Reappraisal of the political approach on East Asian welfare state development: the case of childcare expansion in South Korea

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Political analyses of the East Asian welfare state development often stress the importance of the power resource model, in which vibrant coalitions between the leftist party, interest groups, civil society and working-class unions have become driving factors in producing generous welfare outcomes. Challenging such analyses, this article discusses the convergence of the political attitude between political actors who are increasingly homogeneous (supportive) when it comes to the universal welfare state notion by focussing on childcare in South Korea.

By using desk review of the peer-reviewed literature and reports, this article investigates the causation for why political parties with different political ideologies were keen on extending childcare programs and its outcome in addressing the existing demographic problems in Korea.

Although the collective movement, especially in the 1990s and 2000s, had given important contributions to the early development of childcare in South Korea, more breakthroughs in childcare features were precisely and rapidly developed after politicians from different spectrums of political affiliations converged in their supportive attitude of the universal welfare. The driving factors of political convergence itself are not merely due to electoral competition or political activism; furthermore, it can be linked to the increased global institution involvement in domestic policy with extensive permeability, which, have ruined domestic policy development maintained for ideological reasoning and bring in more popular policy setting.

This article contributes to the growing literature on the political aspect of East Asian social policy studies, which goes beyond the traditional power resource analysis and makes a novel contribution to the childcare policy studies.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)677-693
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number7/8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Childcare
  • Political convergence
  • East Asia
  • Power resources theory
  • South Korea
  • Welfare state

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