Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction; 2. Theoretical reinterpretation of the small welfare state in South Korea; 3. The emergence of the small welfare state under the authoritarian developmental state (1961-1987); 4. Democratization and limited welfare state development under the conservative rule (1987-1997); 5. Economic crisis, power shift, and welfare politics under the Kim Dae Jung government (1997-2002); 6. Economic Unionism and the limits of the Korean welfare state under the Roh Moo Hyun government (2003-2007); 7. Wind of welfare and tax politics under the returned conservative rule; 8. Conclusion.