Abstracts & Papers in Stream 3

Based on Power-resource and institutional rational choice approach, this paper seeks to explain the emergence and resilience of the developmental welfare regime in Korea, with special attention to strategic interactions of company unions, employers of chaebols, and politicians. The Korea case study will provide three tentative hypotheses emphasizing the effects of labor's organization structure, economic concentration, and electoral rules, which will help understand the minimalist welfare states in Japan and the US.

 

Full paper: Why is KWS small-EASP-Jae-jin Yang-Aug 15 2010.pdf

The welfare regime in most East Asian countries has long been characterized as a "residual welfare state." Yet, recent development also suggests that welfare programs in many of these countries have experienced significant expansion. Scholars have largely agreed that economic openness exerts significant impacts on welfare development in these countries. They have, however, failed to explain why economic openness produces seemingly opposite effects. This study provides a theoretical framework to explain under what conditions openness provides an expansionary dynamic and what constrains that dynamic. I argue that the transformation of welfare regimes reflects the changing development strategies within these countries under the new context of globalization. Economic integration and international market competition induce governments in these countries to adapt a balanced view of social protection, which encourages the reduction of inefficient welf are programs but simultaneously promotes governments to expand safety nets programs that are critical for market competition and continuous development. As a result, the impact of economic openness is multidimensional - it provides both constraints and opportunities for social policy adjustment. I further argue that political institutions are critical in ensuring the speed of such a transformation under the pressures of conflicting demands from various social groups that have been affected unevenly by openness.
A growing volume of literature suggests that the countries in Northeast Asia are defying the productivist logic that has underpinned their welfare production regime. This article aims to unfold the developmental trajectory of welfare states in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. By combining structural accounts and political explanations of social policy reform, it discusses continuity and changes in the role of social policy over a stretched period of time. It then argues that although there has been significant change made to social policy in the region, structural conditions and the politics of expansion associated with them are yet to amount to a shift in the core foundation of their welfare production regime. The market conforming role of social policy in East Asia has been persistent and this explains their resilience against the forces of economic liberalization.