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Farewell to old legacies? The introduction of long-term care insurance in South Korea

  • JIN WOOK KIM (a1) and YOUNG JUN CHOI (a2)


South Korea has been experiencing unprecedented socio-economic transformations in which an ageing population is widely regarded as a key challenge. As an unlikely consensus on state intervention in care has emerged since early 2000, South Korea has achieved rapid development of welfare state programmes. The introduction of long-term care insurance (LTCI) in 2008 is one of the important steps. However, it is still highly debatable whether the Korean welfare state has departed from its path of both developmentalism and Confucianism. This paper aims to analyse the nature of LTCI in South Korea and to examine whether its introduction could mean a divergence from these two important policy legacies. This research has reached an ambiguous conclusion. The regulatory role of the government and concerns about the costs of LTCI are regarded as a developmentalist legacy, whereas Confucian legacies seem to be withering away since LTCI shifts care responsibility from the family to the state. However, the study found that the state has difficulty in regulating the market and costs, and deeply embedded familialism seems difficult to overcome.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Young Jun Choi, Department of Public Administration, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea E-mail:


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Farewell to old legacies? The introduction of long-term care insurance in South Korea

  • JIN WOOK KIM (a1) and YOUNG JUN CHOI (a2)


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