Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Social Policy and Administration

Publication Date






First Page


Last Page



Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Global social policy, Asian social development, Productivism, Post-productivism, Divergence


The question whether Asian welfare types can be classified as distinctly ‘productivist’ has remained subject to lively debates: in East Asia, the recent implementation of social rights-based public policy innovations – including working family support – as a response to rising inequalities, welfare expectations and accelerating social change has been well documented; similarly, South East Asian and South Asian economies have featured much more frequently in comparative social policy analysis as policymakers have sought to address persisting chronic poverty, a diminishing demographic dividend and burdensome epidemiological transitions via integrating human capital formation with social protection measures. Yet, far from a unifying convergence of these social policy trends in the post-Millennium Development Goals era, the global perspective we take in this article suggests continued variation and difference, with a multiplicity of forms of globalizations encountered and/or engendered in diverse contexts. As a consequence, variegated and path-dependent patterns of social development continue to persist across Asian economies. These findings, in turn, address major issues of our time, for they speak to the broader question of what analytical bases and research strategies can best reveal the complexities of (and interactions between) national, extra-national and transnational drivers of welfare formation and development under contemporary but diverse conditions.



Print ISSN




Funding Information

This work was carried out with support from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grant Ref. ES/L005336/1 and research funding support from Lingnan University (LU) and the Hong Kong Education University (HKEdU). {ES/L005336/1}

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2017 The Authors Social Policy & Administration Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Mok, K. H., Kühner, S., & Yeates, N. (2017). Introduction: Managing welfare expectations and social change: Policy responses in Asia. Social Policy and Administration, 51(6), 845-856. doi: 10.1111/spol.12335