South Korea

About South Korea

Researchers at Meeting in South Korea

Empirical evidence based on the South Korean economy suggests that the current structure of the paid care sector, rigid work arrangements, and entrenched gender norms may have pushed the South Korean economy into a state in which there are tensions between promoting women’s labor force participation and gender equality on one hand and meeting the growing demand for caregiving on the other. Men and women experience these strains in caring for their households, engaging in social activities, and participating in the labor market.   Recent policy actions of the South Korean government acknowledge the need to address the structural constraints related to the care economy. These policies have swiftly evolved from simply lowering the financial burden of care through subsidization to recognizing, reducing, and redistributing the unpaid care burden (3Rs framework) by expanding childcare provision, promoting flexible work arrangements, widening the social security coverage, improving the quality of long-term care and changing gender norms. Furthermore, a recent IMF mission to South Korea has called for an expansionary fiscal policy in the form of higher expenditures on social policies, such as childcare. Assessing the effectiveness of these policies at reversing the decline in fertility, low levels of female labor force participation, stagnant labor force growth, will require a deeper understanding of the care economy in South Korea and a comprehensive macroeconomic framework.

Meet South Korea Researchers

Seung-Eun Cha
Seung-Eun Cha
Associate Professor - University of Suwon
Ki-Soo Eun
Ki-Soo Eun
Professor of Sociology and Demography - Seoul National University
Jiweon Jun
Jiweon Jun
Postdoctoral Research Fellow - University of Toronto, Seoul National University
Eunhye Kang
Eunhye Kang
Doctoral Student - Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
Young Ock Kim
Young Ock Kim
Senior Fellow - Korean Women’s Development Institute
Kijong Kim
Kijong Kim
Research Scholar - Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Hyuna Moon
Hyuna Moon
Senior Researcher - Institute of International Affairs, Seoul National University
Ito Peng
Ito Peng
Professor - University of Toronto
Jooyeoun Suh
Jooyeoun Suh
Postdoctoral Fellow - Institute for Women's Policy Research

South Korea POSTS

A Gendered Social Accounting Matrix for South Korea

A social accounting matrix (SAM) is an economy-wide consistent representation of the payments in an economy, linking production, primary factors, and institutions (the latter often split into households, government, and the rest of the world). In the words of Round (2003), “it is a comprehensive, flexible, and dis-aggregated framework which elaborates and articulates the generation
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Close up of woman using a walker

Glimpse of Family Caregivers’ Context: Actual time vs. Desired time for Care

Attitudes towards family care are changing. Only 27% of Koreans surveyed in 2018 agreed that the family is responsible for elderly family member care. As for population aging, the middle age group of Korean society is becoming a true “Sandwiched Generation” (supporting both unmarried children and elderly parents) due to the longevity increase among elderly
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Nurse holding an elderly patient's hand

Family Caregivers’ Elder Care: Understanding Their Hard Time and Care Burden

In response to the imminent aging problem in South Korea, the National Long-Term Care Insurance (NLTCI) system was introduced in 2008. The goal of the NLTCI was to give support to the families who are taking care of their elderly. The burden of family care can be grouped into four broad categories – unpaid and
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Care Arrangement and Caregiving Activities in South Korea: An analysis of 2018 Care Work Family Surveys on Childcare and Eldercare

The rise of the care crisis in South Korea has evolved with Korea’s demographic shifts, increasing female work force participation, and changes in the norms and values of family and care over previous decades. Childcare and eldercare, once regarded as women’s typical role within family, are now gaining more social recognition in the public realm.
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Measuring the Overall Strain of Caregiving: A Multidimensional Approach

Providing care for others, especially for the frail elderly and young children, is one of the most important forms of human work that sustains our existence. However, caregiving is also often challenging and strenuous. Many informal caregivers are known to suffer negative physical, emotional, and social outcomes, and are at risk of losing their own
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