chapter  3
18 Pages

The political economy of inequality and capture in South Korea

WithCheol-Sung Lee

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.