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Evolution of KDI

  • Evolution of KDI
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Resources Content Information Item Table
Title Evolution of KDI
Publication Date 2015
Material Type Report
Country Holding
Language Korean License


1. Growth of the Size

President Mahn Je Kim has become the inaugural president of the KDI in 1971 while he was 37-years old, and has lead the KDI until 1982, for 12 years. When he first took the position to lead the KDI, the ideal model in his mind was the Brookings Institute of the U.S. This meant that he was willing to have this institute grow into a think tank of great influence, such as the Brookings Institute, onto the government or the public opinion. Also, at the same time, it meant that he will benchmark the Brookings Institute in order to learn what kind of organizational structure and size should be the best to become a good think tank.

In that sense, president Mahn Je Kim thought the optimal size was to only have 20 to 25 researchers, or to have a relatively small organization size like the Brookings Institute. He also thought, that size was adequate for him to lead the group as well as to interact with each and every researcher in the institute. And he also thought the quality of the research will be manageable and guarantee the overall direction and the unity of the research. If the institute size gets larger, it will become impossible for the president to manage the all of the research conducted by each researcher. It will be inevitable to appoint middle-level officials, thus bringing in the hierarchy to lead their research, and as a result, the quality, unity, and consistency of the research will be difficult to achieve.

However, this design by president Mahn Je Kim was even uneasy to maintain under his rule. The biggest reason was the numerous policy demands from the outside. The KDI, since its establishment, were requested from not only the Economic Planning Board but also from many other government offices related to various policy task related consultations, and this is still an ongoing situation. Since the demand for research and consultation always exceeded the supply capacity, there always were constant demands from within and outside of the KDI that more researchers were needed and the organizational size was to be expanded. As a result, the number of researchers of the KDI expanded to now exceed 60 or more as of 2013. 

2. Internal Organization

Since its foundation, the KDI had to withstand numerous research demands, and this was the very fundamental reason for its continued expansion of size. The KDI, since the early 1990s, has been added of functions by the affiliated institutes which were quite different from its original research function, thus went through expansion. 

indicates the organizational structure of the KDI as of 2014, and touches upon the main tasks and scope of the affiliated institutes. As of 2014, the KDI has four centers and one graduate school as its affiliated institutes, as well as operating the main office. In the human resources aspect, the size of human resource in the affiliated institutes are as many as to exceed that of the main office, which adds up to be a large proportion of the operation of the KDI.


[Organizational Structure of the KDI]

[Affiliated Institutes of the KDI (as of 2014)]
  Major Task Employee Budget
EIEC Economics education and policy promotions for the general public 62 1,35.55 billion won
PIMAC major public finance related investment projects’ feasibility assessments 104
CID Knowledge Sharing Programs (KSP) for developing countries 61
Center for Regulatory Reforms Analysis on influence of regulations 14
KDI School of
Public Policy
and Management
Higher education on economic policies 98 37.48
billion won
Total   339 1,73.03
billion won

Note: Employees of Current Position were categorized as to belong to the main office.
Source: KDI webpage (as of November 20th, 2014).


[Structure of the Human Resources of the KDI (Excluding the KDI School of Public Policy and Management) ]
(as of the end of 2013)
  Main Office Affiliated Institutes Total
President 1 0 1
Fellow 52 17 69
Specialist 7 41 48
Research Associate 67 155 222
Administrator 121 21 142
Total 248 234 482

Note: The above statistics includes staff on leave and dispatched people. Meanwhile, among the fellows, there are people that hold both positions in the main office and the affiliated institutes. For these cases, they have been counted to belong to the affiliated institute.
Source: KDI webpage (as of November 20th, 2014).

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