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Export-led industrialisation and growth: Korea's economic miracle, 1962-1989


  • Charles Harvie
  • Hyun-Hoon Lee


During 1962-1989, South Korea underwent a remarkable economic transformation from being poverty-ridden to attaining the status of newly industrialised nation. This transformation was achieved through the adoption of an outward-oriented, industry-led strategy. It was based, particularly during the 1970s, upon the development of large-scale industrial conglomerates and the attainment of economies of scale and technology to achieve international competitiveness. By the early 1980s, this strategy had resulted in major structural imbalances, a weakened financial sector, heavy concentration in domestic markets, and a repressed development of small and medium enterprises. By the end of the 1980s, despite attempts at economic reform, the structural and financial problems remained and became the country's undoing during the crisis of 1997-1998. This article reviews the question whether Korea's performance during this period can be described as an economic miracle. The empirical evidence is mixed and inconclusive, although the achievements of the Korean economy should not be underestimated. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd and the Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Harvie & Hyun-Hoon Lee, 2003. "Export-led industrialisation and growth: Korea's economic miracle, 1962-1989," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 43(3), pages 256-286, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ozechr:v:43:y:2003:i:3:p:256-286

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    Cited by:

    1. Kang, Hyunsoo & Kennedy, P. Lynn, 2009. "Bilateral Trade and Economic Growth: The Empirical Evidence Between U.S. and South Korea," Journal of Rural Development/Nongchon-Gyeongje, Korea Rural Economic Institute, vol. 32(2), June.
    2. Diao, Xinshen & McMillan, Margaret S., 2014. "Towards understanding economic growth in Africa: A reinterpretation of the Lewis Model:," IFPRI discussion papers 1380, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Xinshen Diao & Margaret McMillan, 2015. "Toward an Understanding of Economic Growth in Africa: A Re-Interpretation of the Lewis Model," NBER Working Papers 21018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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