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Bad loans to good friends : Money politics and the developmental state in South Korea

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  • Bad loans to good friends
  • Kang, David C.
  • The IO Foundation


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Title Bad loans to good friends
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Sub Title

Money politics and the developmental state in South Korea

Material Type Reports
Author(English)

Kang, David C.

Publisher

The IO Foundation

Date 2002
Journal Title; Vol./Issue International Organization:vol. 56(issue 1)
Pages 32
Subject Country South Korea(Asia and Pacific)
Language English / Korea
File Type Link
Subject Economy < Economic System
Holding Cambridge University

Abstract

Why has the literature on Asian development not addressed the issue of money politics in South Korea? How can we reconcile the view of an efficient developmental state in South Korea before 1997 with reports of massive corruption and inefficiency in that same country in 1998 and 1999? Politics is central to the answer. In this study I make two arguments. First, money politics was extensive in South Korea both during and after the high-growth era. Second, political—not economic—considerations dominated policymaking. This study explains both past and present and compares the patterns of money politics in the early post-independence era with those that arose after the democratic transition in 1987. While during the Park era a balance of power between businessmen and politicians kept corruption from spinning out of control, the transition to democracy altered the basic business-state relationship, allowing business to exert greater influence over policy decisions. The political hypothesis advanced in this study suggests a new direction for our research about the developmental state.