Bad Loans to Good Friends: Money Politics and the Developmental State in South Korea
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.
Volume (Year): 56 (2002)
Issue (Month): 01 (December)
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