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Institutional Varieties of Productivist Welfare Capitalism in East Asia

Kim, Myoung-Shik (2013) Institutional Varieties of Productivist Welfare Capitalism in East Asia. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Many existing East Asian welfare studies claim that, unlike advanced capitalist societies where social welfare generally embodies the successes of social democratic politics, East Asia’s social policy is strictly subordinate to the overriding policy objective of economic growth. They label this pattern as “productivist welfare capitalism” (PWC), viewing East Asian welfare states as a largely homogeneous productivist community. While acknowledging the basic features of PWC, this dissertation raises two puzzles.

The first question is whether productivist welfare states are really homogenous and converging institutionally. This study argues that, despite their longstanding state-led development strategies, East Asian capitalist states have developed markedly different sub-types of PWC. Focusing on the institutional formats, I categorize PWC into three types—(i) inclusive productivist welfare (IPW), (ii) market productivist welfare (MPW), and (iii) dualist productivist welfare (DPW). Unlike the current single-lensed productivist welfare thesis, this study asserts that, while some productiviest welfares states have developed social insurance-based schemes focusing on the “risk-pooling” principle (IPW), some others have expanded individual savings-based schemes emphasizing the “self-help” principle (MPW). Also, another group has pursued these two patterns simultaneously, revealing a dualist form (DPW). I conduct cluster analysis to test this presumed variation in PWC.

The second question is why the institutional divergence has taken place and becomes increasingly apparent. Why do some productivist welfare states enter the pathway to IPW while some others choose the direction of MPW? First, this dissertation contends that economic openness (free trade and liberalized financial markets) promotes MPW because savings-based social security is fit to the realization of the “self-reliance” principle. By contrast, IPW is more significant in less open economies where the government plays a major role in the market by controlling firms and banks and protecting skilled workers through privileged risk-pooling insurance schemes. The second argument is that democratic transition and electoral competition are positively associated with the expansion of IPW policies such as national pension and health insurance schemes. To test these arguments, this study has performed cross-sectional time-series analysis on data of eleven East Asian states and then three case studies including Korea’s IPW, Singapore’s MPW, and China’s DPW.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kim, Myoung-Shikmyk2@pitt.eduMYK2
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPeters, B. Guybgpeters@pitt.eduBGPETERS
Committee MemberRawski, Thomastgrawski@pitt.eduTGRAWSKI
Committee MemberHays, Judejch61@pitt.eduJCH61
Committee MemberRudra, Nitarudra@pitt.eduRUDRA
Date: 1 July 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 February 2013
Approval Date: 1 July 2013
Submission Date: 5 March 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 251
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Productivist Welfare Capitalism, Korea, Singapore, China
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2013 12:27
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:10


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