The Korean Story: Secrets of an Economic Miracle

What can the world learn from the South Korean development story?


SDG8: Decent work and economic growth
Economic Development
South Korea
economic growth
development studies

The Korean Story discusses the socio-political and historical context that has shaped the economic growth of South Korea. It probes into how South Korea, post-WWII, was able to transform its economy within three decades to emerge as a leading innovation and technology center in the 21st century.

It highlights South Korea’s current status in terms of human development indicators and the SDGs and offers insights on how other countries can achieve similar growth stories with structured reform and policy measures.

The course features modules from eight leading Korean experts in economics, politics, education, health, gender empowerment, rural development, and transportation. The eminent thought-leader in economics and sustainable development, Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs presents the introductory module about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while especially focusing on the Korean experience of setting goals and targets to achieve them.

The Korean Story: Secrets of an Economic Miracle is developed and produced by the KDI School of Public Policy and Management, in partnership with the SDG Academy.

Target Audience

Advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in the key concepts of nation-building, economic reform, governance and development.

Government officials and bureaucrats who want to understand more about South Korea’s development story.

Sustainable development practitioners – as well as private-sector actors, such as those who work in the financial sector – who need to understand the economic models that support and depend on sustainable development

Learning Objectives

  • How South Korea achieved spectacular economic growth within three decades (1962-1992) of the Korean War (1950-53)
  • What lessons may be leveraged from the Korean experience of achieving the SDGs
  • Why and how human capital development, especially in early education, health and gender reform matter
  • Korea's rich socio-political history, culture, the Saemaul Movement, and more

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