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 5: Welfare–work Link in East Asia after the Economic Crisis: Korea and Japan since the 1990s

Dongchul Jung and Chan-ung Park

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


Dongchul Jung and Chan-ung Park Introduction The welfare state programmes introduced after the Second World War in Western Europe were successful in providing social protection. However, they proved unable to cope with increasing unemployment rates and benefit claimants since the 1970s. During the 1990s two main approaches were advocated to tackle the problems of the welfare state: the (neo)-liberal approach of welfare state retrenchment and the Nordic approach of activating welfare state. While the liberal approach guarantees the economic sustainability of the welfare state at the risk of increasing poverty and income insecurity, the Nordic approach safeguards social protection by promoting participation in the mainstream open labour market with financial pressure in the state. Recently, several attempts have been made to reconcile the two perspectives by activation policies that link some welfare and labour market programmes (Beer and Schils, 2010; Hvinden 1999). Western welfare states demonstrated alternative ways of combining social protection and labour market policies. The European Commission (2007) suggested that the case of Denmark is one of the successful examples of the new strategy for linking welfare and labour market policies. However, each country has different goals, targets and strategies by its own context (Beer and Schils, 2010; Pascual and Magnusson, 2007). Successful cases of recovery from the recent economic crisis indicate that the link or integration of both welfare and labour market policies was the key in those countries. It was neither welfare policies nor labour market policies alone that proved effective in achieving both social...

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