Global Challenges and Restructuring
Edited by Gyu-Jin Hwang
This chapter discusses the ways in which East Asian countries engage in social policy with a particular focus on four major social policy areas: education, health care, unemployment and family policy. Looking at these sectors highlights that there are as many differences as there are commonalities both between and within countries. Contrary to the common belief that the East Asian countries are highly restrictive in their social policy offerings for their single-minded pursuit of economic growth, there are notable redistributive elements both in service provision (e.g. health care) and cash transfers (e.g. unemployment benefits). Increasingly, however, East Asian countries are under mounting pressures from the changing demographic and labour market structure. To this, the dramatic growth of family policy has been a noticeable development. Nevertheless, a strong presence of the market in the way social policies are delivered raises a question about how the growing income inequality can be contained particularly as their labour markets are increasingly dualized.