This study evaluates the changes in the long-term trends of technology indices through time series data after the 1960s, and analyzes the degree to which research and development (R&D) expenditures and importing new technology has affected Korea’s patent acquisition and economic development.
South Korea focused on adopting new technology even before the 1970s, but the results were not as expected. However, Korea went through a massive restructuring from heavy chemical industry to a high-tech industry, and progress was noticeable. Seoul started exporting technology from 1978, but did not achieve success until the 1990s, when exports reached more than USD 20 million a year. Since 1994, technology exports have increased, reaching USD 100 million in annual revenues.
Until 1974, research and development expenditures in South Korea were reported at less than USD 100 million until 1974, when the Five-Year Plan, an economic development project, was released. From 1995 onwards, Korea made an annual R&D investment of USD 100 million. Patent application and registration started since 1947, but the patent system made significant progress in 1992, when ten thousand patents were issued by the Patent Office.
Technologically advanced countries—the U.S. and Japan in particular—reported an annual growth rate of R&D expenditures from low single-digits to high single-digits, while they experienced a double digit increase in expenditures on imported technology. For example, the expenditures on technology imports over R&D expenditures in the U.S. was 1.2 percent in the 1970s, 1.3 percent in the 1980s, and 2.9 percent in the 1990s. The R&D spending of the two countries exceeds the amount of Korean expenses, and their technology is more advanced than that of Korea, so it is reasonable to assume that Korea is more likely to depend on foreign technology.
After analyzing the growth rate, importance, and the adaptability of importing and adopting new technology from the 1970s to the 1990s, we determined that Korea focused on R&D rather than relying on imported technology. According to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), R&D expenditures took up 2.4 percent of the total, while expenses used for adopting technology barely reached 0.4 percent in the 90s. However, both rates were always higher than the increase rate of Korea’s nominal GDP, which means that Korea has always been investing in research and development, whether or not the increase rate of income matched its scale.
Three main reasons indicate that imported technology and R&D expenditure plays an important role for patent acquisitions and economic development: Korea is experiencing a trade surplus in commodities this year, while Japan is expanding a trade deficit in technology. Korea continues to import technology, which proves that adopting new technology is necessary even though we are experiencing a trade deficit at the moment. Moreover, the results indicate that adopting new technology is far more important than R&D in developing the patent system, because the coefficient of technology import was higher than that of R&D expenses. However, both have positive effects on patent acquisition, so it is hard to depend on just one, but importing technology still plays a significant role in developing technology. Finally, Seoul should not only concentrate on adopting new technology but also consider indirect technology development such as foreign investment.
우리나라 R&D 지출과 기술도입의 경제적 효과(Research and development (R&D) expenditures and the economic effects of importing new technology)
|Series Title; No||KIET 산업경제|
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Industry and Technology < Science/Technology|