For almost all countries, economic growth is a key national agenda. It is the most powerful instrument for creating jobs and eliminating poverty in developing countries. As Harvard economist Dani Rodrik remarked, nothing has worked better than economic growth historically in enabling societies to improve the life chances of their members, including those at the very bottom. Many countries have therefore struggled to achieve economic growth, but not all of them have succeeded. On the contrary, only a handful of countries have been able to pull themselves from a ‘developing’ to a ‘developed’ status through sustained and broad-based growth. This group includes Korea and a few East Asian countries. Others have languished behind, either suffering a consistently negligible growth or repeating a cycle of boom and bust.
The Korean government has been engaged in policy consultation for partner countries through Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP) since 2004 to help them achieve fast economic growth and modernize their society. This book is an attempt to distill major findings from the KSP studies that by now number almost one thousand. Each chapter of this book first examines the state of developing countries in a specific policy area such as macroeconomics, industry, science and technology, education, environment, public expenditure management, and civil service reform. Different countries face different challenges, but efforts were made to identify common obstacles to growth that most countries share. Korea’s experience is then presented for reference. Finally, lessons are drawn and policy directions are suggested to overcome these obstacles. It is hoped that this book would contribute to a more customized and structured policy consultation in the future.
Each chapter of this book was written by a joint research team made up of the best experts in the field and staff from KDI’s Center for International Development.