1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development (2000 - 2009)

The Reform of the Civil Service Pension Programme in Korea: Changes and Continuity (Draft)



The paper examines the Civil Service Pension Programme reform in the Republic of Korea in terms of policy processes and programme changes.

The Civil Service Pension Programme was developed within the framework of the developmental state, which has played the leading role in Korea’s economic development. Since Korea has undergone structural changes not only in terms of democratization but also in terms of the structural transformation of the economy and demographics, there has been increasing pressure on the reform of the welfare system in general and, in particular, of the Civil Service Pension Programme.

The primary aim of this paper is to examine the policy processes behind the reform of the Civil Service Pension Programme in Korea and, secondly, to determine whether the proposed reform will bring about fundamental changes in the nature of the Civil Service Pension Programme and to the overall public pension system in Korea.

The paper argues that while the recent reform of the Civil Service Pension Programme will consolidate the financing for the programme, the public pension system will remain by and large the same as before. Nevertheless, the emerging pattern of the policy process shows a significant change in policy and decision making, as a wide range of stakeholders were able to represent their interests and engage in policy debate through the Committee for the Reform of the Civil Service Pension Programme, resulting in policy compromise with consensus.

This paper was prepared for the UNRISD project on Pension Funds and Economic Development.

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