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Building Markets

Distributional Consequences of Social Policy in East Asia

9781789901078 Edward Elgar Publishing
Gyu-Jin Hwang, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney, Australia
Publication Date: November 2022 ISBN: 978 1 78990 107 8 Extent: c 256 pp
Nowhere in the world presents a more dramatic case of wealth creation than East Asia. Contrary to the common belief that social policy in the economic powerhouses of the region is secondary to their pursuit of economic growth, Gyu-Jin Hwang argues that it has in fact played an integral part in building strong states and competitive market economies.

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Nowhere in the world presents a more dramatic case of wealth creation than East Asia. Contrary to the common belief that social policy in the economic powerhouses of the region is secondary to their pursuit of economic growth, Gyu-Jin Hwang argues that it has in fact played an integral part in building strong states and competitive market economies.

Building Markets examines the original four Newly Industrialised Economies (NIEs) of East Asia: Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, as well as Japan, the regional forerunner in both economic and social terms. Chapters undertake a comparative analysis of the various social policy measures and redistributive efforts taken across a diverse range of social policy sectors in the region, covering cash transfers, healthcare, education, housing, and family policy. Addressing the mounting pressure on East Asian economies to rethink their growth strategies, Hwang concludes with a call for social means to be diverted, adapted, and converted to serve new social ends.

Integrating cutting-edge theoretical insights with detailed policy analysis, Building Markets will be an invaluable tool for academics and postgraduate students interested in social policy, economics, and development in East Asia.
Critical Acclaim
‘Gyu-Jin Hwang shows that social policy in East Asia was always tied to capital accumulation and the building of markets. Hwang raises the crucial question of whether this model—perhaps appropriate for early phases of growth—can shield workers from risk in economies witnessing higher inequality and rapid technological change. He provides answers by looking at Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore: richer countries where many at the bottom still remain exposed.’
– Stephan Haggard, University of California San Diego, US

‘Gyu-Jin Hwang’s Building Markets offers comparative and international perspectives to analyse social change and social policy transformations in East Asia, demonstrating how changing socio-economic and broader political economy contests like the COVID-19 crisis have affected social policy formation. The present volume is highly relevant to policy analysts, researchers, postgraduate students, and practitioners working in social welfare and social policy sectors.’
– Ka Ho Mok, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
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