From a liberal standpoint, Hong Kong's welfare model is often seen as an embarrassment. On the other hand, conservatives hail it as a vindication of Hong Kong's free market system. Little consensus is reached on what the model actually is, the features that are unique to itself and what functions it fulfills in society. The paper is an
attempt to delve into these issues. It is argued that after 60 years of trial and error, Hong Kong has developed its special welfare approach that does not resemble the so-called residual paradigm nor the East Asian Welfare Model. The extant system represents a complex mix of residualist strands as well as priciples of universalism and
social equity. Under this system, the distributional effects vary across social classes. By the standards of advanced welfare states, the welfare system is lean but not too mean. In the delivery of welfare, both civil society and the state play important roles. A surprising discovery is that the state plays a bigger role than is commonly conceded. It is also found that the system exhibits considerable stability and effectivess, which can be attributed to broadly distributed benefits that cut across class lines. Nevertheless
the system faces key challenges that demand incremental improvements as well as new answers to emerging problems.
Full paper download: Wong L_Hong Kong Welfare Model.pdf