The welfare-work nexus in East Asia - a comparison of contexts, paths and directions

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-113
Journal / PublicationJournal of Asian Public Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


Focusing on the welfare-work nexus (i.e., the interface between passive-protective welfare policies and the active-productive work policies) in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, this article provides an overview and analysis of East Asia's social and labour strategies since the early 1990s. While a productivist approach, fuelled by neo-liberalism, has prevailed, these societies have established policies to protect the unemployed and poor. Confronted by a series of economic crises, subsequent restructuring and an increasing risk of unemployment, there has been more investment in active labour market policies, but that has not entailed an abandonment of protective welfare measures. In the early 1990s, there were few work and welfare initiatives. Both types of initiatives grew in tandem, beginning in the 1990s. Reforms to promote a better synergy between work and welfare took various paths, depending on whether they focused on employment services, occupations or skills improvement. Liberalization and deregulation since 1990s have prepared the groundwork for flexicurity. Improved social and human capital investment is needed to meet future challenges. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Research Area(s)

  • ALMP, East Asian, flexicurity, social investment, welfare-work nexus