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Unbalanced Development: The Origin of Korea's Self-Employment Problem from a Comparative Perspective


  • Ji-Whan Yun


Why does South Korea have a demographically massive and economically vulnerable self-employed population? From a comparative perspective, this study argues that Korea's self-employment problem originated in the country's process of unbalanced development: Korea benefited from the strategy of export-led growth, yet it did not manage the negative impact of this strategy on labour force absorption. The consequence of unbalanced development is the limited capacity of labour markets to absorb the workforce. Therefore, rural migrants in urban areas had no choice but to open small businesses, despite having few financial and technological resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Ji-Whan Yun, 2011. "Unbalanced Development: The Origin of Korea's Self-Employment Problem from a Comparative Perspective," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(5), pages 786-803.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:5:p:786-803
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2010.514329

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy J. Bartik, 2001. "Jobs for the Poor: Can Labor Demand Policies Help?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number tjb2001, November.
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