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Sustaining Korea's Convergence to the Highest-Income Countries


  • Randall S. Jones


  • Satoshi Urasawa



While Korea remains one of the fastest-growing OECD economies, its potential growth rate per capita is projected to decelerate from around 4% during the current decade to around 2¼ per cent during the 2030s. Sustaining growth requires policies to mitigate the impact of rapid population ageing by increasing labour inputs from under-utilised segments of the population. In particular, female labour participation should be encouraged by better work-life balance and increasing the availability of high-quality, affordable childcare, in part by raising tuition fee subsidies and improving the quality of private childcare centres. More flexible employment and wage systems would increase the age at which older workers leave firms. For young people, improved vocational education at the secondary and tertiary levels would help overcome the labour mismatch problem and the overemphasis on tertiary education. Enhancing educational quality at all levels would promote productivity gains, including in services. Strengthened competition is also a key to narrow the large productivity gap between services and manufacturing. Poursuivre la convergence en Corée vers les pays les plus riches Si la Corée connaît toujours l’une des croissances les plus dynamiques de la zone OCDE, son taux de croissance potentiel par habitant devrait ralentir pour passer de 4 % environ d’ici à 2020 à 2¼ pour cent entre 2030 et 2040. Pour soutenir la croissance, les autorités coréennes doivent prendre des mesures pour compenser les effets du vieillissement rapide de la population, en renforçant l’apport de travail des catégories de population sous-utilisées. Il convient notamment de renforcer le taux d’activité des femmes, en leur assurant des conditions d’emploi permettant de mieux concilier vie professionnelle et vie privée et en améliorant l’offre de services de garde de qualité et à moindre coût. Pour ce faire, les autorités devraient plus particulièrement relever les subventions destinées à couvrir les frais d’inscription de garde et améliorer la qualité des centres de garde privés. Une plus grande flexibilité des systèmes d’emploi et de rémunération permettrait aux travailleurs âgés de poursuivre leur activité professionnelle. Quant aux jeunes, l’amélioration de la formation professionnelle dans le secondaire et le supérieur contribuerait à résoudre les problèmes d’adéquation entre l’offre et la demande de compétences et de surqualification dans l’enseignement supérieur. Un enseignement de meilleure qualité à tous les niveaux augmenterait les gains de productivité, y compris dans le secteur tertiaire. Le renforcement de la concurrence offre également une piste pour combler l’écart de productivité important entre le secteur des services et le secteur manufacturier.

Suggested Citation

  • Randall S. Jones & Satoshi Urasawa, 2012. "Sustaining Korea's Convergence to the Highest-Income Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 965, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:965-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Willem Adema & Pauline Fron & Maxime Ladaique, 2011. "Is the European Welfare State Really More Expensive?: Indicators on Social Spending, 1980-2012; and a Manual to the OECD Social Expenditure Database (SOCX)," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 124, OECD Publishing.
    2. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2012. "Labor market policy: A comparative view on the costs and benefits of labor market flexibility," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 94-110, December.
    3. Kang, Byung-Goo & Yun, Myeong-Su, 2008. "Changes in Korean Wage Inequality, 1980−2005," IZA Discussion Papers 3780, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Andrea Bassanini & Jørn Henrik Rasmussen & Stefano Scarpetta, 1999. "The Economic Effects of Employment-Conditional Income Support Schemes for the Low-Paid: An Illustration from a CGE Model Applied to Four OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 224, OECD Publishing.
    5. Isabell Koske & Jean-Marc Fournier & Isabelle Wanner, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are They Compatible? Part 2. The Distribution of Labour Income," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 925, OECD Publishing.
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    More about this item


    childcare; Corée; dualisme du marché du travail; EAJE; ECEC; education; emploi des femmes; enseignement professionnel; enseignement supérieur; female employment; innovation; innovation; Korea; Korean economy; labour force participation rates; labour market dualism; non-regular workers; older workers; PME; potential growth; potentiel de croissance; R&D; R-D; réforme fiscale; secteur des services; services sector; SMEs; système éducatif; taux d'activité; tax reform; tertiary education; travailleurs non réguliers; travailleurs âgés; TVA; VAT; vocational education; économie coréenne;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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