The political economy of inequality and capture in South Korea
This chapter explores the questions as to why South Korea’s developmental state degenerated into crony capitalism, or captured democracy, and why the post-crisis reform has failed to end crony capitalism in that country. It tests the theoretical argument that high inequality makes democracies vulnerable to capture by the elite through a case study of South Korea. It examines the specific factors and processes that contributed to increasing inequality and capture using the process-tracing methodology. It traces the change from “growth with equity” to increasing inequality and growth without trickle-down effects and how increasing inequality has affected the politics of reform as well as the politics of capture.