Big Push in South Korea Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Throughout the 1990s decade however, the South Korean labor force changed to raise new challenges, such as the aging of the population, the declining rates of the young population, and the resulting shortage of skilled labor force. In such a setting then, the vocational training system was extended to promote lifelong training for the employees, and this took the form of the Vocational Competency Development Program.

Despite the advances made, much still remains to be done, as South Korea is among the countries with the lowest investments in worker education. According to a study of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Korea invested 0.05 per cent of its gross domestic product in employee training; Germany for instance invested 0.37 per cent and Austria invested 0.40 per cent (Lee and Jeon, 2009).

Aside from the increasing education of the labor force, the economic development of South Korea can also be linked to increases in the organizational and state investments in research and development. Throughout the past recent decade, the investments in research and development in the country have increased at a sustained rate, in a gradual and consistent manner. The chart below reveals this evolution as percentage in the gross domestic product:

Source: Trading Economics, 2012

As a result of this gradual increase in R&D spending, South Korea became one of the leading countries in terms of investments in research and development. In 2011 for instance, South Korea was the third largest nation by percentage of GDP invested in R&D, being only surpassed by Israel and Sweden. The chart below reveals the top ten countries by size of R&D investments:

Source: The Economist, 2011

At the particular level of the structure of the investments, it is noted that the majority of the R&D investments, approximately 75 per cent, are completed by the private sector, including both domestic economic agents, as well as foreign investors. The R&D investments of the South Korean state only account for approximately 25 per cent of all investments, and are generically divided between the R&D efforts of universities and the R&D efforts of public institutions; universities revealed a slightly higher rate of investments in research and development (University World News, 2009).

While at the level of percentage in the GDP, the R&D investments in South Korea are global leaders, in terms of the actual amounts, these are considerably decreased in comparison to the investments of other states. South Korea's investments in 2010 for instance totaled up to $37.93 billion, whereas the investments of the United States of America totaled nearly $400 billion; France, China and Germany also outperformed South Korea's R&D investments (Yonhap News Agency, 2011).

All in all, the combination of increasing investments in research and development on the one hand, and increased worker education on the other hand, has supported the transformation of South Korea from a centrally planned economy into a market driven economy, in which knowledge workers drive growth and development. Still, the full transition to a knowledge-based economy has yet to be completed and some challenges which remain to be addressed include the decreased participation of the services sector to the generation of the gross domestic product, an underdeveloped financial sector or decreased competitiveness of the South Korean business sectors (MacDonald, 2006).

3. Conclusions

South Korea has traditionally been an enclosed economy, but is now focusing on becoming a free market. The past recent decades have witnessed tremendous evolutions and combinations of forces, which have led to the creation of economic developments.

At the current level, the economic development takes the form of the knowledge economy, which is becoming preponderant within the modern day global society. South Korea is attaining its knowledge economy objectives through various elements, two important ones being the education of its workforce, as well as the increase in the amounts of research and development funding.

The table below reveals the structured representation of the big fish model in South Korea.

Feature of big push model

Application in South Korea


Combination of two elements

- Worker education

- Investments in research and development


Results of the two elements combined / Big push

Economic growth in South Korea / Transition to the knowledge economy


Free market

- More emphasis on international trade / imports

- Policies to free the market and globally integrate the country


State intervention to coordinate investments

The policies of President Park Chung Hee


Increase in R&D investments

Sustained increase

3rd largest country in the world, by R&D investments as percentage of GDP

By amount, the values of R&D investments remain low


Increase in worker education

Offered by employers

Supported by the state

Continued need for program improvement


Big push / economic growth

Transition to knowledge economy

Challenges still remain

In South Korea, the policies developed and implemented by President Park Chung Hee have materialized in the stimulation of the economic sector at multiple levels, including the efforts of economic agents in sustaining more research and development efforts; while the former president denied any worker rights, the modern day society in South Korea is stimulating the education, training and motivation of the staff members.

The relationship between the two variables in the big push model is revealed at a basic level as follows:

Investments in research and development support economic growth through increases in production, quality, demand and so on. These outcomes are however pegged to the existence of skilled and qualified workforce.

Increases in worker education support production, quality, offer, superior demand satisfaction and so on. Still, in order for these objectives to be attained, there is an increased need for research and development as well.

In other words, there is a direct relationship between worker education and R&D investments and it is necessary for these efforts to become aligned and coordinated in order for them to lead to a big push. The success of the combination between the two variables is based on the ability to generate economies of scale and the adherent advantages, the superior access and sharing of technologies, as well as superior quality interactions between firms, supplies and demands. These interactions all lead to industrialization.

Another important aspect to consider in the generation of big push in South Korea, at the intersection of worker education and R&D investments, is represented by the equilibrium between the two elements. In other words, the two elements are inter-dependent in the meaning that they support and reinforce each other. This virtually generates a need for the two features to find themselves in equilibrium / optimization.

At this level, the threshold for economic growth and the transition to a knowledge economy is raised by the economic agents in the private sector, which set the level of the investments in research and development, as well as the need for knowledge workers, and as such stimulate the education of the employees. For the time being, the features seem to be in equilibrium, with an increased need being observed for both of the elements. As South Korea is still undergoing major change processes, the equilibrium is expected to change, but it would be restored by the adaptation to the needs of the market.


Arrow, K.J., Ng, Y.K., Yang, X., 1998, Increasing returns and economic analysis, Palgrave Macmillan

Gregg, D., 1999, Park Chung Hee, Time World,,8599,2054405,00.html last accessed on April 17, 2012

Groning, V., 2010, Economic growth and development in China: international trade and the "Big Push," GRIN Verlag

Khaled, M., 2007, Park Chung-Hee's industrialization policy and its lessons for developing countries, University of Rajshahi, last accessed on April 17, 2012

Lee, J., Jeon, H., 2009, South Korea public policy, the Sloan Center on Aging and Work, last accessed on April 17, 2012

MacDonald, S.B., 2006, South Korea braves the knowledge economy, Asia Times, last accessed on April 17, 2012

Rubenson, K., 2011, Adult learning and education, Academic Press

2009, South Korea: R&D spending jumped 10% last year, University World News, last accessed on April 17, 2012

2011, R&D spending, the Economist, last accessed on April 17, 2012

2011, S. Korea's ratio of R&D spending to GDP ranks 3rd highest worldwide, Yonhap News Agency, last accessed on April 17, 2012

2012, Research and development expenditure (% of GDP) in South Korea, Trading Economics, last accessed on April 17, 2012

2012, the world factbook -- South Korea, Central Intelligence Agency, last accessed on April 17, 2012[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Big Push In South Korea" (2012, April 17) Retrieved December 9, 2016, from

"Big Push In South Korea" 17 April 2012. Web.9 December. 2016. <>

"Big Push In South Korea", 17 April 2012, Accessed.9 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Japan and South Korea Japan

    Loosening Up From their traditional tight spending habits, Japanese consumers are learning from past lessons and letting loose and letting go on expenses (Gordon 2006). This phenomenal change of behavior is deemed to benefit not only their deflation-ravished economy. It will also be a relief to the country's neighbors and trading partners. Japan keeps its rank as the second largest world economy. It remains a record-holder with a 5.5% annual rate

  • 1950 s Korean War North Korea Democratic People s

    1950's Korean War, North Korea (Democratic People's Republic Korea) and South Korea (Republic Korea) Were Exploited by the Superpowers for Their Own Agendas The closing decade of the 20th century witnessed the end of the Cold War as the Soviet Union collapsed and its former Warsaw Pact allies flocked to join their former enemies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The end of the Cold War also resulted in the

  • Samsung SWOT Short Term Threats to

    Therefore, the account of threats to Samsung rendered above yield several important recommendations. Particularly, in spite of the many valid reasons for its relative freedom over the course of Samsung's history, the time has come for the firm to more toward greater transparency and a better adherence to international expectations of structural normalcy. Samsung's new leaders must make as a priority at this juncture the simplification of the company's

  • Marketing International Conference Seoul an Emerging Destination

    Marketing International Conference Seoul- an Emerging Destination for International Convention Industry International conferences are emerging as a major global industry over past few years. Despite its growing size, it has been largely ignored in terms of academic research. Where western part of the world has been locus of conference industry with major locations in U.S. And UK, Asian cities are now emerging as better options for conducting international conference. Furthermore, international conference

  • Truman s Dilemma in the Korean War

    President Harry S. Truman found himself entrenched in a major dilemma as the Korean War unfolded. The consensus among most political leaders in the United States was that the Soviet Union was intending to export communism to the rest of the world. This consensus formed the basis of the American foreign policy with the goal being to contain communism at home and abroad. In Europe, this policy was characterized by

  • What Is China s Role in Globalization Why Is it Significant

    AFRICA'S PETROLEUM AND CHINA'S ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT How Africa's Petroleum Supply Is Important to China's Economic Growth and Development While China continues to grow, its oil demand is poised to grow rapidly. For China to ensure its oil security, it must obtain oil from the global world because it lacks adequate domestic resources to quench the thirsty appetite of the country's rapid economic development. Any approach for growth that the country

  • Countermeasures Under the Law of

    (Malone 2004) Coordination / diplomacy are the most common approach used when a nation state is in violation of international law. What happens is the UN Security Council members will work with the country to address the issue. Where, they will examine a host of different possibilities that could encourage the government, to abandon the policies that are in violation of international standards. The objective is to use various forms

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved