Abstracts & Papers in Stream 6

Some researchers have been convinced that welfare developments in East Asia, especially Japan and Korea, can be fitted into the existing three worlds of welfare model, while others have insisted that existing welfare regime theories are not able to explain East Asian welfare regimes. This article assumes that we need to go beyond both of these traditional explanations. In the welfare state research fields, welfare regime approaches tend to focus on specific contextual conditions and cross-national differences. As a result, they tend to overemphasize history at the expense of theory. This article tries to combine deductive causal modeling with an institutional-historical context by identifying the contingent rent political game model and deducing important characteristics of East Asian welfare regime from this model. This model opens out the possibility of change in East Asian welfare regimes following the processes of democratization and globalization. Details of this are given in the conclusion.

Full paper download: Hong K_beyond typology.pdf

Increasing number of studies has focused on categorizing Asian countries based on welfare programs. However, they relied on typologies based on Western countries or covered only a small number of Asian countries. A few studies examined Asian countries without the Western counterparts. As an alternative, we examined the overall development of the welfare programs of the nine Asian countries and 17 Western countries together. Previous studies have examined stratification effects, governmental roles, and financing methods of welfare programs. We developed a weflare state typoloy with the contents of welfare programs (program types, coverage, contributor, contribution type, benefit, and education). First, among both Asian and Western countries together, we found the three groups based on welfare program contents: (1) Hong Kong and Australia, (2) Provident fund system countries, (3) social insurance system countries relatively concerning health, (4) social insurance system countries with diverse old age pension programs. Second, among the Asian countries, in terms of the welfare program contents, we found three groups: (1) provident fund type countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore), (2) social insurance type countries (Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand), and (3) Hong Kong as an outlier. In terms of the welfare expenditure composition, we found a strong contrast between Asian and Western countries: the Western countries' focus on social security and the Asian countries on education. The present study suggests that we should examine both program contents and welfare efforts and cover Asian and Western experiences to understand peculiarities and similarities of each country's historical experiences in welfare institutions better.

Full paper download: Park C_asian welfare regimes.pdf

We undertake a comparative work to incorporate some heuristic instruments (in particular, from Esping-Andersen and other scholars) into the debate on societies that have belatedly or slowly begun the task of constructing welfare institutions. We introduce the comparison of Korean and Mexican welfare regimes. Mexico has paradoxically secured the dualized character of its system, with the construction of new institutions that serve to further embed the stratification of the social security and protection system: A stratified social security system, and also a stratified protection system for the poor. A good part of the previous Mexican dualism was due to omission (exclusion of rural workers and informal urban workers); now the dualism is institutionalized in a notably stratified social system. In Mexico there is not a strong political coalition in support of the social citizenship, but rather a conservative coalition has been created that seeks to carefully administer the limited benefits that are offered to the population in conditions of poverty, and the weakened de-comodification of the social institutions. Korea has been abandoning a residual system and can be placed in various characteristics of the conservative system (familialization) with some tendencies that would foster a social democratic pattern; but it is strongly limited by the private presence (comodifying) in health care. However, this limit will be fought by the gradual creation of groups (coalition) that promote the integral citizenship and promote an increase in rights. We can also mention the institutionalization of universalism, linked to limited markets and governed by public action (health), with declining familialization (but still socially strong). Korea is clearly a hybrid case.

Full paper download: Lomeli E_Korean and Mexican welfare regimes.pdf

China has been undergoing large-scale socio-economic transformation in the past three decades. With the shift from a planned economy to a market one, China's social security system has been transformed fundamentally. In order to make the inefficient state-owned enterprises to survive in the competitive market economy, the Chinese government has made great efforts to transform the traditional danwei (work unit)-based social security system into a multiple-tier social security system based on social insurance programs since the mid-1980s. However, the embryonic social insurance system has proven inadequate and inefficient to cope with the mounting unemployment and urban poverty caused by the reform of SOEs, and left more urban people outside the social protection system, which imposed a negative impact on social stability. In the late 1990s, to pacify the vulnerable social groups consisting of laid-off workers, unemployed, retirees, and poor farmers, the Chinese government started to reform its public assistance policy, and establish a social assistance system with the minimum living standard scheme (MLSS) its core. Focusing on the policy pertinent to the MLSS in China in general and in Guangdong in particular, this article aims to examine the social assistance policy in China and its impact on social development. It argues that though the MLSS indicates a statist approach to social development, the residual nature of the MLSS and the localization of the financial responsibility have hampered the role of social assistance policy in promoting people's wellbeing and social development in China.

Full paper download: Ngok K_social assistance policy.pdf

Welfare regimes are distinctive sets of institutional arrangements that govern the creation and allocation of welfare and its stratification effects. Welfare regimes analysis seeks to explain the historical determinants and stratification effects of welfare regimes in different geographical and historical settings. 'First generation' welfare regimes studies sought to explain variation in the welfare states of advanced capitalist countries in Western Europe and North America (Esping-Andersen 1987, 1990). More recent scholarship has sought to extend welfare regimes analysis to other economic and regional settings (see, for example, Gough and Wood 2006). It is suggestive that within the growing literature on welfare regimes, there have been few if any attempts to theorize welfare regimes in formerly state-socialist settings (for an exception, see Deacon 2000). But a standard assumption of welfare regimes analysis is that a country's welfare institutions exist and develop in interdependent relation with other social, political, economic, and cultural institutions. It is, by extension, reasonable to expect that the evolution and involution of state-socialism significantly affects the development of welfare regimes in the wake of state socialism. In this paper I extend the conceptual and theoretical foundations of welfare regimes analysis to explain divergence and convergence in the development of welfare regimes in Viet Nam and China.

Full paper download: London J_welfare regimes in state socialism.pdf