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S. Korea to share economic progress with global community


South Korea will share its 20-year economic development history of overcoming the middle-income trap, government officials said Thursday.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the World Bank Korea office and state-run Korea Development Institute will publish a collaborative research paper titled “Korea: Connecting Innovation and Technology to Development” early next year. 

The move came as the World Bank Group has requested the Korean government to share its history of overcoming the middle income trap -- a situation where some rapidly growing economies reach the middle-income level, but fail to surpass that income range and achieve high-income country status.

The Finance Ministry has decided to finance the joint study by two agencies and the booklet will cover the economic growth of Asia’s fourth-largest economy since the Asian financial crisis in 1997, explaining the country’s breakthrough technology, the state-led economic reform programs, export-oriented industrialization and overseas investment. 

This is the first such global report, as previous research was centered on Korea’s economic development in the 1960s and the early 1990s when the government mainly focused on reducing poverty and nurturing key industries. 

“It is meaningful that South Korea, which was the world’s poorest country 60 years ago, has become the leading example of a developing nation rising to high-income economy,” Deputy Minister for International Affairs Heo Jang said.

Researchers participating in the study include Soh Hoon Sahib, country manager of World Bank Group Korea Office and Koh Young-sun, executive director of KDI’s center for International Development, as well as Lee Ho-jun, director of public finance and social policy division at KDI.

Also participating in the study are a number of global experts, including Barry Eichengreen, economics professor at the University of California Berkeley, and Philippe Aghion, economics professor at Harvard University.

By Choi Jae-hee (