This chapter analyzes the role of civic movements in the development of the Korean welfare state. In Korea, both labor unions and employers have been largely indifferent towards social welfare, and leftist parties have traditionally been weak. In this situation, civic groups rooted in the country’s democratization movements have greatly contributed to the development of Korea’s welfare state. Civic movement groups have forged pro-welfare coalitions with progressive presidents, created policy alternatives, and mobilized public support in order to overcome their organizational weaknesses. Civic organizations using soft power resources have made remarkable achievements in a diverse range of social policy areas, including the National Basic Livelihood Security Act.
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