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Title: Welfare politics in Northeast Asia : an analysis of welfare legislation patterns in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan
Author: Shim, Jaemin
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 692X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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The project mainly seeks to explain the structural logic behind the welfare expansion trend in three developed East Asian democracies-Korea, Japan, and Taiwan-since 1990. The major finding of the research is that the dispersed power structure (e.g. coalition, minority, divided governments) was a hitherto unnoticed significant political factor behind the transformation of fragmented, indirect, and weak welfare benefits into universal, direct, and generous ones. Unlike the conventional approach using welfare expenditure data in analysing welfare politics, the project examined possible relations between the changes in power structure and the legislative activities of major political actors using the whole universe of bills-roughly 50,000 in total-in three nations during the past two decades. Among others, the research focused on how dimensions such as the number, the success ratio, or the primary political sponsors have changed along with the different levels of power dispersion/concentration applying regression analyses. Moreover, the key analysis includes both orthodox and unorthodox social policies and applies multiple methods (e.g. social network analysis, media content analysis, or theory-informed narratives) to verify/triangulate/fine-tune findings from the legislation patterns. The result suggests that when bargaining among a number of parties/politicians prevailed, welfare policy tended to be premised on the lowest common denominator-the median voters such as consumers, women, labourers who often were unorganized and not geographically concentrated. As a result, the dispersed power structure went hand in hand with a loose but broad issue coalition-for specific welfare expansions-among academia, civil society, bureaucrats, and politicians irrespective of their ideology. In contrast, the concentrated power structure has seen radical turns to zero-sum political or ideological issues such as the constitutional reform in Japan or military measures toward North Korea/Mainland China in South Korea/Taiwan. This, in turn, marginalized welfare-related issues.
Supervisor: Neary, Ian ; Seeleib-Kaiser, Martin Sponsor: Japan Foundation ; Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan ; Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation ; Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available