nep-cna New Economics Papers
on China
Issue of 2007‒06‒23
three papers chosen by
Zheng Fang
Ohio State University

  1. Pension Reform in China: The Need for a New Approach By Vivek B. Arora; Steven Vincent Dunaway
  2. The Social Protection of Rural Workers in the Construction Industry in Urban China By Bingqin Li; Huamin Peng
  3. Transforming the developmental welfare states in East Asia By Huck-ju Kwon

  1. By: Vivek B. Arora; Steven Vincent Dunaway
    Abstract: The rapid aging of China's population over the next few decades makes it important for a new pension system with broad and adequate coverage to be put in place quickly. Pension reforms, first initiated in 1997, have become bogged down in difficulties over dealing with the "legacy costs" associated with the relatively more generous benefits provided under the old system. This paper argues that a way forward is to separate the legacy problem from the problem of setting up a new pension system, and it suggests concrete proposals for setting up such a new system which would cover both urban and rural workers.
    Date: 2007–05–07
  2. By: Bingqin Li; Huamin Peng
    Abstract: The construction industry is important for Chinese rural to urban migrants. Over 90% of urban construction workers are rural migrants, and over a third of all rural migrants work in construction. The construction industry is not only particularly important, but is also different from other industries in its pay and labour recruitment practices. In common with other rural workers, construction workers have long suffered from various problems, including delayed payment of salaries and exclusion from urban social security schemes. State policies designed to deal with these problems have in general had mixed success. Partly as a result of the peculiarities of the construction industry, state policy has been particularly unsuccessful in dealing with the problems faced by construction workers. This paper considers both the risks rural workers in the construction industry face because of the work they do and the risks they face and because of their being rural workers. It shows that social protection needs to take into account both the work related risks and status related risks. The authors first review the literature concerning work related risks, and then build up a framework to analyse the risks embedded in their work and status, and the relationship between these risks and the existing formal social protection. Thirty one in depth interviews with construction workers, carried out in Tianjin, PRC, are used to demonstrate both the risks and the inability of the state-led social policy to tackle these risks. The results suggest that rural construction workers in cities were exposed to all sorts of problems from not being paid for their work in time to miserable living conditions, from having to pay for their own healthcare to no savings for old age. This paper highlights the problems of policy prescriptions that failed to recognise the complexity of the problems faced by these workers and criticises the tendency to seek quick fixes rather than long-term and careful institutional design.
    Keywords: social security, rural-urban migrants, construction workers, industrial organisation, social exclusion, People’s Republic of China, work related risks
    JEL: H75 H87 I38 J18 J28 J8 O15 O53 P25
    Date: 2006–11
  3. By: Huck-ju Kwon
    Abstract: This article attempts to explain changes and continuity in the developmental welfare states in Korea and Taiwan Province of China (hereafter Taiwan) within the East Asian context. It first elaborates two strands of welfare developmentalism (selective vs. inclusive), and establishes that the welfare state in those countries fell into the selective category of developmental welfare states before the Asian economic crisis of 1997. Secondly, this paper argues that the policy reform toward an inclusive welfare state in Korea and Taiwan was triggered by the need for structural reform in the economy. Lastly, this paper argues that the idea of an inclusive developmental welfare state should be explored in the wider context of economic and social development.
    Keywords: Developmental Welfare State, Social Policy, Korea, Taiwan, East Asia
    JEL: O10 I38 D78
    Date: 2007–07

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