The Korean Economic Forum
Historical Transformation and Prospects of the Korean Economy
Sung Yeung Kwack, Young Sun LeeYear 2010Vol. 3No. 2
1. IntroductionKorea has been transformed from a closed, low-income agricultural economy inthe 1960s to a high-income open diversified, and growing economy. Korea is nolonger poor or closed economically. The Korean economy is linked to the worldeconomy which is rapidly progressing skills- and knowledge-based technologicalchange. Korean society has become freer and more democratic.Korea used to be a small poor closed agriculture-based economy. Per capita GDPvalue was only $121 by 1962. In 2007 it had reached $20,220 per person. Thus ithas experienced miraculous growth over a short four decades. This paper attemptsto describe how Korea shifted from its poor agricultural base to the advancedindustrial economy, followed by the presentation of per capita GDP, production andemployment structure, education, and total factor productivity growth. We ask whatfactors lay behind Korea’s economic success. In addition, this paper addresses theappropriate economic policy for Korea in a high-tech skill world and the likelychallenges that Korea will need to confront in the 21st century. }