After Development: Transformation of the Korean Presidency and Bureaucracy

After Development: Transformation of the Korean Presidency and Bureaucracy

After Development: Transformation of the Korean Presidency and Bureaucracy

After Development: Transformation of the Korean Presidency and Bureaucracy

Synopsis

This book explores the dynamic changes now taking place in the South Korean government as a result of recent social and economic liberalization. Sung Deuk Hahm and L. Christopher Plein trace the emergence in Korea of a post-developmental state, in which both increasingly autonomous capital interests and growing public expectations of a higher quality of life challenge existing authoritarian institutions. Separating out the constituent parts of the Korean state, they then explore the evolving roles of the Korean presidency and bureaucracy in setting national policy.

Excerpt

This book explores the dynamic changes now under way in South Korea's political and institutional arrangements. In recent years, economic and political factors have converged to loosen the grip of authoritarian power over Korean economy and society. Indeed, Korea is on the threshold of becoming a "postdevelopmental" state where social and economic pressures will challenge existing institutional structures. In short, Korea's transition to more liberal and democratic institutional arrangements is not yet guaranteed. Through an analytical framework which seeks to take into account the influences of social and cultural factors as well as the incentives and motives of individual actors, a portrait of institutional transition is provided. These experiences are discussed against the backdrop of technology development and transfer, a policy area of critical importance to Korea's rapid modernization and economic development. This book finds that the role of bureaucracy is likely to change in the face of social transformation. We also find that the role of the president is undergoing substantial transformation. Where presidents once enjoyed absolute power over institutions, they must now increasingly act as brokers among often competing private interests and public actors.

The authors approach this subject from different backgrounds and perspectives. Sung Duek Hahm, who initiated this project, has interests in policy analysis, technology policy, comparative public policy, and institutional development and evolution in Korea, especially as it relates to the Korean presidency. He brings to the effort a deep grounding in Korean politics and administration. Christopher Plein became involved in this project through his interest in technology issues and policy, comparative policy and administration, and political institutions. His interest in the project stems particularly from the ramifications of globalization in economic and political arrangements.

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