Neo-liberal reform and bipolarisation of income in Korea

Juyoung Park, Jai S. Mah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This paper explains the neo-liberal reform measures - foreign direct investment (FDI) policies, financialisation and labour market reform - of the Korean economy following the 1998 economic crisis. It investigates how they have influenced a process identified as the bipolarisation of Korea. Although the increase in FDI inflows has contributed to the economy by overcoming balance of payments difficulties, it has led to increased income inequality. As a result of labour market reforms that targeted labour market flexibility, the number of non-regular/nonstandard and part-time workers has increased significantly over the past decade. Labour market reform and financialisation aggravated the bipolarisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Bipolarisation
  • Financialisation
  • Globalisation
  • Korea
  • Labour flexibility
  • Neo-liberal reform


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