South Korea is renowned as one of the success stories of fast economic development. The Korean developmental state was a highly efficient, meritocratic, and fully monopolized coercive force. These resources were skilfully leveraged to shape the direction of private sector actors towards strategic initiatives. However, these very same resources could have resulted in the bureaucracy retaining its power indefinitely. Instead, step-by-step, the resources of the bureaucracy, which serviced the authoritarian leadership in the developmental period, were exercised towards democratization. What were the conditions that made this transformation possible?
The Experience of Democracy and Bureaucracy in South Korea addresses this question, filling the existing gap in the academic literature and presenting political implications. It explores the ways in which bureaucracy may not only be compatible with democracy but, more ambitiously, the conditions under which it can enhance it. The chapters examine the unique systems and institutions of the Korean bureaucracy including the National Election Commission, the police force, local government, the ceiling recruitment strategy, and procurement policy.
This timely collection will be of interest to researchers, graduate and undergraduate students in public administration and policy. It will also be a useful reference for bureaucrats in developing countries who seek to design policy for bureaucracy in concurrence with democratization.
About the Author
Tobin Im is a Professor of Public Administration at Seoul National University and Director of the Centre for Government Competitiveness, South Korea. Tobin was awarded a Ph.D. in Organizational Sociology from L'Institute d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, he has written numerous articles in world class academic journals and has published many books in Korea, France, Holland, Russia and India. His research and teaching areas of interest include Organizational Theory, Performance Management, and Comparative Administration.