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Theorization of Korea’s Welfare State and the Incremental Change of Institution Perspective: Understanding the Pathway to Korea’s Small Welfare State

Myung-Suk Woo 1

1한국교원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article is expected to contribute to theorizing Korean welfare state in the post-democratization period. Influenced by historical institutionalism, the article takes the perspective of the ‘incremental change of institution.’ This work focuses on the main features of Korea’s path to a small welfare state rather than a detailed description of it. Theorization of Korea’s welfare state development during the post-democratization period has remained strongly contested. The examination of the main features of Korea’s welfare state development, relying on the framework of the incremental change of institution, demonstrates that welfare change has resulted from a complex process of contention and compromise among relevant players such as welfare reformers and reform-opponents. Korea’s persistent welfare orientation, a strong orientation of small public spending, has survived. This has strengthened Korea’s path to a small welfare state.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.