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Politics of social policy in Korea. Why is inequality becoming a bigger concern? What effects did the democratization and the financial crisis have on social policy in Korea? Is welfare politics becoming salient? What’s the prospects of welfare politics?

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politics of social policy in korea
Politics of social policy in Korea
  • Why is inequality becoming a bigger concern?
  • What effects did the democratization and the financial crisis have on social policy in Korea?
  • Is welfare politics becoming salient? What’s the prospects of welfare politics?
  • Will Korea develop toward a social democratic, conservative, or liberal welfare state?
varieties of welfare capitalism
Varieties of welfare capitalism

David Soskice: liberal vs. coordinated market economies

Gøsta Esping-Andersen: liberal, social democratic, conservative welfare states

  • LMEs: the USA, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland
  • CMEs: Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria; Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland; Japan
redistributive impact of welfare states
Redistributive impact of welfare states
  • Inequality and redistribution among working-age households, late 1990s

Mkt Gini Disposable Redistribution

Nordic SMEs 35.2 23.6 32.9%

Continental SMEs 34.8 25.6 25.7%

LMEs 41.8 32.4 22.6%

(US) (43.6) (36.3) (16.7%)

universal vs selective programs
Universal vs. Selective Programs
  • Universal programs: “How shall we solve our common problem (health care, education, pensions, etc.)?”
  • Selective programs: “How shall we solve their problem?” -Stigmatization (“the undeserving poor”)

Means-testing (whether and how much to support): suspicion and arbitrariness, cheating and corruption, costly administration  undermines public support

Means-tested (targeted) assistance is not more redistributive. Why?

korea historical breakdown
Korea: Historical Breakdown
  • Pre Democratic Period
    • Welfare Developmentalism
  • Post Democratic Period
    • Expanding the social contract
  • Post Financial Crisis Period
    • End of Welfare Developmentalism?
  • New Welfare Politics

- Universal or selective welfare programs?

pre 1987
Pre-1987
  • Welfare Developmentalism
    • Primacy of Economic growth
    • Key sectors first to receive limited social insurance:

*Public pension system: Government employees(1960), military personnel(1963), private school teachers(1975)

    • Limited gov’t fiscal commitment: “regulator”
    • Expanding investments in education
  • Low inequality

- Not because of social policy

- Land reform, Korean War

- Labor-intensive industrialization with full employment

post 1987
Post-1987
  • Coverage for all citizens: Health insurance
  • Direct gov’t fiscal commitments
    • Health care contributions to farmers, self-employed (1990)
  • National Pension Scheme: private sector employees in companies with 10 or more employees (1988), companies with 5 or more employees (1992), farmers and fishermen (1995)
  • Modest Unemployment Insurance (1992)
the impact of the 1997 financial crisis
The Impact of the 1997 Financial Crisis
  • Rising unemployment
  • Declining full-time, regular employment
  • Growing inequality
  • Also, rapid population aging
post financial crisis rapid expansion but still small welfare state
Post-financial crisis: Rapid expansion, but still small welfare state
  • Fiscal strains but no rolling back
    • National health care program in the red
    • Pension system faces long-term insolubility:

*Partial privatization not adopted

  • “social right to decent living for every citizen”:

- Minimum Living Standard Guarantee Act (2000)

  • Greater long-term fiscal commitments
social expenditure selected oecd countries of gdp source adema and ladaique 2005 p 72
Social Expenditure, selected OECD countries(% of GDP) Source: Adema and Ladaique (2005), p.72
the basic goal of the vision 2030
The Basic Goal of the “Vision 2030”

10 thousand dollars/capita

Norway

2030

Swiss

USA

Denmark

England

Sweden

  • 2020

Japan

Germany

  • OECD Average

Greece

Korea

Mexico

Poland

  • Public social expenditure/GDP
why small welfare state in kor
Why small welfare state in KOR?

Kim, Young-soon:

  • Institutions of interest representation:
  • Social dialogue
why small welfare state in kor1
Why small welfare state in KOR?

Kim, Young-soon: Institutions of interest representation:

  • Political party w/o policy:

Policy making by the bureaucracy, with civil society input

  • Why?

Single-term presidency, regionalism, lack of class cleavage, anti-communism & narrow ideological spectrum, ideological politics developed surrounding North Korea policy

  • Social dialogue

-Tripartite Agreement (2/6/98)

-KCTU’s withdrawal & company unionism: Low coordination & centralization

yang jae jin 2004 democratic governance bureaucratic politics
Yang, Jae-jin (2004), Democratic governance & bureaucratic politics
  • Dominance of economic bureaucrats→ social bureaucrats
  • Increasing role of civil society organizations
  • Formation of pro-welfare policy network
  • Still, bureaucratic politics over party politics
new era of welfare politics
New era of welfare politics?
  • 2010 local elections: Free school lunch as a defining issue
  • DP’s new platform: Universal welfare state, debate on wealth tax
  • GNP’s response: Selective vs. near-universal welfare programs, debate on tax cuts

Why?

  • Increasing economic polarization
  • Role of DLP & progressive educational superintendents
  • Prospects?
  • Institutionalization of party system?
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