Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Technological Capability Building in South Korea: Some Lessons for Pakistan

Recent economic upheavals raise important questions about the nature of the transformation that has taken place in the East Asian economics. Are these economics really catching up with the West? Is there growth process sustainable? Or will they suffer the type of systemic disintegration experienced by the East European countries during the 1990s—Paul Krugman (1994) and Young (1994) had demonstrated similarities in the East Asian and East European growth paths some time ago. Technological upgrading is an important element in the development of a sustainable growth strategy. This paper seeks to describe policies and initiatives taken by the South Korean government to stimulate technological learning during 1960-1990—the decades during which the South Korean economy achieved a “miraculous” transformation. The description relics mainly on Korean sources and is based on our own field research in that country. Section one describes the technological learning processes and Section Two presents a discussion of the policies that facilitated this learning. Section Three briefly addresses the question: Did this type of technological learning make a contribution towards enhancing the sustainability of Korean development processes? The concluding section briefly reflects on the lessons that seem relevant for Pakistan.

Rafique A. Khan, Javed A. Ansari