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Lessons from the Economic Development Experience of South Korea
Region: Asia
Location: Korea, South
Published March 4, 2016
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The paper reviews some of the key aspects leading to Korea’s remarkably successful economic transformation, including its consistent and aggressive pursuit of export-led growth, its investments in basic services and housing, its enviable record in human capital development and skills acquisition, its regional development policies, its strengths in planning and implementation, and its concerns about societal issues like equitable growth. The second part of the paper looks at some of Korea’s challenges for the future. In this area, some concerns are raised about demographic constraints, the alarming increase in household debt and dearth of household savings, issues of energy policy, trends in the distribution of income and wealth, and a possible need for institutional revitalization. The aim of any reforms is to position Korea well for the future and to maintain its economic position and the wellbeing of its citizens.

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