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At the end of 1997, Korea was hit by a major financial and economic crisis, which resulted, among other things, in a huge rise in unemployment. The event caught the country’s labour and social institutions unprepared, so that many workers and their families were hit hard.
The economy has now turned the corner. This book shows that government labour and social policies, together with improved basic workers’ rights, have helped minimise the costs of the crisis while also contributing to overcome it. However, this book also highlights the need for further actions in these areas in order to pave the way for a healthy, socially-sustainable economic performance and argues the case that the momentum of reform should not be slowed.
Table of Contents
Until the 1997 financial crisis, Korea exhibited one of the most impressive economic records of modern capitalism. In 1953, the country emerged from the ashes of the Korean War as one of the poorest in the world. Several decades of rapid economic development followed, as amply documented in many studies, and, in 1996, Korea became member of the OECD.
With the advent of the financial crisis, the impressive economic development process came to a sudden halt. The crisis hit many workers and their families hard, in a country where the social safety-net was not as firmly established as in other OECD countries.
However, the economy has now turned the corner. GDP has grown vigorously over the past few quarters and the prospects are for a continuation of the solid recovery underway. The recovery owes much to supportive macroeconomic policies, including the substantial devaluation of the Won that occurred at the beginning of the crisis. However, the implementation of structural reforms, including in the area of labour and social policies, has also played an essential part in the recovery.
CHAPTER 1. THE LABOUR MARKET
B. Economic development, the financial crisis and the labour market
C. Current labour market challenges
CHAPTER 2. INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND LABOUR LAW REFORM
B. The actors in industrial relations
C. Characteristics and outcomes of collective bargaining
D. Recent labour law reforms
CHAPTER 3. LABOUR MARKET PROGRAMMES AND THE PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT SERVICE
B. The Employment Insurance System and unemployment benefits
C. Active labour market policies
D. Public and private employment services
CHAPTER 4. SOCIAL SAFETY-NET POLICIES
B. The changing social policy context
C. The present social assistance system
D. Introducing the concept of “productive welfare” into social assistance programmes
Annex A – Key Players in the Korean Labour Market
Annex B – Selected Features of Social Policies
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