Reviews from Experts
South Korea’s extraordinary economic transformation is well known and much acclaimed. Less familiar to outsiders is South Korea’s present malaise – the product of a faltering economy, rising inequality and social polarization, and divisive politics. This excellent book not only tells the story with great skill, but also points the way to a more hopeful, more vibrant economic future. Jaejoon Woo confronts the challenges facing South Korea with detailed empirical work and good policy sense. He shows that addressing these challenges will require a state that is no less active than in the past, but focused on new priorities such as social inclusion, labor market dynamism, and service-sector productivity.
Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, Harvard University
Within Korea, there have been vigorous debates over why economic growth has slowed markedly and there is growing fear that Korea could enter a period of stagnation comparable to what has occurred in Japan. Sorting out all the elements that have gone into this slowdown is a complex task. Jaejoon Woo in Confronting Korea’s Next Crisis has done a masterful and sophisticated job of analyzing why the economy has slowed and what it will take to sustain growth into the future. His analysis will be of interest to anyone wishing to understand the contemporary Korean economy. It should also be of interest to anyone concerned with similar challenges facing many other advanced economies at this time.
Dwight H. Perkins, Harold Hitchings Burbank Research Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University
Jaejoon Woo reviews the Korean economy with rigorous economic analysis and keen insight. His prescience then guides the readers on how the country can overcome the present obstacles of structural rigidity and social polarization to take off yet again without succumbing to the trap of Japanification. The book is the study of Korean experience and prospects; yet, the solution offered by the author can apply to all countries seeking to leap toward the new phase of economic development. I recommend this book to academics, policymakers, and anyone interested in economic growth and overcoming crises.
Seoung Hwan Suh, 19th President of Yonsei University
This book presents almost an encyclopedia-like account of recent developments as well as policy challenges of the Korean economy. Based on a large set of data and an in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the system, Jaejoon Woo presents his own rigorous analysis and work experience in plain language, thereby making them accessible to a wide range of audience. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is more than casually interested in the Korean economy.
Il-Houng Lee, Former Member of Monetary Policy Board at the Bank of Korea and Former President of Korea Institute for International Economic Policy
South Korea’s influence and production sphere has expanded into culture, with K-pop group “BTS”, Oscar winner “Parasite” and Netflix hit “Squid Games” capturing the world’s imagination. But the Asian financial crisis continues to cast a long shadow over the Korean miracle and remains a constant reminder of what can go wrong. Jaejoon Woo goes beneath the shiny surface and confronts the widening fractures - rising income inequality, an aging population, mounting household debt and populist politics. Jaejoon argues that active government policies, structural reforms and a stronger social safety net is needed to avoid the next crisis. Policymakers and investors should take heed to the undercurrents and flashing amber lights.
Hak Bin Chua, Regional Co-Head Macro Research, Maybank