Julia Shu-Huah Wang, Assistant Professor of Social Work, The University of Hong Kong
Qin Gao, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work; Director, China Center for Social Policy
East Asian social welfare systems have been traditionally described as productivist regimes in which most social investments focus on elements of welfare that can induce economic growth. Emerging literature points to evolving and divergent features of social safety nets within East Asia. Although these inquiries are informative, extant East Asian welfare comparative research often focuses on a limited set of social policies and seldom captures the bundle of welfare programs or the contexts in which these programs operate (e.g., tax systems and service costs). This study extends the understanding of East Asian welfare systems by comparing social safety nets in China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan using a model family approach to collect income-packaging data in each country and utilizing secondary data from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS). We will first employ a model family approach to shed lights on the eligibility and benefit levels of safety nets in each country. This approach entails collecting detailed income package data for 2019. Specifically, income packages include labor income; cash benefits; tax benefits; and the cost of services such as health care, education and childcare in each country for each family profile. A family profile consists of a family type and income class. We will compare distributions of labor income, tax liability, cash benefits, and service costs using descriptive statistics and visualization methods. Next, we will utilize the LIS data to investigate the social safety nets’ coverage across income distribution and poverty spectrum (% of poverty line) using quantile regression models. This study’s findings can contribute to the debate on the contemporary landscape of East Asian welfare models and inform policymakers in East Asia of the strengths of social safety nets in their countries relative to others.
This event will be conducted via Zoom. Please click here for more information including how to register.
Co-sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the School of Social Work & China Center for Social Policy at Columbia University.