Thursday, May 27, 2010
[IWS] KLI (Korea): EVALUATION OF KOREA'S ACTIVATION POLICY AND DIRECTION FOR DEVELOPMENT
IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau
Korea Labor Institute (KLI)
e-Labor News No. 97
Evaluation of Korea's Activation Policy and Direction for Development∗
Deok Soon Hwang∗∗
[full-text, 39 pages]
This paper reviews the significance to Korea of activation policies that have recently
been adopted around the world and investigates what conditions are required if such policies are
to be implemented effectively in Korea.
Many aspects of Korea's unemployment-benefit system resemble those of an activation
policy. Among these, the requirement that unemployment-benefit recipients register as a
job-seeker, the use of profiling systems to categorize recipients and individual action plans (IAP),
and the obligation of recipients to periodically visit public employment-service agencies and
engage in job-seeking activities show Korea to be applying stronger activation policies than other
OECD countries. One exception is the fact that unlike other OECD countries, Korea does not
have a system that forces recipients to participate in active labor market programs when they
receive unemployment benefits for a certain period (OECD, 2007).
Paradoxically, it is difficult to conclude that Korea's unemployment-benefit system does
in fact contribute to the activation of unemployed workers. This paper seeks to investigate why
such inconsistencies occur as well as the possibility and conditions for successful activation
policies in Korea, with a focus on the implementation process and delivery systems for
The organization of this paper is as follows. First, it examines the concept of activation
policies. It is necessary to clarify the concept of activation policies used in this paper because a
multidimensional approach that covers not only specific programs but also changes in the
ideological goals of a welfare state is possible. Next, the paper looks at the key characteristics of
the Korean labor market and their significance from the viewpoint of activation. The paper then
discusses the characteristics of key welfare programs and labor market policies that can be
viewed in relation to activation policies. Next, it examines how Korea's current
employment-support services can be evaluated from the viewpoint of activation policies by
focusing on employment-service delivery systems. Finally, the results of the study are put
together to discuss the possibility and conditions for the success of activation policies in Korea.
* This paper was originally presented at the seminar "Activation Policies and the Performance of Employment Services," organized by the Korea Ministry of Labor and the OECD, in cooperation with the Korea Labor Institute, in Seoul in November 4, 2009.
** Senior Research Fellow, Korea Labor Institute (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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