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Key Factors to Successful Community Development: The Korean Experience


  • Choe, Chang Soo


The Saemaul Undong of the Republic of Korea has been world-widely recognized as a successful model of rural community development. The Saemaul Undong was a pure Korean way of community development program which was initiated by the political will of the top national leadership in order to escape from poverty. There are several key factors to the success of the Saemaul Undong. First, the national government's guidance and support for the movement played a very important role in the whole period of the movement. Second, there was a wide range of people's participation in the implementation process. Third, the Saemaul Undong could make a big success by nurturing community leadership which was selected by rural residents themselves. Finally, as a movement for the spiritual reform, the Saemaul Undong imbued the people with the spirits of diligence, the self-reliance, and cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Choe, Chang Soo, 2005. "Key Factors to Successful Community Development: The Korean Experience," IDE Discussion Papers 39, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper39

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
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    More about this item


    Rural Development; Saemaul Undong; Government Intervention; Community development; South Korea; 農村開発; セマウル運動; 地域開発; 韓国;

    JEL classification:

    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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