Korean’s Work-Family Balance Policy during 1990 and 2014 from the Perspective of Defamiliarization, Decommodification: Especially Focusing on Maternity Leave, Parental Leave, and Childcare Policies

Jeon, Yoon-Jeon. 2015. Journal of Korean Women’s Studies 31(3): 179-218.

This study aimed at looking into the developments of Korea’s work-family balance policy during the period of 1990 and 2014 from the perspective of historical institutionalism. Cluster analysis and multidimensional scale analysis showed that the work-family balance policy emerged in full swing in 2001 making a deviation (temporary) from its path and then displayed a tendency of regression in 2009.

In Korea, a work-family balance policy had been at a just nominal level from 1990 to 2000 in the state of commodification and familiarization. However after progressive President Kim Daejung was inaugurated in 2001, the work-family balance policy started gaining momentum leading to a temporary path departure. In a strong coalition with women’s rights organizations, civic groups, female groups, civil organizations, and labor organizations, the pro-women government embraced a maternity protection policy along with expanded usage of maternity leave and provision of paid parental leave. Driven by those advances, the work-family balance policy shifted its path from commodification to decommodification marking the year 2001 as threshold. However, the work-family balance policy was not able to join mainstream ones as the government designated the Employment Insurance as the financial provider of paid maternity or parental leave limiting eligibility of those benefits strictly to the employed women.

Second institutional shift had arisen in 2009 when President Myeongbak Lee was at the helm of the Korean government. The government renounced the publicness of childcare service and expanded childcare service provision by the private sector followed by adoption of childcare vouchers and childcare allowances as another tool of financial support for childcare. Those changes led the work-family policy to make a regression toward its path dependence under the influence of (re)familiarization.

However, hierarchical inequality emerged within the maternity and parental leave system due to its unique historical background and resulting institutional heritage. The childcare policies have acquired implicit familism as a result.


The Effect of Affirmative Action on Female Employment in Korea

Lee, Keunjae. 2016. Journal of Korean National Economy 34(2): 121-143.

This paper is to empirically examine the effect of affirmative action on female employment and the ratio of female managers in Korea, using a firm level data of Human Capital Corporate Panel surveyed by Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training. An empirical method of the Did(difference-in-difference) is employed to determine the increase in the ratios of female employment and female managers after affirmative action was initiated in 2006. One of major findings shows that there is no significant difference statistically in the ratios of female employment and female managers since the initiation of AA. The finding implies that the AA scheme in Korea is not designed well enough to provide incentives for firms to hire more female workers and promote more female workers to managerial level.

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