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香港最低工資政策:發展型福利資本主義的轉向?

Minimum Wage Policy in Hong Kong: A Shift in Developmental Welfare Capitalism?

Abstracts


作為東亞發展型福利資本主義的重要個案,一直以來香港政府主張經濟成長會使所有的人民受益,不需過多的社會保障。但是近年來涓滴效應弱化,貧富差距問題日益嚴重,引起人民的不滿,驅使香港採取社會保障措施來改善底層人民的生活。為了維持社會穩定與鞏固選舉基礎,港府持續調升最低工資。不過所得分配惡化,並不是香港持續調升最低工資的充分條件,要獲得政府的支持,仍須總體經濟條件的配合。分析歷年的決策過程可知,審議委員會透過實際的數據為基礎進行決策,確定最低工資調升不會對香港的競爭力產生衝擊。但另一方面,香港持續推動最低工資,並不代表香港往推動完整社會保障的方向邁進。透過同時觀察幾項重要的勞動政策,可以得知港府持續推動最低工資調整,但推遲其他勞工政策,包括勞工失業保險、標準工時、罷工與集體談判權等。因為最低工資政策相較其他勞工政策而言,對市場經濟運作的影響較小,也不會助長勞工參與、投入政治與社會活動之中,使香港政府在取得勞工政策的政績同時,仍能確保政經狀況的穩定。這樣的情形歸結來說與香港的政治體制有關,選舉的存在,驅使香港必須回應社會觀感與底層勞工的需求,但半威權的體制,使香港繼續停留在發展型福利資本主義的模式中。

Parallel abstracts


As an important case of developmental welfare capitalism in East Asia, the Hong Kong government has long held that excessive social welfare may harm the competitiveness and that economic growth benefits all segments of the society. In recent years, the fruits of economic growth failed to trickle down to the low-income workers, resulting in a widening wealth gap. In order to maintain social stability and to consolidate the electoral base, the Hong Kong government raised minimum wage several times over the past decade. However, rising income inequality does not automatically lead to higher levels of minimum wage, it also depends on the state of economy. The reviewing committees carefully decided the minimum wages to make sure that this adjustment did not affect Hong Kong's economic competitiveness. Nevertheless, adopting minimum wage policies does not mean that Hong Kong is moving in the direction of balancing economic development and social justice. By examining the development of several important labor policies, we find that the government pushes through minimum wage policy while postponing other labor policies, including unemployment insurance, standard working hours, and the rights to strike and collective bargaining. This is because minimum wage policy exerts less impact on the market than other labor policies and does not encourage the collective actions of labor. Overall, the existence of elections induces the Hong Kong government to respond to the demands of low-income workers, but its semi-authoritarian system hinders Hong Kong in moving toward a more comprehensive social-protection system.

References


Wong, S. H.-W., Ho, K., & Clarke, H. D., 2019. “Mass Production of Individualized Services: Machine Politics in Hong Kong.” Journal of Electoral Studies, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 57-88. doi:10.6612/tjes.201905_26(1).0003
Aaronson, D., 2001. “Price Pass-Through and the Minimum Wage.” The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 83, No. 1, pp. 158-169. doi:10.1162/003465301750160126
Aspalter, C., 2006. “The East Asian Welfare Model.” International Journal of Social Welfare, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 290-301. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2397.2006.00413.x
Bartels, L. M., 2006. “A Tale of Two Tax Cuts, a Wage Squeeze, and a Tax Credit.” National Tax Journal, Vol. 59, No. 3, pp. 403-423. doi:10.17310/ntj.2006.3.01
Fong, B. C. H., 2014. “The Partnership Between the Chinese Government and Hong Kong’s Capitalist Class: Implications for HKSAR Governance, 1997-2012.” The China Quarterly, Vol. 217, pp. 195-220. doi:10.1017/S0305741014000307

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