Chapter 2 Diversity of institutional change in East Asian social investment policy: the cases of Hong Kong and Taiwan
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Social investment that emphasises human-capital cultivation has emerged as a new social policy approach worldwide. This chapter uses Taiwan and Hong Kong to demonstrate widening institutional diversity in social investment initiatives responding to new social risks in East Asia. We argue that these initiatives are best understood as part of an adjustment of productivist features rather than a radical shift towards an East Asian post-productivist settlement. Factors that account for diverging social investment policy in Taiwan and Hong Kong include political advocacy coalitions that favour or discourage policy change, production regimes that shape the public-private mix of social provision, and existing social security systems that place constraints on the political and social actors involved. Given the increasing heterogeneity in institutional building and restructuring, the broad concept of social investment fails to fully capture the essence of a quickly changing East Asian policy landscape. Instead, we argue that a more nuanced perspective sensitive to institutional complementarities between social investment, labour market flexibilisation, and social protection is needed.

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