Abstracts & Papers in Session 5

EADP: Welfare-Work Nexus Project

Globalization and its socio-economic effects on nation-states have brought the importance of understanding welfare and employment as part of integrated issues. Recently, a central debate on Western welfare regimes has been to examine how each country has sought a way to link social welfare and labor market policies to deal with the negative effects of globalization. The debates on the Asian welfare policies have also examined the impacts of globalization on Asian welfare regimes. However, the lack of comparable dataset on recent economic and social policies in Asian countries has been a major obstacle to understand the conditions and outcomes of such welfare regimes. In this project, we seek to build a dataset on social welfare and labor market policies of East Asian countries (Korean, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China), which can be eventually incorporated with existing dataset on Western countries. The key goal of the present dataset is to build comparative indicators of on how economic policies and welfare policies interact with each other in East Asian countries, which can promote divergence of different welfare regimes in these countries. We will collect the data on separate social welfare and labor market programs, but will focus on how each government seeks to link both domains of policies (hence, welfare-work nexus) as a way to deal with current socio-economic problems that can be common and divergent among the countries. In particular, the following will be the key contents of the dataset: labor market statistics; key social welfare programs (work injury, health, pension, and unemployment); labor market programs; expenditures on social welfare and labor market programs. Thus, the dataset will consist of two parts: contents of formal programs (labor market and social welfare) and actual expenditures for each type. We will present South Korea as an example of the dataset, and we will discuss the final direction of the dataset and related key indicators.

The so-called 'welfare modelling business' has been at the heart of comparative social policy analysis since the publication of Esping-Andersen's classic The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Debate has advanced considerably since the emergence of this text, be it in terms of expanding the range of countries considered, expanding the scope of policy areas and issues encompassed in typologies or in linking welfare types to both the contextual factors shaping welfare systems and the varying outcomes that social policies seek to address.

However, debate to date has largely proceeded on the basis that coherent nation states exist even in what many view to be an era of globalisation. This assumption was always problematic - as many theorists have acknowledged - but globalisation processes have added a further dimension to this debate. In particular, geographer and sociologists have pointed to the increasing power of global cities that act as co-ordinating hubs for the global economy. Though residing in nation states, these cities have a special status flowing from their central role in the global economy. While theorists have highlighted the social tensions that often exist in these cities themselves, there has been no systematic attempt to explore the implications of these cities for welfare regimes and welfare regime analysis. This paper addresses this under explored issues and argues that an analysis of global cities can not only better inform our understanding of globalisation processes but may also be significant in understanding the development of differing welfare types too.

Since the 1990s pension reforms have been one of the major welfare reforms in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong. A conspicuous phenomenon among the reform endeavours has been the introduction of individual accounts as a major pillar of old-age security (HK), or as a supplement to the existing pension schemes (China, Taiwan). Whereas China and Taiwan successively established individual accounts on top of the mandatory pension insurance schemes, Hong Kong mainly engaged itself with the establishment of the Mandatory Provident Funds in 2000. The three cases demonstrate a similar trend towards privatization while employing rather distinctive forms and strategies in response to the looming challenges of population ageing and financial strains in public pension schemes. This article seeks to adopt the theoretical insight of the much-discussed political economy approach, Varieties of Capitalism (VoC), which emphasizes the institutional complementarities between production regime and welfare regime to account for the outcomes of pension privatization in the three cases. Based on the research literature, government documents, and statistical comparisons, this article intends to trace the political and economic rationales behind pension privatization. My major argument is that, despite the similar motivation toward privatization, the way in which individual accounts are established in the three Chinese societies has much to do with their respective models of industrial development. In China's case, the transition from socialism to market economy is mainly achieved through the reform of state-owned enterprises and the attraction of foreign direct investments. To achieve this goal, the Chinese pension reforms concentrated on the combination of social pooling and individual accounts. Taiwan's economy is famous for her high proportion of medium- and small-sized enterprises as the main propeller. Individual accounts have been introduced on top of the Labour Insurance in order to accommodate this feature, i.e. alleviating enterprises' financial burden while increasing labour force mobilization. Hong Kong's economic development is driven by its service industry in favour of financial capitalization and market fluidity, leading to her choice of mandatory provident funds as the major pension scheme for the workers.


Rethinking Old Age Income Security for All in Taiwan

The framework of Old Age Income Security in Taiwan was completed, though remaining fragmented, with implementation of National Pension Act since October, 2008. All citizens are covered but unequally along side with several separated occupational and allowance schemes, namely Act of Insurance for Military Personnel, Government Employee and School Staff Insurance (GESSI), Labor Insurance and New Labor Pension System, as well as Old-Age Farmers Welfare Allowance Program stood alone as non-contributory one. Social elements of institutional logic, such as insurance, assistance and allowance, are unevenly conflated and confused together after a long contested journey of political process. Rather than endorsed with advocates of 'universal integration insurance program' and their 'policy failure' criticisms, this article intends to curb mainstream argument for contributory insurance system and proposes a new division of citizen responsibilities as well as governance role of the state to build up a multi-layered old age income security for all.

 

Full paper: Chih-Lung Huang_2010.pdf

Under the official policy of 'socializing social welfare (shehui fuli shehuihua)' since the late 1990s, Chinese non-state welfare organizations or welfare NPOs are encouraged to produce welfare services to form a new cooperative welfare framework with the state. As pioneers, non-state care homes for urban elders have grown in leaps and bounds over the past decade to meet the increasing demands from the ageing population. These agencies normally register as non-state nonprofit enterprises (minban feiyingli danwei) and operate under a dual-management system tightly supervised by the state authorities. Nowadays, they have become the major service providers, offering over 80% of total residential beds for urban elders. Therefore, a study into whether such growth of non-state welfare organizations is a step forward towards welfare socialization is a matter of public interest. It also has implications for the research of government-agency relationship in a transitional welfare economy.

Shanghai has the oldest population profile in the country. The growing pool of seniors creates a large market for residential care. The municipality has actively engaged in institution building to promote welfare NPOs so that they can take on the brunt of delivering care. This paper discusses the institutional change in the area of elder care of Shanghai since the beginning of this decade. Using examples of old age homes in Shanghai as case studies, this paper also evaluates the impact of the institutional change on the evolution of welfare NPOs. It argues that the state indeed has strengthened its role in welfare planning, financing and provision through formal and informal institutional arrangement. Simultaneously, welfare NPOs are treated as agents of the government, to be regulated and incorporated under a system of state dominance. Therefore, it is questionable that the expansion of non-state welfare organizations means the success in the socialization policy of welfare. Rather, at the present stage, the authority of the state is well accepted and the state dominance looks set to become a long term feature of the new welfare economy in China.

Full paper: Linda_Wong_2010_Mending the Chinese Welfare Net.pdf

This paper focuses on the feature of exceptionally high rate of non-standard employment and the dualization of labour market and examines how institutions matter. How did institutions evolve during the industrial period in Korea, Japan and Taiwan and how is it affecting the labour market change in the deindustrialization period? How are deindustrialization and globalization filtered through different institutions causing different labour market risks and/or forming different dual labour markets in East Asian post-industrial countries? In sum, this study focuses on answering how institutions matter in de-industrializing East Asian economies. There are two approaches that are found to be useful in investigating the causations for this study: the historical institutional approach and the welfare production regime theory from the varieties of capitalism literature. This paper commences with a theoretical discussion on comparative historical analysis and welfare production regime. Then it conducts a comparative historical analysis on Korea, Japan and Taiwan examining how the welfare production regime, which a combination of welfare policy, industrial structure, vocational training system and labour union relations evolved during the industrial period. Next, an investigation on different kinds of segregation in labour market that are closely related to the increase of non-standard employment in each country is conducted arguing that different dualizations are in process in these de-industrializing three countries. Lastly, I link how each welfare production regime in each country are adjusting and coping with deindustrialization resulting different labour market risks and labour market segregation in each countries.

 

Full paper: Sophia Lee_2010_HowWPRevolve.pdf

The social assistance programme of China (dibao) or Minimum Living Standard Guarantee System (MLSG) was introduced in urban China since 1993 in Shanghai and was gradually extended to cover all Chinese urban areas in 1998. Since 2007, the system basically covered all rural areas as well. In 2009, there was 70.9 million persons (58.4 million in 2007) benefiting from di bao, or 5.3% (4.4% in 2007) of the total population. This comprised of 3.8% (the same in 2007) of the urban population and 6.7% (4.9% in 2007) of the rural population respectively.  The total expenditure was about 0.24% of the GDP in 2009 (0.15% in 2007). By the end of 2007, older people constituted about 13.1%, and adults constituted 62.9% of the recipients all over China. Like many other countries, di bao is also a gateway to some essential social services, such as housing, health care, and education, which are still inadequately provided for many low-income households. Since informal employment is very common among low-income groups in China, the sources of income are difficult to establish. Given this background, dibao is treated as an additional source of income, and gateway to social services for low-income households working in the informal sector. The incentive and opportunities to leave dibao for low-income households is limited. Shanghai is one of the most affluent regions in China, 88.7% of its population were urban citizen in 2007. A lower percentage of its residents were on dibao (2.5% comparing to 4.4% of the national figure in 2007). However, 84% of its recipients were working age adults. We have conducted a longitudinal qualitative approach to study 40 dibao families with adults of working age in a district in Shanghai. We have interviewed twice over a period of 12 months to see how they manage their employment and income and negotiate with the dibao system. The findings provided insights into the dynamics and processes of how dibao has become a gateway to essential social services and income supplement for workers in the informal employment sector.
   In the past few decades, liberalization of trade and investment is the main issue of East Asian regional politics. Recently, however, social policy has come to be seen as an essential element for the sustainable economic development of the region. APEC 2010, held in Yokohama this November, may become the first regional summit which deals seriously with social policy issues under the title of "social resilience". The concept of social resilience also includes the traditional items of social security system, such as pensions, health and unemployment insurance.
    This paper aims at exploring the characteristics of labor markets and unemployment benefits in East Asian countries. Though the phases of industrialization are different among countries in East Asia, unemployment is a new common experience since late 1990s. Still, there are many differences which should be explored comparatively. There are countries which have unemployment insurance scheme: Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, China and Vietnam. Also there are countries which don't have unemployment insurance scheme: Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia.
    Even in countries which have unemployment insurance, it is not necessarily effective. For example, the decline of Japan's beneficiary rate is explained by increasing non-regular employment and long-term unemployment. In many countries, young workers are insured, but unemployed youth are not necessarily benefited. It is partly due to the design of the scheme. It is recommended for Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia to introduce unemployment insurance. For countries which have unemployment insurance, it is recommended to reform the scheme for covering people who really need social protection

Japan is one of the most problematic cases to put it in appropriate place under the classification of welfare regime and its trait of familial welfarism has not been explained well partly because welfare researchers have preferred the political economic approach to the gender and family study. However, the family occupies very unique position in the welfare regime as it is not only the welfare producer but also the welfare recipient. This paper argues that Japanese welfare regime presupposed the modified extended family, which is sort of a nuclear family but functioning as the extended family, and therefore, generational relation as well as gender relation was fundamental inside the family. Post-war western welfare state presumed the nuclear family as a standard family form and the intergenerational support was partly socialized through pay-as-you-go pension system. On the other hand, Japanese government put emphasis on three-generational cohabitation as a welfare asset. Especially it was salient in the 'Japanese welfare society' policy framework. Differently from the conventional wisdom of the extended family being Japanese tradition, the modified extended family form was created and reinforced by the government. Along with the weakening of the patriarchal norm of extended family, the trade-off relationship of inheritance and care became increasingly important between parents and their offspring's household. And therefore, the government was forced to offer diverse tax incentives for the inheritance and the care in order to encourage the intergenerational support. This policy response led to at least two results. Firstly, Japanese household preferred the asset-holding both for the income security and for the inheritance. And it was mainly done by the home ownership. Secondly, women were tied up as part-timer to take the tremendous burden of family welfare. Japanese welfare regime could have been attacked by Japanese women as it was no longer gender-friendly. But it was not the case. Rather, Japanese household preferred the private 'exit' to the public 'voice' strategy. They struggled to hold much more asset such as home ownership and financial saving in the era of welfare transformation (or retrenchment) and it seems like very path-dependent event seeing from the historical perspective of familial welfare regime in Japan.

 

Full paper: Kim_DoKyun_2010_'Hybrid or unique' revisited.pdf

In the recent discussion of the East-Asian welfare capitalism, there rises the debate on the continuity (or discontinuity) of the East-Asian welfare system. The debate centers on if the East-Asian welfare system is still characteristic with the productivist welfare capitalism. The productivist welfare system signifies that the economic policy is subordinate to the economic policy and the degree of decommdification is comparatively low. Considering the function of political stability for the authoritarianism regime, the target groups of the benefits recipients are narrowed only within core workers in the strategic industries (and branches), the public servicemen and the military.
By the process of democratization, the rule of game has been changed. Whereas the political imperative under authoritarianism regime is economic growth, it has been changed into the capacity for responding demands to the electorates under partisan competition. This change of game offers an opportunity for welfare expansion. This process of welfare expansion denotes the following characteristics. The welfare recipients are potentially extended to cover less advantaged groups, such as atypical workers and unskilled workers. Other economic vulnerable groups should also be considered such as housewife, children, disabled and aged people. A question remains, to what extend and in which way these less advantaged groups will be included into the public welfare system.
The above question refers to the core problematic of the social policy institutional design. Based on theoretical consideration addressed by the seminal work of Baldwin (1990) under the label of ''The Politics of Solidarity", I try to analyze the process of welfare expansion in the two new democracies in East Asia: South-Korea and Taiwan. It will be argues that the centralism has been successfully established in public health insurance scheme. However, the pension system still follows the path of fragementalism and unemployment insurance. The divergence of this two systems denotes a transition of productivist welfare system.

Following the consideration suggested by Nita Rudra (2007), this paper aims to analyze the internal mechanism for intermediating external pressures and social policy schemes. Using a cluster statistical analysis, Rudra found that there exists at least three types of welfare capitalism in the late developing countries: protective welfare state, protective welfare state and the mixed form. For explaining the divergence between protective and productive welfare states in the LDCs, it is suggested that the interaction mechanism between developmental strategies, welfare regime type, distributional coalition and path dependence should be clarified. Furthermore, as the analytical insight of historical institutionalism shows, the initial established institution will create the invested interests in its inner core. This 'lock-in' effect explains why some institutions can persist and be stable across time. Rudra proposes, for analyzing the political dynamics within the productive welfare state, the strategic interaction between state elites and the owners of domestic and foreign capital should be crucial for explaining the productive welfare regime type.

This approach emphasizes on the interaction between developmental strategies and domestic distribution coalition. Under which circumstances will a country develop economic policy to join the international market? How does the policy induce the formation of a production and distributional coalition? How this coalition shapes the type of welfare system? Which actors are included in the coalition and who gains from the interest constellation (who loses from that)? How will this constellation be changed by through 'critical juncture', e.g. democratization.