The political economics of industrial development in the Korean automotive sector
by Byoung-Hoon Lee
International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management (IJATM), Vol. 11, No. 2, 2011

Abstract: This case study examines how the Korean auto sector has advanced via a series of industrial restructurings, focusing on employment relations and governmental policy from the perspective of a national political economy. The successful case of the Korean auto industry highlights the significance of the government's strategic approach to nurturing the auto sector and facilitating industrial restructuring. Industrial restructuring is crucial for optimising market competition and advancing firm-level competitiveness, as illustrated by two waves of industrial restructuring – the first, state-led in the early 1980s and the second market-driven as a result of the economic crisis of 1997–1998 – which act as selective processes that weed out unfit players while strengthening the survivors of industry-level competition. From a political economy perspective the persistent influence of the state in the developmental and restructuring processes forges a 'tightly-coupled' relationship between government and automakers that is unseen in the advanced economies.

Online publication date: Fri, 13-Mar-2015

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