Speaker: Randall Jones
Affiliation: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Although the Republic of Korea's income levels are close to the most advanced countries’, labor productivity in services is only 46% that of manufacturing, one of the lowest among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in manufacturing is only a third of that of large firms. Labor market segmentation between regular and non-regular workers has resulted in one of the highest levels of wage inequality among OECD countries. Women’s employment rate is relatively low and the gender wage gap is the largest among OECD countries. The Republic of Korea is the most rapidly aging of OECD countries, which is projected to drive up government social spending from 10% of GDP to 26% by 2060.
This survey assesses the country's recent macroeconomic performance and prospects. It recommends wide-ranging reforms to enhance competition, improve corporate governance, promote entrepreneurship, and upgrade SME policies to achieve the government's objective of moving away from growth led by business groups (chaebols) to that where SMEs and innovative start-ups have a greater role. Labor market reforms are also needed to increase employment of women, youth, and older persons, and to promote inclusive growth.
About the speaker
Randall Jones’ interest in Asia started when he worked in the Republic of Korea as a missionary at the age of 19. Afterward, he studied Chinese and later Japanese while earning a PhD in economics at the University of Michigan. After graduating, Jones worked briefly for the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors and the Japan Economic Institute, and then as an economist under George Schultz at the United States’ State Department. Jones joined the OECD in 1989 as head of OECD’s Japan/Korea Desk.
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