chapter  4
22 Pages

Labour Markets In South Korea: Transitions Towards Flexibilities?

WithCHRIS ROWLEY, KIL-SANG YOO, AND DONG-HEON KIM

Introduction The labour market in South Korea (referred to as ‘Korea’ from now on) has undergone many changes during its rapid development into an ‘Asian Tiger’ economy. From the 1960s to 1996 the economy consistently underwent growth rates. This swift and compressed economic development was labelled ‘the miracle of the Han River’. Following the hiatus of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, economic growth continued. For example, the annual average real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate was 8-9 per cent from the 1960s to 1996, falling to 4.7 per cent in 1997 and to –6.9 per cent in 1998. Although GDP then picked up, it dropped back again after the 2008 global financial crisis to 0.2 per cent. Per capita income has also rapidly increased, going from US$82 in 1962 to US$19,231 by 2008.