Five-Year Plans of South Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Five-Year Plans of South Korea (경제사회발전 5개년계획) is an economic development project of South Korea.


Both North and South Korea had survived the Korean War (1950–53). From the end of World War II, South Korea remained largely dependent on U.S. aid until an internal revolution occurred in 1961. In 1961, General Park Chung-hee seized political power and decided the country should become self-reliant by utilizing five-year plans.

Five-Year Plans[edit]

The plans were designed to increase wealth within South Korea and strengthen political stability. A change in policy from import substitution industrialization to export-oriented growth occurred throughout these five-year plans. South Korea had three five-year plans under the auspices of the Economic Planning Board, a state bureaucracy pilot agency.


The first plan sought to expand electrical/coal energy industry, emphasizing importance on the infrastructure for establishing a solid foundation, agricultural productivity, export, neutralize balance of payments, and promote technological advancements.

Korean economy observed a 7.8% growth, exceeding expectations, while GNP per capita grew from 83 to 125 US dollars.


The second five-year plan sought to shift the South Korean state into heavy industry by making South Korea more competitive in the world market, which was incorporated into all future five-year plans. The industry was based on steel and petrochemical industry. The major highways were built for easier transportation.

U.S.-China's opening up in 1972 led to a greater competitive marketplace for South Korean goods and services. Fears also prevailed that the U.S. would no longer provide military defense for South Korea.


Park Chung Hee(박정희) implemented the third five-year plan which was referred to as the Heavy Chemical Industrialization Plan (HCI Plan) and, also, the "Big Push". To fund the HCIP, the government borrowed heavily from foreign countries (not foreign direct investment, so that it could direct its project).


By the time of the fourth plan, GNP per capita in 1977 was 1,000 US dollars. However, in 1978, because of price of goods, real estate speculation, lack of everyday necessities and various produce, etc., previously unaddressed problems began to arise. In 1979, the second oil shock pushed the Korean economy to harsher standards and in 1980, the Gwangju Democratization Movement, political turmoil, pessimistic foresight, and unmet goals all contributed towards a first minus in the Korean economy in years.


The Fifth Five-Year Economic and Social Development Plan (1982-86) sought to shift the emphasis away from heavy and chemical industries, to technology-intensive industries, such as precision machinery, electronics (televisions, videocassette recorders, and semiconductor-related products), and information. More attention was to be devoted to building high-technology products in greater demand on the world market.


The Sixth Five-Year Economic and Social Development Plan (1987-91) to a large extent continued to emphasize the goals of the previous plan. The government intended to accelerate import liberalization and to remove various types of restrictions and nontariff barriers on imports. These moves were designed to mitigate adverse effects, such as monetary expansion and delays in industrial structural adjustment, which can arise because of a large surplus of funds. Seoul pledged to continue phasing out direct assistance to specific industries and instead to expand manpower training and research and development in all industries, especially the small and medium-sized firms that had not received much government attention previously. Seoul hoped to accelerate the development of science and technology by raising the ratio of research and development investment from 2.4 percent of the GNP to over 3 percent by 1991.


The goal of the Seventh Five-Year Economic and Social Development Plan (1992-96), formulated in 1989, was to develop high-technology fields, such as microelectronics, new materials, fine chemicals, bioengineering, optics, and aerospace. Government and industry would work together to build high-technology facilities in seven provincial cities to better balance the geographic distribution of industry throughout South Korea.

See also[edit]


  • Park, P.H.,2000 "A Reflection on the East Asian Development Model: Comparison of the South Korean and Taiwanese Experiences," Thailand, Japan, and the East Asian Development Model, edited by Frank-Jurgen Richter, pages 141-168