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Journal Article

Not Taxation, but Saving: Linking Welfare and Capitalism in Japan


Kim,  Dokyun
Projekte von Gastwissenschaftlern und Postdoc-Stipendiaten, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;
Seoul National University Asia Center, South Korea;

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Kim, D. (2015). Not Taxation, but Saving: Linking Welfare and Capitalism in Japan. Korean Journal of Sociology, 49(3), 121-145. doi:10.21562/kjs.2015.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-4CE5-F
This paper aims at explaining the dynamics of welfare capitalism in Japan. As opposed to previous studies, it emphasizes the role of fiscal system by raising the question of how savings encouragement combined with low taxation affected the welfare dynamics. During the industrialization period, the Japanese government mobilized private savings as if it were public money. This capital mobilization strategy made the features of the Japanese welfare system exceedingly different from those of western countries, both by making it possible for the government to maintain the small tax state and by enabling households to actively utilize savings assets as a welfare measure. This distinctive institutional setting had an enormous effect on welfare dynamics after the oil shocks of the 1970s by making it difficult for the government to introduce the new consumption tax and by increasing the importance of assetbased welfare. With the emphasis on fiscal system, this paper contributes to the development of comparative welfare capitalism studies which have explored the possible linkage of welfare and capitalism.