[KS] Demystifying the Park Chung-Hee Myth: Land Reform in the Evolution of Korea’s Developmental State

Jong-Sung You youjs at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 7 07:08:02 EDT 2017

My article, Demystifying the Park Chung-Hee Myth: Land Reform in the Evolution of Korea’s Developmental State<http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00472336.2017.1334221>, has been published online in Journal of Contemporary Asia.

It's available at


[Abstract] The developmental state literature emphasises the importance of state autonomy and capacity, with a particular focus on a Weberian type of meritocratic bureaucracy. Existing studies of South Korea’s economic development generally credit Park Chung-hee for establishing such a state. This article questions this assessment with careful process tracing of the development of a meritocratic bureaucracy in the country. The findings suggest that the contrast between the predatory Rhee regime (1948–1960) and the developmental Park regime (1961–1979) has been exaggerated. Meritocracy in South Korea’s bureaucratic recruitment and promotion systems developed gradually over several decades, including during Rhee’s regime as well as the short democratic episode (1960–1961). What then explains the evolution of a developmental state in Korea? This article suggests that land reform contributed to not only creating social structural conditions favourable to state autonomy but also promoting the development of a meritocratic bureaucracy by propelling rapid expansion of education and by mitigating the extent of political clientelism.

Note that I have not romanized Korean references but provided the original Korean author names and titles along with their English translations.

I have also pubished an article with Don S. Lee, 이원정부제의 이론적, 경험적 고찰과 한국적 적용을 위한 사례 예시 (Semi-Presidentialism: Typology, Outcomes and Application to Korea).” 동향과 전망 (Trends and Prospects) issue 100(June 2017): 118-151. I can send an electronic copy of this article if anyone wants.

Best regards,


Jong-sung You (유종성)| Senior Lecturer | Department of Political & Social Change | Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs | College of Asia & the Pacific | The Hedley Bull Centre (130)| The Australian National University | Acton, ACT 2601| Australia | Tel: +61 2 6125 7097 | Homepage: http://psc.bellschool.anu.edu.au/experts-publications/experts/jong-sung-you
Paperback (new): Democracy, Inequality and Corruption: Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines Compared<http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/politics-international-relations/comparative-politics/democracy-inequality-and-corruption-korea-taiwan-and-philippines-compared?format=PB> (Cambridge University Press, discount code: jong-sungyou)
[책과 삶]불평등이 먼저인가 부패가 먼저인가..불평등이 부패를 초래한다<http://v.media.daum.net/v/20160930192203365?f=o>
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