Abstracts & Papers in Stream 2

The existence of different types of welfare regimes implies that economic globalization generates a diversity of welfare impacts on impoverished groups in different countries. Ramesh (2006) points out that there are few studies on such impacts in the context of East Asia. The recent outbreak of the financial tsunami has resulted in substantial welfare lost to the poor in the advanced economies and particularly those in the US and UK. Its impact on the countries in East Asia remains to be studied. This paper focuses on the welfare consequences to the poor in Hong Kong, a financial centre of the East Asian region. Statistics and local studies have revealed impacts of the financial tsunami which include rising unemployment that concentrates in unskilled occupations, decreasing individual and family income, and increasing number of new applications for income support. An analysis of the welfare impacts on the financial centre of Hong Kong contributes to a deeper understanding of the global and local interfaces of the financial globalization process. The role of elites in finance and real estate for the case of Hong Kong is found to be critical in such a process and constitutes the economic context for the operation of the welfare regime. Concomitantly, this paper concentrates on capturing the mediating effect of the welfare regime, which shares a pro-economic growth characteristic found among the regimes of the region. The differential treatment of productive and 'non-productive' groups, which illustrates the influence of such a type of regime, is detailed. Lastly, the need for more research specifically on the welfare regimes of East Asia is echoed.

Recent welfare reforms across OECD nations sought to make social policies more 'employment-friendly'. In the domain of family policies, we have been observing a trend towards work/family reconciliation policies, guided by the ideal of the adult worker model rather than the male breadwinner ideology. This path departure came with most surprise in strong male breadwinner countries of the conservative welfare regime cluster, where the ideology of motherhood and the idea of preserving the traditional family were ascribed most prominence.

In this paper, we will be looking at the cases of Germany and South Korea to analyse the departure from the male breadwinner trajectory. Both countries have recently experienced an expansion of employment-oriented family policies. Specifically, we will be first investigating whether Germany and Korea are turning 'Nordic' (following universalist principles), or whether they are moving towards the liberal trajectory of family policies (in which support for families is primarily targeted at low-income groups). Secondly, we will be analysing the political and ocio-economic forces behind recent family policy reforms in these two countries. In particular, the paper will shed light on the role of political parties and social partners. Special attention will be paid to party competition as a possible driver of family policy expansion.

With this research agenda, both two cases will be placed in the broader context of the comparative welfare state and political economy literature for a better understanding of the direction of welfare reforms in episodes of paradigmatic changes, as well as a better understanding of welfare politics in conservative welfare states. The comparative study of the German and Korean cases will provide us a better framework for assessing the unique properties of East Asian welfare states in comparison to Western conservative welfare states.

This paper discusses the utility and role of experiments at neo-corporatist policy-making in new democracies, when a country is being transformed to a welfare state after democratization. It pays special attention to the empirical fact that neo-corporatist arrangements are able to be devised to govern the complicated processes of grand social changes and utilized not only in pacifying radical labor movement and controlling wage increase, but also in codetermining the directions, speeds and degrees of welfare reforms. It assumes and proves that such experiments are to be distinguished from the classic experiences of neo-corporatism in the 1970s oriented to co-manage economic crises, as well as from the recent experiences in the 1990s to consensually retrench welfare states. With these purposes, this paper intensively analyzes the experiences of South Korea, the almost sole country, where consensual and participatory welfare politics rose up in the processes of institutional changes among the East Asian countries; most of all, between the mid 1990s and mid 2000s, when the agendas of social welfare reforms constantly covered a significant part of the tripartite social dialogues. This analysis is also expected to fill the gaps in the general disciplines of political economy, which have not sufficiently dealt with the relationship between consensual politics and welfare policies in new democracies. Emphasizing that the Korean experiments are to be understood in relation to its characteristics of transformation, the study compares them with the similar experiments of Spain in the 1970s and 1980s, with a more ambitious aim to make certain contributions to generalizing the chances and limits of the consensual welfare politics in transition societies, and to amplifying the theories of neo-corporatism.



Full paper: Park_myung_joon_2010_EASP.pdf