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Economic Policy Reforms in the Lee Myung-Bak Administration
Author: Tony Michell
Region: Asia
Location: Korea, South
Published May 25, 2011
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Between winning the election in December 2007 and taking office in February 2008, Lee Myungbak and his administration sketched out a massive reform program that would potentially affect every aspect of Korea’s economic and social life, from the organization of ministries, through macroeconomic policies, privatization, taxation, education reform, and the restructuring of policies affecting land development from zoning to massive infrastructure projects intended to jump start the Korean economy. Part of this policy was aimed at rolling back 10 years of so-called progressive government, and part was to try to change the way the Korean economy worked by opening much more of it to private enterprise and market forces.

This article, rather than providing a comprehensive overview of the structural issues, addresses a select number of issues that may be viewed as characterizing the Lee Myung-bak administration’s main policy themes. The approach is largely chronological because much of the battle plan did not survive contact with the enemy, but the measure of the administration is how it has adapted to new circumstances and to opposition to its core economic policies.

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