Continuity and Change in Korean Welfare Regime ; After 1990

한국 사회복지정책의 변화와 지속;1990년 이후를 중심으로

  • Published : 2003.11.30


This article examines the continuity and change of Korean welfare regime during 1990s. Democracy, globalization and the financial crisis changed the landscape of Korean society as a whole and provided a catalyst for the change of the Korean welfare regime. In order to show how and what changed in Korean welfare regime, this study concentrates on the transformations of income maintenance programmes and social welfare services. The changed aspects are as follow: (1) The ratio of social expenditure to GDP has increased during 1990s and now stood at ten percent level. (2)Rather than backing up the company welfare, government strove to build and expand income maintenance devices for all citizens. (3) The poverty and inequality reduction effects of income maintenance programs are very weak in early 1990s, but they are gradually getting stronger impact on poverty and inequality. But, there are also continuance. (1) In spite of the relative development of income maintenance programs, social welfare services are still poorly designed as before. (2) The expenditure level of social welfare services shows sharp contrast to income maintenance programs and lagged behind the other OECD countries. (3) The expansion of social service sector employment are also not so salient. In 2002, social service employment is only at close to 2.5 per cent of the total employment. Accordingly, korean welfare regime is now characterized by a model which is to curb poverty and inequality by engaging in direct government provision of income maintenance programs, but refrain from expanding social service by relying on net welfare which encourage the provision of services within the family. A implication of our analysis is that the expansion of social welfare Korea saw after 1997 was not really an regime shift. According to the arguments of Peter Hall, first and second order changes in policy do not automatically lead to third order changes which imply regime shift. Policy changes which occurred during 1990s was not accompanied by a shift in policy paradigms. Family dependency in welfare is not yet changed.