During the past several decades, Korea has recorded remarkable economic growth and has become a leading player in the global economy. Korea is regarded as a textbook example of economic development for successfully achieving economic growth and social cohesion simultaneously.
The financial crisis in the late 1990's had profound impacts on Korean society. After the crisis, Korea's economic growth has become gradually slowdown with the noticeable deterioration of the labor market situations and living standards of households. Many social policies were introduced and expenditures related to these policies have increased rapidly. Despite of all these efforts, Korea witnesses that demand for social cohesion less satisfactory. There is no doubt that future economic development and its substantiality critically depends on social cohesion of our society. Fortunately, Korean government has made social cohesion its top priority and is now working on coming up with various policy measures.
In order to assist the government's efforts to enhance social cohesion, KDI jointly with OECD started a collaborative project and published ｢Social Policy Brochure (KDI/OECD)｣, which was considered of great significance in conveying the importance of social cohesion to the Korean society, in 2011. As it became apparent that there was also need to develop concrete policy alternatives, KDI and OECD agreed to the necessity of a follow-up study and initiated intensive researches to explore policy alternatives on social cohesion,
issues on such as fair income distribution, labor market for the disadvantaged and decent jobs for them, affordable medical insurance and child care.
Social policy recommendations to be presented in this project will surely be a great help to implement domestic economic and social policies. It is also anticipated to give better understanding of social policies and shed light on the future direction for these policies.
Many people participated in and gave substantial assistance in completing this project and publishing this book. Various ministries of Korea government including Ministry of Strategy and Finance, Ministry of Employment and Labor, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Health and Welfare. This project is deeply indebted to peoples at the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Korea to the OECD for providing substantial assistance in arranging meetings with the OECD, and useful administrative advices. Discussants and participants in the conference held on Feb 5th, 2013 made detailed and insightful comments on the topics. Without their help, this project would have been far from complete. Finally, I would like to thank all the contributors to this book.