Abstracts & Papers in Stream 3

Over the past decade, Taiwan has witnessed a rapid increase in its population of newly-impoverished individuals. Driving this increase is the economic restructuring accompanying globalization. Moreover, the characteristics of the new poor are quite different from those of the "old poor." The new poor are mainly middle-aged, primary bread-winners in their families with dependants at home. Most are able and hope to work, but suffer from job instability and/or the ability to find any re-employment. The majority of the new poor are not adequately helped by Taiwan's current social welfare programs. If the government does not intervene timely to create a stronger safety net for the new poor, their families may very well become caught in a long-term poverty trap. Using 1997-2007 Family Income and Expenditure Survey Data, this study aims to investigate the developing trend of the new poor. In addition, this research will investigate the characteristics, the economic status, and the transfers received by the new poor. Implications for future policy development will be discussed.

This study investigates how the income inequality of the elderly changes and what factors affect these changes during the past 20 years in Korea. Most previous researches showed that income inequality is large among the elderly compared to the workers. However, most studies regarding inequality issue focused on the income distribution of the whole population. Thus, little is known about how the distribution of income changes as an individual is getting old and which factors cause these changes.

The Data used for this study are the Household Survey in 1986, 1996, 1998, and 2006. The sample includes the heads of households with more than 2 persons in the urban area. The degree of inequality is measured by the Gini coefficient which ranges from 0 to 1. The impact of the independent variables, such as age, education level, working status and job type, on the inequality changes during the past twenty years is calculated by the method of Fields and Yoo(1998), which decompose the variance of log income into the regression coefficients and covariance between independent variables and dependent variable. The result will be organized in three sections. The first section describes the trend of the income inequality of the elderly to show whether it is an increasing or decreasing pattern. The second section analyzes the impact of each income component on the overall income inequality. The third section investigates which factor is more influential on the inequality change. This study will have implications for enacting or remedying social welfare policies to lessen the income inequality of the elderly.

Full paper download: Hong B_factors affecting income inequality.pdf

All industrialised countries have social assistance and provide a minimum income on the basis of a test of means for people below a certain poverty line. This paper compares the social assistance packages in Korea, Japan and seven European countries in 2001 in order to review the structure and level of social assistance paid. It examines how the value of means-tested social assistance benefits varies by family type and earnings level, using the model family method. Compared with other countries, the overall level of the social assistance package in Korea is lowest together with Germany and Portugal, and it is highest in Sweden and Ireland. With regard to the implied equivalence scales, Korea with Portugal and Japan is relatively the most generous to lone parent and couples with children. But that does not mean Korea is the most generous in equivalent cash terms. It is just that Korea's social assistance scales are internally more generous to families with children. In fact, the benefit levels are the least generous among the countries considered. Some suggestions are made for reforming the social assistance benefit in Korea.

Full paper download: Jung I_social assistance packages.pdf

Empirical studies on income distribution and poverty have indicated that the public transfer system has been successful in terms of poverty and inequality reduction in welfare states. However, very little attention has been paid to private transfers in this analysis. Recently, while there has been an increasing interest in the unique features of East Asian welfare states/regimes, many scholars have begun to have an interest in the role of the family in their welfare mix. This article aims to widen the scope of comparative income studies, firstly by analyzing 12 Western welfare states and two newly emerging East Asian welfare states, i.e. South Korea and Taiwan, and secondly, by comparing the poverty and inequality reduction effects of private transfers with those of public transfers. The Luxemburg Income Study (LIS) dataset is used for the analysis. The empirical results indicate that private transfers are much more effective than public transfers in terms of income inequality and poverty reduction effects in both South Korea and Taiwan, in contrast to western counterparts including three Southern European countries. Finally, based on the results, we propose further research questions.

Full paper download: Kim J_private transfers and welfare states.pdf

Human security is an emerging concept for understanding global vulnerabilities and advocating human justice. This concept addresses individual security and a people-centered view and thus challenges the traditional concept of national security focusing on the states. This study attempts 1) to examine the background of human security concept, 2) to identify the issues of the human security approach in ODA framework through examining the assistance to fragile states which fail to protect the basic security of people, and 3) to discuss the reassessment of ODA policy from human security perspective.

The approaches to "Human Security" are mainly classified into two ways. 1) Advocating a comprehensive approach to get over threats of people through sustainable human development. This is the so called broader approach. 2) Advocating conflict resolutions and peace-buildings associated with armed interventions. This is the so called narrow approach. Unfortunately neither approach has been paying proper attention to gender concerns, and thus the classification is not so applicable to practical cases. Women are often the worst victims of violence on state, community or household levels such as wars, religious conflicts and domestic violence. Women are also threatened by unequal access to food, resources, education, and so on. In this sense, insuring freedom from want for all persons through effective and gender-responsive ODA would be more functional for people-centered stability than armed interventions.

At the same time since national interests and political concerns are unavoidably embedded in the ODA, it could often makes the "human security" concept distorted. From the human security perspective, the assistance to "fragile states" is necessary; however the ODA should be deliberately designed from the political perspective. This is the dilemma of "human security" and "fragile states" in ODA policy.

The ODA policy is dealt with as collateral with diplomatic policy rather than the social policy which requires more comprehensive approach and policy coherences. The ODA policy is required to be more integrated to social policy, and considered as/in the connection with domestic issues. p>Full paper download: Takamatsu K_ODA Policy Reform.pdf