This paper investigates elite-level partisan differences along the socioeconomic dimension in three developed East Asian democracies – Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. On the one hand, the mainstream literature in welfare studies and party politics expects left- and right-leaning parties should vary significantly in utilizing social policy promises. On the other hand, the path dependency logic tells us that left–right difference should be found over particularistic benefits, such as agricultural subsidies or construction projects, considering that these were central means for right-leaning parties to maintain their power during the developmental state period in the three countries. Using an original bill-sponsorship data set between 1987 and 2012, we find that there has not been any substantial difference in the agenda setting of conventional social welfare bills between left- and right-wing government periods. However, a clear elective affinity can be observed between established right-wing parties and particularistic benefits. The paper shows that contextualizing key political actors' preferences can lead to a more systematic understanding of political dynamics behind the socioeconomic dimension in non-Anglo-European countries.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2020|
- welfare politics
- East Asia
- particularistic benefits
- path dependency