The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 22

Was the development of Korea and The "Gang of Four" Unique?

15 May 1984

Author: Nigel Harris

Publication Date: 1990

The now voluminous literature on South Korea's remarkable trajectory of growth 1 has been mainly preoccupied with identifying the domestic factors which account for development. This allows us to compare the pattern of growth with the other three `Little Tigers' in east and south east Asia (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore) or with Less Developed Countries (LDCs) in general. The differences between the four are now well recognised: State direction in three; foreign capital domination in one (Singapore); free trade in two (Hong Kong and Singapore); dependence on small private enterprise in two (Taiwan, Hong Kong); agricultural procurements in one (Korea) and so on. They do not tell us a great deal about growth other than that several formulae are consistent with exportled industrialisation. Nor is there reason to believe that the common features of the four by any means exhaust the possibilities. Indeed, the pioneers make it easier for those following to separate the necessary from the extraneous features.

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