• East Asia;
  • functional equivalence;
  • ideal-typical model;
  • regime theory;
  • welfare policy;
  • welfare state

This article aims to outline main features of the East Asian welfare model, to understand its past development and assess lessons that can be learned for other developing and developed countries. It describes the particular path of welfare state development in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, by focusing particularly on developmental and political aspects of welfare state development. In the final part of the study, particular features of the East Asian welfare model are outlined, and thus the existence of a distinct, ideal-typical welfare regime in East Asia substantiated.