Economic growth in South Korea: government or free market achievement?
Rebelo, Antonio Carlos Stangherlin.
Henderson, David R.
Terasawa, Katsuaki L.
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This thesis is an attempt to access how good has been the South Korean economic performance since the end of the Korean War and how interventionist the government has been, and to decide what has been responsible for the economic growth, the government or the free market. The main indicators of the Korean performance and the roles of the government and of the free market on the economy are discussed. A regression is run relating the GDP growth rate to the degree of trade liberalization and government spending. The findings can be summarized as follows: (1) The Korean performance has been outstanding. (2) The government and free market's roles and their contributions to the economic growth have varied in different periods in the Korean economy. First was the period from the end of the Korean War until the military coup of 1961, with government highly interventionist, the free market repressed, and poor results. Second was the period from 1961 until 1980, characterized by an interplay between the government and the free market leading to a high economic growth. Third was the period from 1980 to the present, the liberalization period, with market forces being the main source of the high economic growth. (3) The economy has been negatively affected by government spending and trade restrictions.
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