Chapter 1 Introduction: EPB’s Purpose, Goals and Performance Evaluation
In the early 1960s, Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world that lacked financial resources for economic development and was highly dependent on foreign aid. The Park Chung-hee administration that came to power through the May 16 Military Revolution pursued strong economic development policies that were primarily administered by the Economic Planning Board (EPB), under the goal of economic reconstruction. As a result, Korea managed to achieve high economic growth and an advanced industrial structure, and improved its various social indicators in merely a few decades.
The EPB has drawn many positive evaluations from domestic and international academia and media with regard to its contribution to the country’s economic progress. By utilizing the EPB, Korea is widely thought to have carried out policies that have effectively mobilized and distributed limited resources, promoted exports to attain high economic growth, and endeavored to bring about social integration.
Chapter 2 EPB’s Background and Necessity
In 1961, faced with poor economic conditions and political instability, the new government that emerged from a military revolution founded the EPB as a government agency responsible for pushing forward economic development policies. At the time of its establishment, the EPB’s three major objectives were to formulate economic development plans, oversee the government’s annual budget allocation and attract foreign capital. The EPB played a central role in the Park Chung-hee administration’s national economic policy decision-making process.
Chapter 3 Implementation Strategy and System
The EPB, launched on July 22, 1961, was initially an organization comprised of four bureaus (Overall Planning Bureau, Budget Bureau, Material Resource Mobilization Planning Bureau, and Bureau of Statistics), 19 divisions and 228 staff. In December 1963, the Deputy Prime Minister post was introduced, which was a position concurrently held by the EPB Minister. Accordingly, the EPB also gained a higher status and it officially obtained the authority to coordinate a broad range of economic policies related to the economic development plans. For coordinating and deciding on matters related to economic development plans and economic policies, the EPB operated various coordinating bodies, including working-level meetings of the ministries concerned.
Chapter 4 Economic Planning Board: Details and Implementation
The economic development plans were primarily administered by the EPB. During Korea’s high growth era, the EPB was reorganized to closely connect the functions of planning, financial resource allocation, as well as survey and evaluation. In its early years, the EPB’s Economic Survey Division of the Overall Planning Bureau surveyed and analyzed the economic trends at home and abroad, while the Budget Bureau performed the budget functions, and the Bureau of Statistics planned, surveyed and provided statistics. Meanwhile, the Korea Development Institute (KDI), as the EPB’s think-tank, took part in the process of designing the government’s economic policies and thereby directly supported Korea’s economic and social development. Back when the economic development plans were formulated, like any other developing country, Korea lacked resources for investment and thus sought to attract and efficiently manage foreign capital. As a mechanism to promptly adjust and efficiently implement economic policies in a rapidly changing environment, a Monthly Economic Trend Report Meeting was held and attended by the President and economy-related officials.
Chapter 5 Analysis of EPB’s Success Factors
The President’s determination and vision of government policy for economic development promptly spread throughout the EPB and bureaucratic groups. Policy goals were also clearly presented and reasonably aligned with policy objectives and concrete policy means. The EPB possessed plenty of resources, including legal, human and material resources, and other forms of influence, such as information and informal authority. It recruited talented individuals and utilized think-tanks like the Korea Development Institute (KDI). The views of many experts and front-line officials were actively incorporated into preparing the economic development plans, reviewing the progress of major policies or seeking ways of improvement. In terms of Korea’s political and economic conditions, presidential leadership remained relatively stable, making it possible to persistently pursue national goals. The government appears to have won political support, at least on the economic front, by generating visible outcomes through effectively coordinating economic policies.
Chapter 6 Conclusion and Policy Implications
Key lessons drawn from operating the EPB are as follows: First, at the initial stage of the development path in developing economies, positive consideration should be given to creating an organization that holds the authority to allocate the budget and manage foreign capital, as in the case of the EPB, in order to efficiently merge and manage domestic and foreign capital. Second, it is important for the agency’s divisions to provide credible information and timely research outcomes, and it is just as crucial to make full use of think-tanks like the KDI. Third, a smart policy coordination mechanism needs to be put in place. Fourth, the nation’s leader should show strong commitment toward economic development and lend full support to the respective agency in charge. Fifth, no less important is a liberal atmosphere within the organization, as well as the ethics and competence of the high-ranking and front-line officials responsible for economic planning. Sixth, from a long-term perspective, building a national consensus is crucial for succeeding in economic planning or development administration.