Small Country Innovation Systems
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Small Country Innovation Systems

Globalization, Change and Policy in Asia and Europe

Edited by Charles Edquist and Leif Hommen

This major book presents case studies of ten small country national systems of innovation (NSIs) in Europe and Asia, namely, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan. These cases have been carefully selected as examples of success within the context of globalization and as ‘new economies’ where competition is increasingly based on innovation.
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Chapter 4: Towards Knowledge Generation with Bipolarization NSI: Korea

Chaisung Lim


4. Towards knowledge generation with bipolarized NSI: Korea Chaisung Lim 1 INTRODUCTION Korea has undergone a successful industrialization process from its beginnings as a poor, agricultural country exploited by Japanese colonization and subsequently devastated by the Korean War. Korea began a period of dynamic economic growth in the early 1960s and gross national income (GNI) per capita rose from $87 in 1962 to $12 197 in 1996 (current prices). After a two-year decline (1997–98) due to the financial crisis, Korea’s economy recovered to reach $12 646 in 2003 (Figure 4.1). Economic growth has been led by large firms belonging to conglomerate groups known as chaebols, and based on accessing and exploiting the international market and international sources of technology. US dollars Log scale 10000 8000 4000 2000 1000 Launch of the HCI drive Democratization of Korea Asian financial crisis US dollars Log scale 10 000 8000 4 000 2 000 1 000 500 Second 500 five-year plan 100 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 Year 1990 1995 2000 100 Source: OECD (2004b, p. 24). Figure 4.1 Gross national income per capita in Korea 113 114 Fast growth countries Korea’s national system of innovation (NSI) is mid-sized, with a complexity and institutional range similar to that of other mid-sized countries such as Germany and the UK. Korea’s NSI is typical of a catching-up country, in which it shifts from one of technology import to one of technology generation and effective utilization of emerging technological opportunities from abroad. Korea was in...

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