Colonial State and Social Policy looks at the determinants of social policy in developing countries in general and Hong Kong in particular in an attempt to remedy inconsistent results, artificial dichotomies of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and an obvious neglect of developing countries in the field of social policy research. Using an integrated approach of quantitative and historical analysis, the study tests out the variables as predicted by the dominant theories in the case of Hong Kong. Of the three major theoretical approaches that dominate research, the industrial society approach, the social democratic model, and the state centered theory, the state centered theory offers the best explanation of policy development. Meanwhile, historical analysis delineates four phases of social development which are marked by different approaches: residualism, "big bang" expansion, incrementalism, and privatization. The results of the study cast many doubts on the applicability of the concept of the "welfare-state regime," as the developmentalist state of Hong Kong has turned to social welfare to create a peaceful environment for its economic development and to enhance the legitimacy of the colonial system.
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Kwong-leung Tang is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada.Review:
The historical and cross-national quantitative analysis of the development of welfare expenditure is interesting, and supplements the scanty literature on quantitative studies of public policies in Hong Kong. In all, this is a useful book... (Asian Studies Review)
The book...has already performed an important task of recording an often neglected but, to the majority of the people of Hong Kong, the most fundamental activity of the Colonial Government in its over one and a half century of ruling Hong Kong. (Journal Of Oriental Studies)
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