This chapter examines labour market deregulation in China, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. It suggests an analytical framework organized around four key dimensions of social regulation that facilitate systematic discussion and international comparisons among these countries, and addresses the question of a reform-driven informalization of employment, finding only mixed evidence of such an outcome. Attention is also drawn to policy-based efforts to address the sociopolitical tensions of labour market deregulation, including the expansion of social insurance systems and new patterns of welfare support. It shows that these programmes have derived in part not only from elite economic strategies, as suggested by the existing literature, but also by a variety of political forces as well. And contrary to a literature that largely marginalizes the political role of Asian labour, it is argued that labour politics have in fact been an important influence on social and labour policy in the region.
Keywords: East Asia; China; South Korea; Thailand; labour market deregulation; social insurance systems; Philippines; social regulation; welfare support
Chapter. 8127 words.
Subjects: Political Economy
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