From ‘New Social’ to ‘Covid Social Risks’? The challenges for inclusive society in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan amidst the global pandemic

Young Jun CHOI, Stefan KÜHNER, Shih Jiunn SHI

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


While old and new social risks have aggravated citizens’ welfare in de-industrialized and ageing societies, the global Covid-19 pandemic has created tremendous hazards to citizens’ well-being around the world. It is now clear that incidence, hospitalisation, and mortality rates have varied by individual and regional socioeconomic indicators. In comparison, less is still known about the indirect social and economic losses following the global Covid-19 pandemic and to what extent they have disproportionately affected different groups of people. In this article, we carefully examine the newly emerging Covid-19 related risks in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and discuss whether newly emerging divides in the areas of employment, skills and knowledge, health, care, and relationships can be meaningfully distinguished from existing theoretical conceptions of social risks. We also provide a brief summary of the government responses to the global pandemic and empirically examine how these risks emerged in the three East Asian societies. We argue that the three East Asian societies have confronted ‘Covid social risks’ that are qualitatively different from the established understanding of old-industrial, and new social risks. We conclude that East Asian governments will have to find a new policy mix to facilitate individuals’ ability to absorb ‘Covid social risks’, and that is more conducive to alleviating increasing inequalities in terms of people’s income, assets, human capital, and gender. The emerging post-productive, social investment paradigm across East Asia is unlikely, on its own, to posit a sufficient response to the challenges posed by Covid-19 and other potential future global hazards.


ConferenceThe 17th Annual Conference of the East Asian Social Policy Research Network & The 27th Annual Conference of the Foundation for International Studies on Social Security
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Internet address


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