Abstracts & Papers in Session 4

Last two decades many countries around the world have adopted 'inclusive' asset-building policies providing institutional opportunities of saving to not only the haves but also the have-nots. Advocates for inclusive asset-building policy claim that opportunities for saving and asset accumulation should be universal, progressive, life-long, and adequate. Using the life course approach, this study aims to discuss policy development and challenging issues of Singapore asset-building policy.

Singapore is characterized as a city-state where asset building institutions and policies have been developed systematically and comprehensively to advance social development and economic growth. There are three types of Child Development Accounts (CDAs) in Singapore. First, the Child Development Account covers children from birth to six years. The CDA was introduced in 2001 to encourage marriage and to tackle low birth rates. Savings in CDAs can be used for childcare, early child education, and health care. The second type of CDA is the EduSave Scheme (ES) since 1993. The ES targets school-going children aged 6 to 16 and supports enrichment programs (e.g., study trips, sports, etc). Third, in 2007 the Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) was introduced to support investment in continued tertiary education. Balances in the CDA and ES can be rolled over to PSEA. In addition, unused PSEA balances are transferred into the child's CPF account. A key feature of the three CDAs is that they are interconnected with each other.

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Housing and Development Board (HDB) are two primary policy mechanisms that promote adult Singaporeans' asset accumulation over their life course. CPF is a compulsory and defined contribution savings for retirement income. More significantly, CPF savings can be withdrawn for down-payments and mortgage payments for the purchase HDB housing units.

This paper will conclude by discussing policy implications and challenges of the Singapore-style asset-building policy.


Han Chang-Keun, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Social Work
National University of Singapore
e-mail: swkhck@nus.edu.sg

Full paper: Han Chang-Keun_2010_Asset-Building Policy throughout the Life Course.pdf

Much of the debate in recent years concerning the significance of new democratic states is premised on the assumption that democracy and development are complementary and forward-looking concepts. This is in marked contrast to the earlier prevailing view that development goals in developing countries could best be assured by strong states with little reference to the level of democratisation or civil society. The empirical justification for this view lay in some palpable success of rapid economic growth, engineered by the developmental state in East Asia such as Japan and South Korea, where social policy was subordinated to economic development. However, strong states are also bound to adapt to changing social, political and economic realities for effective governance. The state-led late developers needed to accommodate democracy and globalisation and hence to adjust their social policies to meet political pressures and new socioeconomic challenges. To this end, this paper will investigate triangular interactions between development, democracy, and social policy through the comparative study of Japan and Korea. Particular attention is paid to differences in the structure of social politics between the two countries. The paper also examines the deliberative governance of strong states in maximizing the compliance and cooperation of societal actors for the sake of achieving economic and social goals.
Despite diversity in market and policy frameworks, late 20th century housing systems across industrialized economies in East Asia became increasingly focused on facilitating homeownership. Governments became characteristically interventionist in the housing sector, which was assumed to play broad economic, political and welfare roles. Despite the significant influence of the public sector, housing provision was largely commodified rather than de-commodified. Homeownership was perceived to enhance economic development, social solidarity and the asset base of family centered welfare provision. This view was bolstered by house price increases during an era of rapid economic growth. Expanding owner-occupied housing sectors ostensibly offset underdeveloped citizenship rights and public spending, and stimulated increases in middle-class home-owning households, who were provided an economic stake in 'developmentalist' government objectives. The Asian economic crisis of 1997/98 however, strongly impacted property markets across the region leading to increasing divergence in approaches to homeownership and welfare provision. This paper examines housing systems and policy regimes in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong to illustrate new strategies that have emerged in the 21st century that reflect diversifying orientations towards housing policies and property-based-welfare. These new strategies have been challenged by the recent global financial crisis, but housing markets appear to be responding very differently compared to the last major downturn

The Ant Tribe refers to the swelling ranks of underemployed or underpaid Chinese university graduates frustrated by their failure to fulfill their ambitions. The number of these disadvantaged university graduates, the main body of which is comprised of graduates without urban household status and or with a degree from lower tiers institutes, is on a steady rise in recent years. The fact that the Ant Tribe could not climb out of their miseries via education is a hint of the fact that the education system is not necessarily promoting social mobility in contemporary China featured by startling social inequality. By examining the important steps within the twelve years from primary school to university a typical graduate dubbed as one of the Ant Tribe cannot escape from, this paper shows how the Chinese education system is transferring parents' social and economic status to the next generation. Education against such a context is no longer giving the disadvantaged a chance to change their lives. Without reforming the education system with effective measures, the bigger the number of high achievers, the more polarized the society.



Full paper: Wingkit_Chan_2010_The Path to the Ant Tribe.pdf

Japan has experienced the increasing levels of income inequality and poverty recently, in particular since the 1990s. This paper examines how public policies, in addition to the country's economic and social conditions, have contributed to this phenomenon in comparison to the South Korean case. Employers in Japan and South Korea have had incentives to increase labour market flexibility and reduce labour costs to better deal with economic competition under globalisation. In addition, these countries share a number of similar socio-economic structures (such as similar corporate employment practices and gender discrimination in the labour market). Japan's income inequality measured by the Gini Index has increased rapidly since the 1990s according to the CIA's World Factbook (from 24.9 in 1993 to 38.1 in 2002) and inequality and poverty are currently among the most prominent socio-economic issues in Japan. However, after the increase in income inequality following the Asian Financial Crisis, South Korea's income inequality measured by the Gini Index decreased in the 2000s according to the same statistics (from 35.8 in 2000 to 31.3 in 2007). This paper aims to explain the recent increase in income inequality and poverty in Japan in comparison to South Korea by analysing these countries' labour market deregulation policies to promote the use of non-regular work (such as temporary agency work and fixed-term contracts) and social safety measures (such as unemployment insurance and minimum wages) among other things. This paper aims to demonstrate that, while these two coordinated market economies (according to the varieties of capitalism literature) have increased the use of neo-liberal business practices and economic measures under globalisation, public policies are likely to have contributed to the increasing levels of Japan's income inequality and poverty in a different manner from the South Korean case unlike the varieties of capitalism would suggest otherwise.  

Our contemporary world is currently experiencing the global economic crisis and people from different socio-economic backgrounds suffer from various kinds of social and economic consequences. In coping with the 1997/98 Asian Financial Crisis, most governments in the region hurriedly expanded their social protection projects with substantial help from international organizations for helping those people suffering most from the catastrophe without having fundamental social policy paradigm shifts in East Asia. Despite the growing needs for social protection after the Asian financial crisis in 1997, most of the Asian governments have not drastically changed their approaches in handling the increasingly complex social welfare issues. Thus it is not surprising to see many people still suffered from economic hardship, especially in the midst of food price crisis before the current global economic crisis broke out in October 2008 (Mok et al., 2009). The principal goal of this paper is to critically examine whether the selected Asian countries have changed their philosophy of social welfare in helping those who suffer from poverty and other social consequences because of the rapid economic restructuring. More specifically, this paper sets out against the wider political economy context briefly outlined above to critically examine whether the approaches in social protection have changed in the four East Asian Tigers and China when addressing the social problems resulting from the present economic and financial difficulties.


Professor Ka Ho Mok
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
The Hong Kong Institute of Education

Chang Jiang Chair Professor
Zhejiang University, China

Email: kahomok@ied.edu.hk

Gender, Governance and Citizenship in East Asian Societies

This study seeks to explore the context in which governments and their citizens interact, looking at transformation and complexity and the interplay of different forms of power, and of the differentiated capacity between men and women to make use of the possibilities of citizenship. Drawing on a comparative and integrated analytical framework, this qualitative research examines the economic, political, legal and social dimensions associated with gender, governance and citizenship in four East Asian societies: Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong SAR,  South Korea and Taiwan.  The empirical focus is on the interface between social security systems, labour market policy and care strategies and the extent to which the relationship between these different domains enhances or limits the opportunities and citizenship status of women.  Social security systems and care regimes can be seen to be embedded within a wider context shaped by power relations, institutional arrangements and values which are contingent.  Harrison (2001) utilized the notion of social regulation to refer to structured and institutionalized relations of power involving mechanisms, practices and influential assumptions through which people's lives may be constrained, confined, supported or liberated.  Women's citizenship status can thus be linked with gendered patterns of inequality associated with income and wealth, labour market position and participation, the discourse around the family and the male breadwinner model, and care strategies.  This in turn can be linked to institutional discrimination, inadequate resources, and cultural expectations.    This paper will draw on these elements to explore and compare the citizenship status of women in different East Asian contexts
In general, women are participating in the labour market in greater numbers than ever before, are better educated, wealthier, marrying later and having fewer children in the context of substantial economic and social change in the last few decades. This research provides new insights into the ways in which governance and citizenship processes and practices interact by investigating the different implications for men and women, and promotes a novel understanding of the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, as well as the changing boundaries of citizenship.

This article aims to provide a deep understanding of dynamics of pension politics in South Korea in the last decade. Since the introduction of the National Pension in Korea in 1988, there have been two major reforms in 1999 and in 2007. While much has been written on the 1999 reform, it seems that the existing accounts cannot successfully explain the 2007 reform. Therefore, in order to explain both reforms, this research will firstly set the context by bringing the argument of developmentalism and developmental welfarism. Subsequently, it will propose a conceptual framework for understanding pension politics based on three dimensions of security, i.e. social-institutional-financial security, which generate incentives for actors to form or reformulate a political coalition to achieve their objectives.

The attention will be mainly paid to the role of bureaucrats who have played the crucial role in welfare policy-making, and it will also focus on the changing interaction between bureaucrats and political parties or civic groups. Specifically, this research will highlight the role of the bureaucrats from a viewpoint of welfare bureaucrats who have actively sought the institutional security of pension reforms. By formulating welfare coalitions, particularly political parties before the 2007 reform, welfare bureaucrats successfully rationalised and legitimised reforms. Methodologically, it will use qualitative methods reviewing all relevant documents and in-depth interviews with key policy/political actors. This article will argue that although it appeared that the role of bureaucrats significantly weakened together with waning developmentalism, rejuvenating bureaucrats once again played an important role in breaking the deadlock in 2007 and simultaneously political parties came to the front line of welfare politics, which might be a sign of the emergence of modern welfare politics in South Korea.      

Assistant Professor Won Sub Kim
Department of Sociology
Korea University,

Assistant Professor Young Jun Choi
Department of Public Administration
Korea University

Full paper: 0100601_Pension_reforms_in_2007.pdf 

The Influx of massive immigrant brides whose initial purpose to immigrate was to marry Korean men has increased unprecedentedly over the past few years in South Korea. As a result, the Korean government has designed and implemented policies in order to aid these immigrant brides. However, as the policy is mainly aimed toward their cultural adjustment (Seol et al, 2005), little is known and done about the economic integration of immigrant brides in Korea. This is problematic since it is advisable to consider these women to become part of economically active population. In fact, economic integration, namely their labor market participation has been considered as an essential element which enables immigrants and their families to fully integrate into host society (Martin, 1999). Thus, this paper proposes to draw lessons from experiences in the Western countries and combine them with Korea's own situation. Specifically, utilizing data drawn from "Survey on International marriage family in Gyeonggi-do for 2007(Chun et al., 2007) this paper identifies amongst the demographic and human capital factors of 810 samples of immigrant brides which could affect their labor market participation.
Results of logistic analysis prove that amongst demographic factors, age of immigrant bride, and children younger than 6-year-old had positive effect on labor market participation. However, when controlling demographic characters, human capital variables were found not to have any significant impacts on employment.
There are more shades than black and white and there are other ways to deal with redistribution policies. Hence, the proper way should be aimed on increasing the socio-economic capital of these immigrant groups, enabling them to become economically active population. This analysis will shed light on the process of economic integration of immigrant brides, which will have a significant contribution to the existing literature.


Full paper: KyungEun Yang_2010_Study on Factors Affecting Immigrant Wives' Employment Status in South Korea.pdf

    The unemployment rate in Taiwan has increased continuingly from less than 2 percent in 1995 to 5.2 percent by 2002. Following a series of socio-economic measures, the unemployment rate dropped below 4 percent until June 2008. Due to the global financial crisis of the late 2008, the unemployment rate in Taiwan soared to 5% within six months and reached 6.07% in July 2009. In other words, Taiwan no longer enjoyed the status of 'high economic growth rate and low unemployment rate'. Unemployment has become a policy issue and measures to tackle the problem has been frequently proposed and implemented. This paper therefore intends to present major employment promotion measures taken in Taiwan between 2000 and 2008 under the former ruling party of Democratic Progress Party (DPP). Besides, this paper will explore the effect of the employment promotion measures with an illustration of the evaluation of the Multiple Employment Development Program (2004-2007). Finally, policy lessons will be drawn from the implementation experiences for future employment promotion measures as well as for those countries facing similar challenges. 
    The rising unemployment problem in Taiwan since 1996 has been characterized by economists as a form of structural unemployment. The government has taken several employment promotion measures to deal with the problem. These measures can roughly be grouped into three types: job creation, job training, and employment services. The Multiple Employment Development Program (MEDP) is a kind of job creation program with more community-oriented, targeting primary both unemployed and disadvantaged workers. The goal of this program is to subsidize NGO's for hiring unemployed workers to assist in the deprived neighborhoods, especially among manufacture-declined regions and agricultural counties. By comparing participants' labor participation outcomes before and after joining the MEDP, it is found that the re-employment rate of the participants reached 50% and the average monthly wage level slightly increased NT$ 88.15 (US$ 2.75). However, more than 80% of the participants left their first jobs after the MEDP within six months, and hence its effect of stable employment did not seem to be significant. In summary, the MEDP has reached part of its policy goals by absorbing a considerable number of participants in the previous workfare program and shifting them to work for community-based Non-Government Organizations. However, the effectiveness of this program will inevitably be questioned when the majority of the MEDP participants found their employability did not increase to a great extent after attending the program. A careful follow-up study to the job content that NGOs designed will be invaluable for exploring the reasons for the minor enhancement the participants' employability.

Chao-Yin Lin**
Associate Professor
Department of Social Work
National Taipei University
Taipei, TAIWAN
E-mail: cylin@mail.ntpu.edu.tw



Yun-Hsiang Hsu
PhD student
Glenn School of Public Affairs,
The Ohio State University
E-mail: hsu.313@osu.edu