The South Korean Development Model

Eun Mee Kim, Nancy Y. Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines Korea’s development experience and the extent to which it comprises a coherent development model. The chapter sets forth three key features of Korea’s of deliberate and planned development: (a) state-led economic development; (b) social development and capability enhancement; and (c) strategic use of aid for development. It then highlights various inconsistencies and ambiguities of the Korean development story and cautions against promoting it as a one-size-fits-all model. That said, the chapter represents the evolution of the Korean developmental state—from its earlier authoritarian, neo-mercantilist iteration to its current democratic and globalized model—as a testament to the fact that development is a contextual, adaptive process. Korea owes its success to its flexibility and openness to a range of development approaches. In this regard, the chapter argues that the Korean development experience does indeed offer useful, adaptable development options, and that Korea can play a constructive, balanced, and bridging role in development and development cooperation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of South Korean Politics
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780192894045
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

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© Oxford University Press 2023. All rights reserved.


  • development alternative
  • development cooperation
  • development model
  • developmental state
  • human development
  • South Korea


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