The Korean economy has achieved an unprecedented growth in the last three decades or so. Between 1965 and 1995 Korea's per capita GNP increased from US$105 to over US$10,000 while the share of agriculture in GDP decreased from 38% to less than 7% during this period. Exports recorded a substantial increase from US$0.2 billion to US$125 billion.
Many factors have contributed to Korea's rapid economic growth. The first is a literate population capable of learning skills quickly, which played a key role in export-oriented labor-intensive industrialization during the earlier phases of development. Workers have been hard-working and disciplined in their drive to improve their socio-economic status.
Secondly, a strong leadership committed to economic development and capable bureaucrats have also been critical. The military government led by General Park, which came into power by a coup in 1961, promised to Korean people liberation from poverty. With the success of government-initiated economic progress, public confidence in the government has been strong in Korea.