of the field have started to pay attention to the labour market change with concerns about its causes and implications. Parallel to the vigorous debate regarding the labour market change, notions of new risk, new risk society, new poverty or new crisis have also recently become buzzwords in many disciplines in social sciences (Huber and Stephens, 2006, Esping-Andersen, 1994, 1996, 1999; Pierson, 2001, 2006; Iversen, 2001; TaylorGooby, 2000, 2004; Hackers, 2004; Bonoli, 2007). Many regard de-industrialization as having contributed to a widening income inequality in the USA and high unemployment in Europe (Iversen and Cusack, 1998) while some...

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