Rethinking Welfare in the US, Japan, and South Korea
Edited by Jae-jin Yang
Chapter 10: Path dependence and possibilism: the American, Korean, and Japanese welfare states in comparative perspective
This concluding chapter undertakes the exercise in three steps. First, it comments briefly on the concept of the small welfare state: what it means, some of the limitations of the concept and how being “small” has implications for the distribution of risk and the role of private actors. Second, it reexamines the core causal arguments of the book, highlighting some nuances in the chapters but also raising the role of causal factors that are addressed only in passing. These include the particular role international political factors—the Cold War and globalization—played in the three cases of the US, Japan, and Korea. It also looks at some distinctive issues that differentiate the three countries, particularly the role of federalism and race and ethnicity in the American case. Third, following the title, it raises some issues about the path of future change in these welfare states.
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