Institutional Legacy of State Corporatism in Deindustrial East Asian Labour Markets

Friday, 3 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
CLM.3.07 (Clement House)
Sophia Seung-yoon Lee, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea
The process of de-industrialization has created a new economic environment for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan different from their glorious period of economic development. While the structural changes in the labour market took place rather rapidly, accompanying institutional change has been more gradual. Each country has been adjusting to the new labour market challenges whilst maintaining some core institutional arrangements creating different labour market risks. Both Korea and Japan experienced a sharp increase of atypical workers in de-industrial period. Taiwan, however, suggests that such a high share of atypical workers in the workforce is not a norm for all advanced East Asian economies. This paper investigates on how institutional legacy of state corporatism matters in explaining two aspects that have differed in these three East Asian economies: i) the rapid increase in the number of atypical workers; and ii) the gendered character of atypical employment, i.e. the disproportionate concentration of women in atypical employment. In this paper, I test my argument using comparative historical analysis of welfare production regimes in the three countries between the industrial period (1940s to 1980s) and their de-industrialization period (1990s -). This paper suggests that the historical background in East Asian countries and institutional arrangements of state corporatism have major implications in understanding the difference among CMEs: group-based coordination (keiretsu and chaebol) which differs from industry-based coordination (as in European nations of CMEs), firm-specific skills (as in Japan and Korea) which is not identical with the industry-specific firm-specific skill mix (as in Germany).