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Development Strategies in a Lagging Region: The Case of Centralized Polarization in Korea

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Item Summary

Title: Development Strategies in a Lagging Region: The Case of Centralized Polarization in Korea
Authors: Lee, Jeong-sik
Advisor: Pitts, Forrest R.
Keywords: regional planning
Korea
rural development
economic policy
regional disparity
Issue Date: May 1981
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 1981]
Abstract: This study examines differences in the levels of regional development among the six regions (Capital, Kangwon, Ch'ungch'ong, Cholla, Kyongsang and Cheju) of the Republic of Korea from 1941 to 1976 and the possible factors which have created and perpetuated their differences, especially between the more developed Kyongsang region and the less developed Cholla region. It also investigates the ways in which the struggle for development in these two regions is affected by explicit economic and implicit political policies. Finally, the study recommends that development strategies aimed at reducing regional disparities be based on identifying and reversing these policies.
The variables employed in determining the level of regional development among six regions include demographic characteristics, productivity in primary and secondary sectors, the magnitude of infrastructural facilities, health facilities and educational attainment, and other financial conditions such as local taxes and bank deposits. Furthermore, the overall extent of regional disparities in the Republic of Korea is analyzed by Williamson's population-weighted coefficient of variation, using GRP per capita. Its overall magnitude of disparities converged during 1961-66, but subsequently diverged during 1966-76. Regional disparities between the Cholla region and the Kyongsang region have accelerated in terms of both the regions as a whole and within localities of the two regions, particularly since the early 1970s.
In the 1970s private investment variable was by far an important determinant in the level of regional development of the Kyongsang region and, to a lesser extent, of the Cholla region. During the 1960s, however, education played an important role in the Cholla region, but this was not significant in the Kyongsang region. While infrastructure was a crucial factor in explaining developmental changes in the Cholla region between 1971 and 1975, private investment was more important in the Kyongsang region during the same period. The regional dummy variables had little effect on the static models of regional development, but these had a somewhat significant effect on the dynamic models. Disparities in development between the two regions are thus attributable to both locational and structural conditions.
The Kyongsang region has rapidly developed as an industrial region, especially for manufacturing of export goods, in the Republic of Korea, along with the support of explicit economic and implicit political policies. In contrast, it appears that the Cholla region has not only received relatively little benefit of development but has also been comparatively neglected in recent industrial development. The implication is that explicit and implicit policies aimed at efficiency-oriented economic development through regional polarization cannot be successful without negative side effects. The efficiency goal, therefore, may not be compatible with the equity goal. It appears from the experience of the Republic of Korea that polarization policies perpetuate regional disparities arising in the early stage of economic development.
In order to relieve prevailing social unrest and thereby realize social and spacial justice, the most effective means of overcoming regional disparities appears to be through paving the way for an equity policy. Continuous attention and almost single-minded commitment of political leaders are required to transform an efficiency-orientation into equity-oriented programs. Strong political commitment, changes in policy priorities, and more political participation appear to be the basic preconditions for more equitable regional development in centralized countries in the Third World, including the Republic of Korea.
Description: PhD University of Hawaii at Manoa 1981
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 189–200).
Pages/Duration: xi, 200 leaves, bound : illustrations, maps ; 28 cm
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/9789
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Geography


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