Abstracts & Papers in Stream 4

After Hong Kong transformed from an industrial economy to a service-based commercial economy, unemployment and social inequality become core structural problems.  It is an alert that Hong Kong's Gini Coefficient (0.533) is now higher than that of Brazil and many other less developed countries.  The main reasons behind the growing income disparity are low-income due to excessive supply of low skill labour, high unemployment rate especially among young people, and inadequate retirement protection for the older people. Social concern groups and academics pointed out that it is the laissez-faire market which created a huge rift between the social underclass, and demand for more proactive government intervention in the labour market.

Of those groups suffering from structural unemployment, the youth people in Hong Kong are a group that has extracted the attention from the government and the society.  Youths are an asset in building a better society.  Nevertheless, the free-market economy and the government's "laissez faire" governance do not implicate that there is lack for public commitment in employment assistance services.  In fact, the Labour Department, Social Welfare Department, the Employees Retraining Board, and many other non-governmental organizations are providing different services for the unemployed seeking jobs and career development. However, it is not certain about the effectiveness of these programmes in addressing the unemployment programme.  

This study will review critically the employment services existing in Hong Kong and analyze whether they are sufficient and effective enough to tackle the needs of the unemployed youths under economic restructuring; and then explore the possible measures, on both policy and frontline levels, in strengthening employment services in Hong Kong. 


Full paper: vincent_lee_2010_A Study of the Employment Assistance and Training Services for the Youths in Hong Kong.pdf

The purpose of this study is to analyze the effects of marketing strategy on the sales returns of the Self-sufficiency Business Communities (SBCs), which is one of the Korean anti-poverty programs for the poor who are able to work. This study aims to suggest how the SBCs should apply marketing strategy to their own situations so that they could sustain themselves and free themselves from poverty and dependency.

There are very few studies that examine what factors contribute to the increase in the sales returns of the SBCs, although many people emphasize that the SBCs should increase the profits of their businesses. Inspired by the fact that marketing strategy is one of the most critical factor in private business to increasing its sales return, this study investigates to what degrees the SBCs utilize marketing strategy and examines which part of the strategy contributes most to the increase of the sales returns.  

This study is going to survey 164 SBCs located in Busan and ask about how they build their marketing strategies, what they currently perform based on those strategies, and what their sales returns are. Of particular, we are going to analyze the marketing strategies according to seven dimensions suggested by Fine (1992): Product, Purchaser, Product, Price, Promotion, Place, and, Probing. Then, we are going to do the multiple regression analysis  examining whether the marketing strategy influences the sales returns of the SBCs. Lastly, we are going to suggest some policy implications for the SBC managers and policy-makers to help the SBC workers to sustain themselves and exit the program with full capacity and institutional supports.

Full paper: BooARum_2010_An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Marketing Strategy.pdf

After the 1997-98 economic crisis spread all over the East Asia region including Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, it has been common that the inequity and poverty have remarkably and rapidly increased, accompanied with the increase of non-regular workers or working poor, and these new situation, "new poverty", cannot be well coped with in the conventional social security and welfare systems. Each government has tried to introduce the activation policies to enhance employment, while it has made great effort to avoid the large increase of financial injection. This indicates the difference with the European type activation where the related budget have far higher proportional rate in GDP. These four countries or areas have the many common aspects, remaining issues they have faced, however, are greatly different because of the difference in the labor market structure and existing social safety net. This report will appraise the recent reform for working poor in Japan and Korea, analyzing the dynamism of households and workers behavior in terms with income and employment utilizing panel data in both countries. In Korea, bold reform of the social safety net has been carried out since the economic crisis by not only expanding coverage of public assistance and employment insurance, but also introducing Social Enterprise Promotion Act or Earned Income Tax Credit. Its income redistribution effect, however, is much limited on the whole. In Japan, long-term unemployment has been increasing during the last decade, and most of them don't receive any public benefits or supports. LDP government had recognized that it was a labor policy, not welfare, which was necessary for them. New government has a great interest in this issue, but not showed the whole vision of reform.

Name: Norimichi Goishi
Institution: Tokyo Institute for Municipal Research
Email address: goishi@timr.or.jp



Full paper: Social Safety Net for Working Poor (Goishi).pdf