SOCIAL WELFARE IN EAST ASIA
2018/2019, Semester 2
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Lee Kuan Yew School Of Public Policy)
Modular Credits: 4
How is social welfare organised in East Asia? What are the unique strengths and vulnerabilities? This course examines the origins, structure, and performance of social welfare systems in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea, and analyses their distinctiveness relative to the mature welfare states of Europe and other developed economies. Students will be trained to combine major theoretical perspectives such as developmentalism, neoliberalism, and welfare regimes with empirical understanding of country cases using a critical and comparative approach.
PP5150: Social welfare in East Asia Course Syllabus, AY2018-19
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (NUS) Instructor: Dr Ng Kok H
Li Ka Shing Building #02-16, Office hour: Thursday 1-2pm
Objectives and learning outcomes
This course examines the origins, development, and performance of social welfare systems in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Korea. Surveying a range of social policies related to pensions, housing, work, and long-term care, the course considers the distinctiveness and diversity of welfare provision in the region, its capacity to respond to emerging risks, and what it contributes to wider debates about the evolution and adaptation of social welfare. The course combines key theoretical perspectives such as developmentalism, neoliberalism, and welfare regimes with empirical understanding of the four cases in a critical and comparative way. At the end of the course, students will be able to:
Describe the history and structure of welfare systems in East Asia
Identify major policy challenges in specific social welfare domains
Explain how policy development is affected by diverse policy conditions
Assess policy prospects in view of these challenges and conditions
Part I of the course focuses on the concepts required to articulate policy development, challenges and prospects. Seminars begin with a lecture outlining the main ideas for the week’s topic, followed by group tasks related to the seminar questions. Part II is concerned with empirical policy issues in the four societies. Seminars open with a brief lecture charting the terrain in the policy domain, followed by student presentations and discussions.
Part I: Concepts
The origins and structure of East Asian social welfare
The aims and design of welfare
The outcomes of welfare
Productivism, neoliberalism, and social investment
Developmentalism and democratization
Confucianism and familialisation
Part II: Issues
Social assistance and workfare
* Site visit *
Part III: Summary
12. Summary and case report consultations
There is no exam for this course. Assessment is based on:
Preparation, attendance and participation, 20%
Learning in a small elective class depends on active participation from every student. Assessment will be based on attendance and contributions to all modes of discussion, including during the lectures, group tasks, and discussion groups. Contributions are expected to reflect familiarity with the readings and to engage with the seminar topics and the group’s conversation. Raising questions and sharing doubts as part of the learning process are important forms of contribution too.
Response paper, 30% (printed essay due at beginning of class, week 7, 7 March; IVLE submission due at the end of the same day)
For this individual assignment, students are asked to select one of the seminar questions from Weeks 1 to 6 and write a brief response of no more than 2,000 words. Students may draw from the relevant readings, ideas raised in the lectures and classroom discussions, and other material to address these questions:
What do you understand by the seminar question?
What are the possible responses to this question?
What is your position on the issue?
What is the evidence for your point of view?
Case report, 40% (printed essay due at beginning of class, week 13, 18 April; IVLE submission due at the end of the same day)
The case report is a group assignment. Each student will select one policy domain (pensions, social assistance, housing, care) in one of the four cases (Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea). Students working on the same case will form a group. The assignment tests understanding of the concepts in Part I of the course and application of these concepts to diverse policy domains in one society. As such, it should demonstrate a synthesis of concepts and empirical detail. In no more than 4000 words, students are asked to:
Describe the general approach to social welfare in that society
Identify the major features and challenges across the four policy domains
Analyse the prospects for policy response and change
There will be two rounds of presentation. (1) From Week 7 to 10, students will deliver individual presentations of their preliminary research, explaining the policy design and challenges in their policy areas. This presentation is not graded. It is meant to help students with their case reports. (2) In Week 13, the four groups will present their findings to the class. This presentation will make up 10% of the final course grade. Assessment is based on content, delivery, and timekeeping.
For all written work, full formal referencing is expected. Apart from content, grading will take into account the accuracy and clarity of expression, and overall presentation. The word limits apply strictly. They include tables, figures, and footnotes, but not references. No deadline extensions are possible. Papers that are too long or submitted late will incur a grade penalty. Students are reminded that plagiarism is a serious academic offence.
The readings in Part I of the course have been selected to introduce students to the most influential ideas in East Asian social welfare. They are a mix of classic texts and more recent material. These readings form the central pillar of the learning process. Effective learning depends critically on completing these readings every week. Familiarity with the material will also be a strong advantage when writing the assignments.
The readings in Part II of the course are specific to the four societies and meant to support the writing of the Term Paper. These should be regarded as starting points and further research is required for the paper. Students are encouraged to do the readings each week even for policy topics they are not writing about, as these will strengthen understanding of cross-domain policy issues and cross-national policy patterns.
There is a sizeable literature on East Asian social welfare. The following are useful background texts on a wide range of social policy issues in the region:
M. Izhuhara (Ed.). (2013).
Handbook on East Asian social policy
. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.[ebook]
Ramesh, M. (2004).
Social policy in East and Southeast Asia: Education, health, housing and income maintenance.
R. Goodman, G. White, & H. Kwon (Eds.). (1998).
The East Asian welfare model: Welfare orientalism and the state
. London: Routledge.[ebook]
Workload Components : A-B-C-D-E
A: no. of lecture hours per week
B: no. of tutorial hours per week
C: no. of lab hours per week
D: no. of hours for projects, assignments, fieldwork etc per week
E: no. of hours for preparatory work by a student per week