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Inequality in the WorkplaceLabor Market Reform in Japan and Korea$
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Jiyeoun Song

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452154

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452154.001.0001

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The Institutional Origins of the Labor Market and Social Protections in Japan and Korea

The Institutional Origins of the Labor Market and Social Protections in Japan and Korea

(p.67) 3 The Institutional Origins of the Labor Market and Social Protections in Japan and Korea
Inequality in the Workplace

Jiyeoun Song

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the origins and development of the labor market and social protections in Japan and Korea during the industrialization period. In the case of Japan, permanent employment practices consolidated a high level of employment protection at the firm and national levels in the postwar period. While shuntō, led by leading export-oriented private firms, played an important role in coordinating wage bargaining over the Japanese economy, its decentralized industrial relations formed a dualistic labor market along the lines of firm size and employment status. Nonetheless, its sustainable economic growth, lasting until the late 1980s, did not aggravate the serious problems of inequality and dualism in the Japanese labor market. Likewise, Korea's large firm-centered industrial policies as well as a small welfare state structured the dualistic labor market and social protection system. Nevertheless, the authoritarian state artificially preempted the rise of inequality and dualism through interventionist policies in the Korean labor market.

Keywords:   Japanese labor market, Korean labor market, social protections, industrialization period, shuntō, wage bargaining, industrial relations, dualistic labor market, interventionist policies, labor market inequality

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