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The Changing Shape of Care-time Diamond: Social Care Expansions in the 21st Century in Korea

An, Mi Young 1

1국민대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Traditionally, caring for young children and the elderly has been largely assumed and practiced intensively within the family in Korea. The Korean government established residual protection systems for the elderly as well as children whose needs could not be met by their family members alone. However, in the 21st century, a number of social forces have made it ecessary to expand the state’s intervention in the care provisions. The primary forces include the ageing process, low fertility, change in the women’s labour market participation, changes in the family formation and dissolution, and changes in the people’s perceptions of familial responsibilities regarding caring for other family members. This paper employs and further develops the idea of the care diamond conceived by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development Project in relation to the political and social economy of care and applies it to Korea’s social care expansions. The analysis demonstrates that the roles of the public and the market sector, in case of child care, increased while those of the third sector decreased. Apropos of the elderly care, the role of the market expanded dramatically, followed by that of and the state and the third sector. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the fundamental characteristics of Korea’s care provision for children and the elderly have remained unchanged and even strengthened where the elderly care is concerned. The bulk of personal care demand is still met within the family, particularly by female members of the household.

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.