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Working Paper

Policy Reforms of the Eighties and Industrial Adjustments in Korean Economy

페이스북
커버이미지
  • 저자 이성섭(李性燮)
  • 발행일 1987/07/01
  • 시리즈 번호 8708
원문보기
요약 This paper has probed problems and policy issues arising
from various aspects of industrial adjustment or changing trade
structure as highlights of the economic transition from the
seventies to the eighties. Fruitful findings were obtained from
the study with observations ranging from perceptions on the
making of a new industrial structure and national business
management behavior to an analysis of reshaping industrial
incentive schemes and newly staged macroeconomic
management.

The manufacturing sector steadily recovered in the eighties
from the recession caused by the second oil shock in 1979. The
rapid expansion of more technologically upgraded, heavy
industries continued its advance in the eighties leading into the
dominance of heavy industries in the manufacturing activities.

The debt-equity ratio of the manufacturing sector has
declined significantly in the eighties, and growing importance has
been placed on self-financing by manufacturing firms. Reliance
on overseas financing has decreased due to repeated currency
devaluations and the interest rate hike in the world financial
markets. A computation of profit rates across industries and a
comparison of their distribution between the seventies onward to
the eighties revealed a significant decline in the dispersion range
of the distribution in the eighties, implying improved flexibility
in industrial adjustment and reinvigorated functionings of price
mechanisms.

New patterns of rational behavior have emerged in the
management of businesses in the eighties. Stress has been
placed on technological developments and R&D activities.
Marketing efforts habe been reinforced, and product
differentiation and new product development habe become
integral to business strategy. Efforts to reduce production costs
habe increased.

The credit for such economic achievements should be given
to the price stabilization in the eighties, which contributed to the
drastic reduction of rent-seeking activities and the reinforced the
functionings of price mechanisms so as to increase flexibility in
industrial adjustment, encourage rational behaviors of firms and
raise the competitiveness of domestic industries. The reshaping
of incentive schemes from the industry-specific approach to the
functional one in tax and tariff institutions seems to have
reinforced the functionings of price mechanisms through the
reduction of rent-seeking activities.

The realignment of investment duplications or excessive
investments of heavy-chemical industrial projects helped release
resources to secure industrial adjustments. Also, substantial heed
should be paid to the importance of sustained efforts to provide
industrial infra-structure, industrial sited and surrounding
facilities as an important part of industrial incentive schemes,
contributing to the strengthened competitiveness of domestic
industries and the growing dominance of the heavy industry
group.

Repeated attempts of currency devaluation seem to habe
contributed to the enhancement of domestic industries and
facilitated smooth industrial adjustments and import liberalization.
Successive attempts of launching import liberalization turned out
to have yielded various rational behaviors from firms and have
induced industrial adjustments according to the doctrine of
dynamic comparative advantages. Import-substitution bias,
however, still remains in the incentive schemes inherent in the
trade policy institutions, and import liberalization program has
not ben implemented to the fullest extent.
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