Macquarie University
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Welfare regime and familialisation in East Asia: testing the hypothesis of low-fertility equilibrium in Hong Kong

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posted on 2022-03-28, 02:29 authored by Wing Shek Adrian Lui
This project aims to locate East Asian advanced economies in existing welfare regime frameworks according to how their social care responsibilities are distributed among state, market and family. Based on this analysis, the project attempts to explain the socio-economic outcomes based on this welfare regime analysis, focusing on Esping-Andersen's hypothesis of 'low fertility equilibrium' which explains low levels of both female labour market participation and fertility levels in familial welfare schemes. Using Hong Kong as a case study of East Asian welfare regimes, this thesis conducts a comparative analysis to determine whether Hong Kong can be characterised as a familial welfare regime based on the allocation of caring responsibilities across the market, state and household. The thesis examines trends in fertility levels, female labour force participation rates and degree of gender equality in the labour market to answer these questions. It will also identify factors affecting labour force participation and fertility decisions of married women in Hong Kong based on data from the 2011 Hong Kong Population Census to assess whether the hypothesis of ‘low fertility equilibrium’ provides a valid explanation for female labour force participation and fertility rates in Hong Kong. Our findings suggest that Hong Kong can be classified as a familial welfare regime, although familialism is an outcome of residualism, rather than conservatism, as suggested in Esping-Andersen’s theoretical framework. The findings also support the hypothesis of ‘low fertility equilibrium’. This suggests that Hong Kong will need to develop more extensive defamilialisation mechanisms in order to increase both female labour force participation and fertility levels.


Table of Contents

Chapter One. Introduction -- Chapter Two. The theoretical problem of familialisation and welfare regimes in East Asia -- Chapter Three. Methodology -- Chapter Four. Familialism, transformation in female labour market participation and 'low fertility equilibrium' in Hong Kong -- Chapter Five. Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 85-90 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Sociology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Tobia Fattore


Copyright Wing Shek Adrian Lui 2015. Copyright disclaimer:




Hong Kong (China)


1 online resource (90 pages)

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