UK-South Korea. IPR-Yonsei Collaboration

Project: Research council

Project Details


A series of collaborations between the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath and the Institute of Welfare State Research at Yonsei University, South Korea. The two universities have previously enjoyed a fruitful partnership, and the proposed research and knowledge exchange collaborations are intended to build on this relationship. The collaborations consist of several conferences and workshops as well as a series of fellowships. As well as an academic partnership, the collaboration will include knowledge exchange with various government departments and think-tanks, and will enable the development of the capabilities and networks of Early Career Researchers.

The proposed collaboration seeks to develop research into seven key strands of research:
1. Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic for Welfare State Reform.
Under the measures to protect jobs and livelihoods in both countries, such as the UK's 'furlough' scheme and the Republic of Korea's short-term job retention scheme, how well did did these schemes perform? How well did they provide social security and maintaining employment?
2. Automation, Technology, Employment and the Labour Share: Tackling Inequality and Providing Inclusive Economic Growth
Each country has seen a decline in the labour share, and a rise in non-standard employment. Income inequality is relatively high in both countries. What is contributing to this decline? What is the role of in-work benefits and social security in this context?
3. Universal Basic Income: Pilots and Political Developments in the UK and Republic of Korea.
Interest in Universal Basic Income has risen during the Covid-19 pandemic, with several pilots planned or have taken place recently, such as in the Gyeonggi Province in South Korea, and two proposed by the Scottish and Welsh governments. What lessons can be learnt from the evaluations in South Korea? What has been proposed for the pilots in Scotland and Wales?
4. The Social Investment State in the UK and Korea, pre-and-post-pandemic: prospects and public policy options.
The UK and the Republic of Korea have seen extensive development of 'social investment' welfare state strategies in recent decades. However, investment has also been cut in many places in the UK and in Korea, employment rates are low and the gender-pay gap is high. Do social investment strategies ensure minimum levels of social protection? What are the political-economic institutions favouring social investment?
5. Young people, post-compulsory education and the future of the labour market.
Korea and the UK have amongst the highest rates of populations educated to tertiary level in the world. However, the pandemic has had a greater impact on vulnerable groups such as the low-paid and young people. What happened to the youth labour market during Covid-19? What reforms have occurred to vocational training? What issues are there amongst graduate unemployment?
6. Pensions and Social Care reform: A New Gerontocracy or Poverty in Retirement?
Korea is a rapidly ageing society, and the UK has a relatively low rate of Basic State Pension. What proposals for reforms into the funding and provisional of social care is there? What is the political economy of old age?
7. Employment, social security and public health: strengthening resilience to pandemics
Korea has no sickness benefits, but allowances were made during the pandemic for sick and hospitalised individuals. The UK has a low, flat rate statutory sick pay and made one-off payments to those required to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19 exposure. What inequalities were there in pandemic resilience? What effect did Covid-19 have on urban planning, employment and public health policy?

These research questions will be explored and answered by the proposed collaborations, with the intention of informing and shaping public policy, as well as producing high quality collaborative research intended for publication.
Effective start/end date1/02/2231/10/22


  • Economic and Social Research Council

RCUK Research Areas

  • Demography
  • Economics
  • Medical and health interface
  • Political science and international studies
  • Social policy
  • Environment And Health
  • Political Science


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