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The political economy of social investment policies: evidence from the OECD countries

Park, Jaehyoung (2022) The political economy of social investment policies: evidence from the OECD countries. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004415


Since the mid-1990s, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have developed social investment policies that include active labour market policies (ALMPs) and work-family policies (WFPs). Employing qualitative as well as quantitative methods, this thesis investigates the effectiveness and determinants of social investment policies. The first paper tests the Matthew effect of social investment in terms of employment. It shows the existence of so-called Matthew effect that childcare and training benefit medium-educated workers in getting jobs more than lower- and higher-educated workers in fifteen European countries in the period 1992-2013. The second paper, motivated by the intersectionality between class and gender, explores whether WFPs have the negative consequences in terms of gender equality and how the effects are different by women’s education level. This means the welfare state paradox and gendered trade-offs argument. Using macro-level data on fifteen European countries for 1992-2013, this paper finds that childcare and maternity and parental leave increase gender occupational segregation. Unlike the first and second papers, the third paper, focusing training, investigates the causal mechanism of how different skill preferences and different attitudes over training costs between employers, trade unions, and the state. An in-depth case study of South Korea shows that segmentalist coalitions of the three players play important role in changing institutions, skill formation systems, resulting in either an incremental institutional change or a transformative change of institutions. Three broader contributions can be suggested. First, social investment policies may bear on the recent growth of atypical employment and dualisation of the labour market. Second, the WFPs in particular may be related to the growth of glass ceiling and female ghettos with possibly considerable gender inequality. Third, the detrimental distributional outcomes may be contingent upon unequal power relations between political actors and their segrementalist cross-class coalitions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Jaehyoung Park
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Supervisor: Fleckenstein, Timo and Platt, Lucinda

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