Global Challenges and Restructuring
Edited by Gyu-Jin Hwang
Chapter 5: Welfare–work Link in East Asia after the Economic Crisis: Korea and Japan since the 1990s
5. Welfare–work link in East Asia after the economic crisis: Korea and Japan since the 1990s 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....
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