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This paper analyses the relationship between social assistance and poverty in South Korea. Social assistance in Korea which had had a Poor Law tradition for about forty years, was finally reformed and a new social assistance scheme designed to protect fundamental human rights, was established in 2000. Are the means-tested social assistance benefits effective in protecting the poor from hardship? How effectively do the means-tested benefits reduce poverty?

To assess the effects of the means-tested social assistance benefits in Korea on poverty reduction, this paper uses household data from the National Basic Livelihood Security Programme Review Board (NRB). Moreover, to obtain a comparative perspective, a British dataset the Family Resources Survey (FRS) is assessed. The incidence and the intensity of poverty for a range of household types are analysed before and after social assistance benefits for both countries. The results of the analysis show the Korean social assistance benefits do not radically alleviate poverty, although recipients' income positions are improved after social assistance transfers. Compared to Korea, Britain achieved marked success of means-tested social assistance benefits with a high degree of effectiveness, especially among the extreme and the severe poverty brackets, while there are variations between different household types regarding the incidence and the intensity of poverty before and after transfer. Some suggestions are made for reforming social assistance benefit.

The primary focus of this study is to examine the characteristics of the asset poor and to empirically investigate those factors affecting the likelihood of the asset poor's poverty exit and entry. The 2nd wave through 8th wave data from KLIPS were used for analysis. The asset poverty lined of 50% of the household net asset was set up so that households below 50% are classified as the asset poor. The characteristics of the asset poor were examined in a static manner by analyzing only the 8th wave KLIPS data.. To investigate those factors affecting the likelihood of asset poor's poverty transferral with a dynamic perspective, the authors employed two survival analysis methods, the life table analysis and the Time-dependent Cox regression analysis. Based on the findings, some recommendations were made for future policy efforts to support the asset poor and for the current poverty policies as well.. In specific, if the 'Individual Development Account' is to be initiated in the future, it would be essential to build a systematic model to utilize accumulated asset by enhancing job competencies and ability to gain a decent job.

Presentation slides: Kang_Yoo_2009_asset_poor.pdf

Japan is one of the countries being hit hardest by the global financial crisis. The layoff of temporary workers attracts public attention. However, there also exists a working class called "the working poor" in Japan, whose working conditions remain the same as those of the temporary workers. A high percentage of "the working poor" is dominated by divorced or single mothers and their children. In this presentation, several issues related to the working poor are addressed, including the situations the women face in everyday life.

The annual income of the working poor is estimated to be less than one half of the average general household income in Japan. Consequently most of them are pushed towards the poverty line. The presenter emphasizes politically thorny issues, such as woman's labor policy and delays in the maternal and child welfare measures. These issues have not been solved by the "Work First" model - the recent working aid package proposed by the Japanese government. It is obvious that public assistance and wages in the labor market are inadequate for the working poor. Inevitably most mothers are forced to take care of their child/children and, at the same time, work for a livelihood. These conditions deprive the children of such families of both the opportunity for a higher education and of adequate medical care. The vicious sequence is likely to ensue as generations of the poverty continue to exist.

The presenter proposes that rectification of the current labor policy with regard to child care plans should be implemented in order to alleviate poverty issues. She will also discuss some issues on education in connection with welfare policy.

Full paper: Yoshinaka_2009_working_poor.pdf