Exploring the institutional foundations for family provision in South Europe and South East Asia

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper




Conference13th East Asian Social Policy Association Conference
Conference date(s)1/07/162/07/16

Publication details

DatePublished - 2016
Original languageEnglish


Familistic welfare capitalism is a model of national political economy prevalent in many regions in the world (Southern Europe, Latin America, and South & East Asia), where family plays a double role as the key provider of welfare and as a key agent in the model's socio-economic and political reproduction. The latter encompasses the idea of a “care economy” and also includes wider questions of power and production relations that safeguard capital accumulation and its conditions of existence. Our paper borrows from the work of Karl Polanyi to examine the comparative political economy of social reproduction by comparing how South European and South East Asian welfare regimes institutionalised the conditions for family’s role as a collective actor. The paper empirically explores the capacity of the family to consolidate and mobilise resources both in South East Asia and Southern Europe. Our analysis focuses on levels of public, private and in particular household debt as well as how families meet the conditions of social reproduction, including aspects of production (e.g. family businesses), consumption (e.g. education, housing) and exchange of goods and services (e.g. gendered division of care). The paper concludes that despite the inherited path dependencies of different national political economies in South Europe and South East Asia , there are remarkable similarities in the institutionalisation of family’s role both in terms of welfare provision but also as an economic agent.

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