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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2008): Pensions - overseas

A qualitative comparative analysis of strategies for an ageing society, with special reference to pension and employment policies

K.-S. Kim and Y. Lee

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 17, 2008, p. 225-235

There are numerous ramifications of population ageing, but this article focuses primarily on the different strategies that OECD states have adopted for old-age income maintenance. An ageing society requires a new old-age income maintenance system which should include income from benefits and earnings; such a system requires pension schemes to be revamped in a way that does not hinder people from working after retirement. Employment policies also need to be reshaped in a way that gives older people the chance to continue in paid work. This article classifies the welfare regimes of 16 OECD countries responding to population ageing into four types (welfare-to-work, welfare emphasis, labour emphasis and market emphasis) based on the leniency of the pension system and active state intervention in employment security.

Developmentalism in Korea: a useful tool for explaining the role of social security in the reduction of poverty and inequality

S.K. Kim and S.-W. Kim

Asian Social Work and Policy Review, vol. 2, 2008, p. 91-110

This article traces the development of the social security system for older people. Korea has both a contributory pension scheme and a means-tested social assistance programme for older people. The social assistance programme began in 1961. The contributory scheme, the National Pension, started belatedly in 1988 and its coverage was expanded to the whole population in 1999. This review shows that the principle of developmentalism guided the formation of the Korean pension system to 1997. In the developmentalist model, financial abundance is the essential prerequisite for the introduction of a social protection system. Any moves to eradicate poverty have to wait until the Treasury is full. However, following the economic crisis of 1997, the Korean social protection system is undergoing a radical shift from a developmental to a true welfare state model. A new, more generous, mean-tested social assistance programme was introduced in 2000, followed by a non-contributory old age pension, designed to alleviate poverty among the elderly, in 2007.

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