Developmental Welfare States?: Korea and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore

  • Jonathan D. LondonEmail author
Part of the Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy book series (PEPP)


This chapter compares welfare and inequality in the marketizing social orders of Korea and Taiwan, and Hong Kong and Singapore. Within in each of the two comparisons, the chapter provides a stylized overview of salient social relational attributes and dynamics, with particular attention to the nexus of politics an economy, and considers how marketization and local responses to it acted on political and economic processes, including the formation of social policy regimes and the provision and payment for essential services. In the latter regard the discussion centers on three welfare fields: education, health, and social protection, which are discussed in this order. The analysis observes that where in South Korea and Taiwan a series of democratically elected governments—including supposedly more conservative governments—voted for a string of measures that expanded the scale and scope of social policies, in Hong Kong and Singapore no such dynamic occurred. This, it is argued, owes to the unique, historically rooted political incentives for welfare state expansion that have been associated with patterns of state development and democratization in Korea and Taiwan, on the one hand, and the commitment to rigidly authoritarian liberal principles in the cases of Hong Kong and Singapore, on other. The chapter also explores differences within the two comparisons and concludes with reflections on the findings of the case comparisons, their limitations, and their implications for theory development.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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