The Small Welfare State
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The Small Welfare State

Rethinking Welfare in the US, Japan, and South Korea

Edited by Jae-jin Yang

In a period of rapid change for welfare states around the world, this insightful book offers a comparative study of three historically small welfare states: the US, Japan, and South Korea. Featuring contributions from international distinguished scholars, this book looks beyond the larger European welfare states to unpack the many common political and institutional characteristics that have constrained welfare state development in industrialized democracies.
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Chapter 6: The electoral bases of small tax states in Japan, South Korea, and the US

Margarita Estévez-Abe, Jae-jin Yang and Christopher Faricy


This chapter looks at the electoral bases of tax politics. More specifically, it seeks to examine whether electoral systems and frequency of elections affect the levels of taxation. Methodologically, we adopt a mixed method strategy that combines statistical analysis with more descriptive qualitative case studies of three key cases—Japan, South Korea, and the United States. We found that the plurality electoral system and the frequency of national elections constrained governments’ abilities to raise tax revenue by introducing new taxes and raising tax rates. In short, these three small welfare states are similarly constrained in their tax capacities because of the way in which their elections take place.

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