Title

Hong Kong : workfare in the world's freest economy

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

International Journal of Social Welfare

Publication Date

1-2011

Volume

20

Issue

1

First Page

22

Last Page

32

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Keywords

Minimal social security system, The freest economy, Workfare administrative‐led polity, Stigmatisation, Hong Kong

Abstract

Workfare was introduced in many countries to suppress welfare dependency and reduce social security expenditures. However, workfare was launched in Hong Kong when there was only a relatively small social security budget and its citizens still strongly adhered to the ideologies of self‐reliance. It was found that workfare has performed several functions in Hong Kong. First, by forcing unemployed claimants to give up benefits, Hong Kong has been able to save on social security expenditures. Second, workfare has combined with Hong Kong's semi‐democratic polity so that extremely stigmatising welfare measures have been implemented. Third, it has pushed poor citizens into the labour market without having any protection over wages and working hours. Thus, the combination of workfare and a semi‐democratic polity has successfully suppressed Hong Kong's welfare demands and strengthened its self‐help spirit. As a result, Hong Kong's minimal social security scheme and its low tax policy have been maintained.

DOI

10.1111/j.1468-2397.2009.00712.x

Print ISSN

13696866

E-ISSN

14682397

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2009 The Author(s), Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and the International Journal of Social Welfare. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Language

English

Recommended Citation

Chan, C. K. (2011). Hong Kong: Workfare in the world's freest economy. International Journal of Social Welfare, 20(1), 22-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2009.00712.x

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