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The evolving Korean childcare regime

Tauchid Komara Yuda (Department of Social Development and Welfare,Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 18 December 2020

Issue publication date: 13 October 2021




The objective of this paper is to understand changes and progress of the Korean childcare regime by examining the evolutional process of childcare initiatives that were developed since the Japanese colonial rule.


This study employed a qualitative-based research design with a particular emphasis on explanatory research. Meanwhile, the data were gathered through the peer-reviewed literature and reports.


The findings indicate that Korea has had three types of childcare regimes: effective-informal, productivist and inclusive-liberal orientation. It also pinpoints that while the care regime development followed the European regime, the egalitarian society, which is a social prerequisite for modern welfare state-building, has not yet been fully established. This paradoxical situation eventually impedes the development of universal childcare aimed at promoting gender equality and a work-life balance.


This article offers a model and characteristics of the Korean childcare regime dating back to the Japanese colonial period up until the Moon Jae-In administration, where it still receives less attention in most of the social policy literature (see Table 1).



Compliance with ethical standards: Ethical approval: This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. Thus, for this type of study, formal consent is notrequired.The author would like to express his special gratitude to his academic supervisor at KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Yun Heesuk, for her helpful input to this article. The author also thanks Sang-Mok Suh, former Minister of Korean Social Welfare (1993–1995), for many insights he gives for my research. Furthermore, the author is indebted to Da Hee Choi, Nikki and Seong-Hee Kang who help him with much worthwhile information during the research process. Last, but not least, the author is grateful to his colleagues from the KDI Writing Center, especially Min-Kyu Hwang and Minah Kim, for their professional support in improving the style and clarity of the article.Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Yuda, T.K. (2021), "The evolving Korean childcare regime", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 41 No. 9/10, pp. 1089-1107.



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