Chapter 17: Regional Development Policy in Korea: The Past, Present and Future
Jae-Hong Jang INTRODUCTION Since the 1960s Korea has achieved very rapid economic growth and urbanization. In that process, the economic-geographical structure of Korea has also been greatly changed. This remarkable socio-economic development has induced numerous studies on the determinants of such development among economists, economic geographers and policymakers worldwide. In 2009 the World Bank released its World Development Report 2009 (hereafter WDR 2009) with the title Reshaping Economic Geography. In this report, the Korean experience in regional development policy was highly praised. Also, the government has been trying to reshape the regional development policy of the former government since July 2008. These two events provide a timely opportunity to discuss a desirable framework for Korean regional development policy in the future. One of the perplexing aspects of the studies about Korean economic growth and regional development is that Korea is frequently cited as a success story of a market economic system as well as a national planning system. A better answer may be an appropriate combination of the two systems in Korea. The door to modernization was first opened in the early 1960s by a planning system focused on the efficient mobilization of resources. Along with it, entrepreneurship in the private sector was combined with political leadership in the public sector toward the national goal of economic growth. The role of former president Park Chung-Hee is important in the sense that he was the first president who mobilized and organized Korea’s economic potential. The opinions of Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate...
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