South Korea – driven by its dynamic civil society – has been working on the development of its state welfare system since joining the OECD in 1996 and the Asian financial crisis at the end of the 90s. This article will show that with these developments, the country has seen the emergence of new partnership arrangements between national and local governments and private stakeholders, resulting in a new type of welfare-mix. Indeed, over the last 15 years, various governmental measures have been introduced both at the local and the national level with the aim of supporting the development of organisations such as social enterprises and new cooperatives. On an even broader scale, these measures are intended to foster what has now become known as the “social economy”. This burgeoning social economy is becoming a key player in social welfare in South Korea, advocating public initiatives and schemes and also acting as a service provider. Initially created to directly address the question of unemployment, these organisations have gradually extended their scope of action to include other social issues and are attracting growing recognition and interest.
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