In this book Youngil Lim explores the process by which the poverty-stricken agrarian economy of South Korea was transformed over the past three decades into a semi-industrial urban economy. The chief questions Lim addresses are: Where did South Korea's technological knowledge come from? What did the government and market do to nurture such rapid learning? Will a continuation of current policy enable South Korea to catch up with other OECD countries? What is the appropriate role of the National Research and Development Program within the framework of the National System of Innovation? Because they defy quantitative measurement, institutional and organizational skills are often neglected in mainstream economic analyses. Lim shows how institutional and organizational skills help to explain the fast pace of learning and of upgrading technological capability and productivity. After discussing neoclassical views of the South Korean experience as well as the views of economists emphasizing institutional aspects of industrialization, Lim offers his own synthesis and speculates on South Korea's technological future.
Youngil Lim studies the important and exceedingly complex issue of how institutions and history act on the more immediate determinants of the growth of well being in Korea. The attention given to the role of the Korean universities and the relationship between them and the government is especially relevant.
Henry J. Bruton, Professor of Economics Emeritus, Williams College