IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

How Economic Dependency Was Created Through the WTO: A Case Study of South Korea


  • Ka Yi Fung

    (School of Social Science, Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong)


Adapting the framework of dependency theory, the article asks how the economic dependency of less developed countries (LDCs) on developed countries (DCs) is created through free trade. This article uses South Korea’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a case study to illustrate this economic dependency creation process. Based on second-hand data from existing studies, the European Union, and the WTO, this article finds: (i) due to limited farmland size and high production costs, South Korean agricultural products cannot win a seat in the world market; (ii) the local agricultural sector was destroyed in South Korea because small farmers cannot earn a living by farming; and (iii) since the local agricultural sector cannot support the food demand in South Korea, South Korea now has to import a large amount of food. This article concludes that free trade actually destroys the local agricultural industry and the food security of South Korea, and consequently makes South Korea have to rely heavily on DCs for food import.

Suggested Citation

  • Ka Yi Fung, 2017. "How Economic Dependency Was Created Through the WTO: A Case Study of South Korea," Journal of Developing Societies, , vol. 33(4), pages 469-487, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jodeso:v:33:y:2017:i:4:p:469-487
    DOI: 10.1177/0169796X17738586

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John C. Beghin & Jean-Christophe Bureau & Sung Joon Park, 2003. "Food Security and Agricultural Protection in South Korea," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(3), pages 618-632.
    2. Kim, Hanho & Lee, Yong-Kee, 2004. "Agricultural Policy Reform and Structural Adjustment in Korea and Japan," IAPRAP\IATRC Summer Symposium, Adjusting to Domestic and International Agricultural Reform in Industrial Countries, June 6-7, 2004, Philadelphia, PA, 15768, International Agricultural Policy Reform and Adjustment Project (IAPRAP).
    3. Xinshen Diao & Terry Roe & Agapi Somwaru, 2002. "Developing Country Interests in Agricultural Reforms under the World Trade Organization," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(3), pages 782-790.
    4. Tim Unwin, 2007. "No end to poverty," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(5), pages 929-953.
    5. Kaimowitz, David & Thiele, Graham & Pacheco, Pablo, 1999. "The Effects of Structural Adjustment on Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Lowland Bolivia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 505-520, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. John C. Beghin & David Roland-Holst & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, 2002. "Global Agricultural Trade and the Doha Round: What are the Implications for North and South?," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 02-wp308, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    2. William Edmondson & Matthew Shane & Agapi Somwaru, 2007. "Global Macroeconomic Shocks and U.S. Agriculture: An Interactive Matrix Approach," EcoMod2007 23900022, EcoMod.
    3. John Christopher Beghin & Anne-Célia Disdier & Stéphan Marette, 2017. "Trade restrictiveness indices in the presence of externalities: An application to non-tariff measures," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: John Christopher Beghin (ed.), Nontariff Measures and International Trade, chapter 5, pages 81-104, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Colyer, Dale, 2004. "Environmental Regulations And Competitiveness," Working Papers 19100, West Virginia University, Department of Agricultural Resource Economics.
    5. Schmook, Birgit & Vance, Colin, 2009. "Agricultural Policy, Market Barriers, and Deforestation: The Case of Mexico's Southern Yucatn," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1015-1025, May.
    6. Malik, R. P. S., 2009. "Indian agriculture: recent performance and prospects in the wake of globalization," IWMI Books, Reports H042037, International Water Management Institute.
    7. Hewitt, Joanna, 2008. "Impact evaluation of research by the International Food Policy Research Institute on agricultural trade liberalization, developing countries, and WTO's Doha negotiations:," Impact assessments 28, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Bruce A. Babcock & John C. Beghin & Jacinto F. Fabiosa & Stephane De Cara & Amani Elobeid & Cheng Fang & Chad E. Hart & Murat Isik & Holger Matthey & Alexander E. Saak & Karen Kovarik & FAPRI Staff, 2002. "Doha Round of the World Trade Organization: Appraising Further Liberalization of Agricultural Markets, The," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 02-wp317, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    9. Bahl, Ojasvita & Ghate, Chetan & Mallick, Debdulal, 2020. "Redistributive Policy Shocks and Monetary Policy with Heterogeneous Agents," MPRA Paper 101651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Jiarong Qian & Shoichi Ito & Zhijun Zhao, 2020. "The effect of price support policies on food security and farmers’ income in China," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 64(4), pages 1328-1349, October.
    11. Jones Danquah & Daniel Sarpong & Ari Pappinen, 2013. "Causal relationships between African mahoganies exports and deforestation in Ghana: policy implications," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 51-66, February.
    12. Roe, Terry & Dinar, Ariel & Tsur, Yacov & Xinshen Diao, 2005. "Feedback links between economy-wide and farm-level policies : application to irrigation water management in Morocco," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3550, The World Bank.
    13. Dixon, Peter B., 2007. "Evidence-based Trade Policy Decision Making in Australia and the Development of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling," Conference papers 331643, Purdue University, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Global Trade Analysis Project.
    14. Oskam, A.J. & Komen, M.H.C. & Wobst, P. & Yalew, A., 2004. "Trade policies and development of less-favoured areas: evidence from the literature," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 445-466, August.
    15. Combes, Jean-Louis & Delacote, Philippe & Combes Motel, Pascale & Yogo, Thierry Urbain, 2018. "Public spending, credit and natural capital: Does access to capital foster deforestation?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 306-316.
    16. John Beghin & Jean-Christophe Bureau & Sophie Drogue, 2004. "Calibration of incomplete demand systems in quantitative analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(8), pages 839-847.
    17. Pacheco, Pablo & de Jong, Wil & Johnson, James, 2010. "The evolution of the timber sector in lowland Bolivia: Examining the influence of three disparate policy approaches," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 271-276, April.
    18. Konstantinos MATTAS & Agapi SOMWARU & Efthimia TSAKIRIDOU, 2001. "Multilateral or RTA: The Case of Mediterranean Counties," Middle East and North Africa 330400042, EcoMod.
    19. Cuenca-García, Eduardo & Sánchez, Angeles & Navarro-Pabsdorf, Margarita, 2019. "Assessing the performance of the least developed countries in terms of the Millennium Development Goals," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 54-66.
    20. Colyer, Dale, 2004. "Environmental Regulations and Agricultural Competitiveness," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 5(1), pages 1-17.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:jodeso:v:33:y:2017:i:4:p:469-487. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: SAGE Publications (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.