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ECPR General Conference 2020, University of Innsbruck

A Pathway of Korean Developmental Welfare State: Policy Borrowing and Reinforcing Dualisation

Presenter
SangHyeb Lee
Konkuk University (Seoul, South Korea)
Authors
SangHyeb Lee
Konkuk University (Seoul, South Korea)

Abstract
Historically, demands on the state from new social class, which were emergent bourgeoisie first and then the urban working class, played a role in the gradual extension of the franchise, and in similar vein, demands on the state (from more diverse and combined interests across the social class), played an important role in the new distributive conflict models of regime change. Korea’s recent welfare system seems to be espoused, designed and controlled by politics of inclusion (tripartism) after 1998’s reform projects, so that it might be seen as a wholesale transition to a pro-welfare state with interconnected social policy network and a favour of social bureaucrat. Is that really true?
The purpose of this research is two folds: first, the effect of social policy on welfare provision shall be examined. Questions are (1) how the workers protection programmes involved with other emerging (or existing) and changing institutions, and (2) to which way the social policy implemented and expanded immediately right after the 1997 economic crisis did contributed to reproduce the vicious cycle of dualism and inequality in the labour market. Second, the political dynamics on institutional implementation shall be illustrated. Questions are (1) who formed and evaluated the social policy and how. That is the matter of whether the state still had the initiative of institutional implementation, and (2) whether there were any veto possibilities in the policy-making process, accompanied with the transition of Korean developmental state model. To answer these questions, this research holds a theoretical position that the institutional complementarity could appear biased in contrast with the original intentions of each institution and policy makers, because the institutional outcome is a consequence of political conflicts on the gap in interpretation and enforcement between actors, and reflects the inherent ambiguity and pressures within the institution.
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