Politics, socioeconomic conditions and the welfare state: how politics and socioeconomic conditions have shaped the welfare regime in South Korea

dc.contributor.advisorPonlapat Buracomth
dc.contributor.authorSeil, Ohth
dc.descriptionThesis (Ph.D. (Development Administration))--National Institute of Development Administration, 2019th
dc.description.abstractIn any country with a political system based upon democracy, it has been conventional wisdom that center-left or progressive regimes tend to expand welfare programs, while center-right or conservative governments are more likely to dismantle the welfare state. However, in reality, any political party with a distinct political position on welfare policies is usually put under public scrutiny, which makes it risky for them to simply follow their traditional beliefs, without taking into account public reactions over welfare-related decision-making. Arguably, even conservative parties take progressive approaches—contrary to their beliefs—towards the welfare state, especially when elections are around the corner. In terms of the partisan effect on the welfare state, South Korea is an interesting example in the sense that parties from different political backgrounds have had the opportunity to run the country for almost the same amount of time during the last twenty years, which is the period that this study focuses on in regard to politics, socioeconomic conditions, and the welfare state. Based on data ranging from the late 1990s to the mid-2010s, the relationship between the welfare state and political/socioeconomic conditions is evaluated alongside policy implications, revealing the extent of the political progressivism of South Korean politics in relation to welfare development. The study reveals that South Korea’s social policies are not free from path dependence, similar to other welfare states. South Korea has witnessed a conservative party radically adopting progressive welfare plans in order to maintain its political power and ditching them soon after being elected as the party in power. The country also witnessed a progressive party losing power and having almost no chance to implement the welfare policies it had drafted in accordance with its progressive beliefs. In South Korea, conservative parties, traditionally regarded as market-oriented, are often successful in making themselves look like pro-welfare parties, even successfully winning elections. However, once they take political power, no path-breaking welfare policies are made by these regimes. The increase in social spending is rather due to natural phenomena, such as population aging or just the cost needed to maintain pre-existing welfare policies, many of which were designed by the previous progressive regimes. As one of the fastest-aging countries in the world, the South Korean welfare state will likely be more path-dependent in the future, suffering more from inequality and poverty problems. Therefore what is needed to tackle inequality and poverty effectively is the enhancement of the redistributive policy processes, which can be maintained regardless of the political regimes in power.th
dc.format.extent117 leavesth
dc.publisherNational Institute of Development Administrationth
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.th
dc.subject.otherKorea (South) -- Economic conditionsth
dc.subject.otherKorea (South) -- Politics and governmentth
dc.subject.otherKorea (South) -- Social conditionsth
dc.subject.otherPublic welfare -- Korea (South)th
dc.titlePolitics, socioeconomic conditions and the welfare state: how politics and socioeconomic conditions have shaped the welfare regime in South Koreath
dc.typetext--thesis--doctoral thesisth
mods.physicalLocationNational Institute of Development Administration. Library and Information Centerth
thesis.degree.departmentSchool of Public Administrationth
thesis.degree.disciplineDevelopment Administrationth
thesis.degree.grantorNational Institute of Development Administrationth
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyth
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