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310

E

UR

A

MERICA

of unemployment, and prolonged duration of transition to

permanent jobs. Furthermore, unemployment benefits are limited,

resulting in high market inequality (Gallie & Paugam, 2000;

OECD, 2015; Quintini et al., 2007; Vogel, 2003; Walther, 2006).

The post-socialist countries, which once offered full

employment and relative gender equality, have seen an increase in

unemployment and inequality. Since the late 1990s, post-socialist

countries, particularly Poland and Slovakia, have had the highest

youth unemployment and the largest earnings disparities (OECD,

2015; Quintini et al., 2007).

In East Asia, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and

Singapore experienced rapid and sustained economic growth and

an egalitarian income distribution. Full employment and a

compressed earnings distribution kept the poverty rate down

(Esping-Andersen, 1999; Tang, 2000). However, after the 1998

economic crisis and industrial restructuring (i.e. the decline in

manufacturing industry and the increase in the service sector), the

unemployment rate has risen and earnings gap have widened. In

2014, the unemployment rate for 15-to-24-year-olds reached

12.6% in Taiwan, 10% in South Korea, and 6% in Japan (Li, 2015;

OECD, 2015). Although youth poverty levels in East Asia were

lower than in most Western countries, the youth-to-adult

unemployment ratio of Taiwan and South Korea reached 3.2,

higher than the average ratio (2.2) of OECD countries. In 2013,

the gross earnings gap (D9/D1) reached 4.7 in South Korea (OECD,

2015). In other words, East Asian countries have moved away from

employment regimes featuring low inequality and full employment

to societies with rising inequality. In terms of work regulations and

employment policy, these countries are characterized by medium

employment protection (OECD, 2017) but less effective

enforcement of work regulations in some countries (e.g. Taiwan)

(Kan & Lin, 2011), low educational signaling, and limited welfare

provisions (Breen, 2005).