Did Confucianism Check or Help Growth?

Click here for paper download.

Confucianism had been considered as anti-growth until the East Asian growth miracle occurred. This paper constructs and analyzes a county level dataset for China to find that the growth consequence of the doctrine differed under different political orders. Ordinary least squares and instrumental variable regressions agree in showing that Confucianism promoted per capita output growth in Maoist China, but not in the preceding or following regimes. Evidence indicates that the doctrine promoted human and physical capital accumulation, but impeded innovation. Confucianism appears as incompatible with sustained growth, which needs to be driven not by accumulation, but by technological progress.

JEL classification: N15, N35, O11, O15, O53

Key words: China; Confucianism; development; growth

Historical Statistics of Korea: Abstract

edited by Myung Soo Cha, Nak Nyeon Kim, Kijoo Park, and Yitaek Park

forthcoming from Springer Publishing

This book presents economic statistics of Korea in the past three centuries, focusing on the century following 1910. The data, typically time series, rather than cross-sectional, are given in 22 chapters, which refer to population, wages, prices, education, health, national income and wealth, and technology, among others. Rather than simply putting together available data, the contributors to this statistical compendium made adjustments to ensure consistency when required. An overview draws attention to discontinuous shifts occurring over time in the quantity and quantity of the statistical information available, which was associated with the regime changes Korea underwent including the imposition of Japanese rule in 1910 and de-colonization and split into two Koreas three and half decades later. Individual chapters begin with a brief introduction, which helps users better understand and use data. Data sources and references in the Japanese and Korean language are fully provided following the standard Helpburn and McCune-Reischauer Romanization with English translation to assist users identify materials and explore deeper into the wealth of statistical data waiting to be analyzed.

Table of Contents

Historical Statistics of Korea: Table of Contents

edited by

Myung Soo Cha, Nak Nyeon Kim, Kijoo Park, and Yitaek Park

Forthcoming from Springer Publishing

Table of Contents

A. Environment and Geography

B. Population

C. Labor Force and Employment

D. Wages

E. Education

F. Health

G. Agriculure

H. Natural Resources

I. Construction and Housing

J. Manufacturing

K. Distribution

L. Transportation and Communication

M. Service Industry and Public Utilities

N. National Income

O. Prices

P. Capital and Wealth

Q. Science and Technology

R. Business Organization

S. Monetary and Financial System

T. Public Sector

U. Law and Order

V. International Trade and Exchange Rates

The Consequences of the Post-Colonial Land Redistribution for the Democratic Transition in South Korea


work in progress


Land inequality tends to be viewed as inimical to democratic outcomes, either because it is usually associated with unequal distribution of social power, or because the immobility and specificity of landed assets imply landowners losing more from higher taxation under democracy than the owners of human and physical capital. The release from Japanese rule in 1945 triggered massive land redistribution in South Korea, which culminated in the legislation of the Land Reform Law three years later. This paper analyzes county-level outcome of the presidential elections to show that the post-colonial land redistribution promoted democratic transition by weakening social inequality, rather than by reducing the concentration of landownership.

Do Contraceptives Cause Fertility Transition? Evidence from Korea

Available from SSRN

As the total fertility rate fell from 6.0 to 1.6 from 1960-90, the South Korean government implemented a family planning program focusing on the distribution of contraceptives. While the concurrence has been interpreted as evidence of the public provision of fertility control devices lowering fertility, the causal link has yet to be established controlling for the covariates of fertility. Constructing and analyzing panel data sets, this paper finds that the fertility transition was driven predominantly by per capita output growth, with vasectomy, together with financial development, rising population density, and the public provision of secondary schooling, playing supporting roles.

Bad and Good Inequality in the Advance of the Korean Literacy

Available from SSRN

This paper identifies two distinct types of inequality affecting the advance of the Korean literacy in opposite ways. Literacy improvement in colonial Korea was checked by the presence of landed elite with pre-colonial origin, but helped by the development of profit-seeking land tenancy associated with contractual formalization. Abolishing both the aristocratic and market-oriented landlordism, the post-colonial land redistribution accelerated the advance of literacy by destroying the structural inequality, rather than by reducing the market inequality. It is thus important for policymakers to identify the nature of inequality they face before embarking on redistribution.

What Did Civil Examination Do for Korea?

with Junseok Hwang and Heejin Park

to be presented at the 8th World Congress of Cliometrics, 4-7 July, Strasbourg, France

Naksungdae Institute of Economic Research Working Paper 2016-5

We analyze the records of individuals climbing the bureaucratic ladder of pre-colonial Korea to find that civil examination, theoretically driven by meritocracy, served to support, rather than weaken, status order. The affirmative action taken by the monarch to stabilize regime was more than countered by elite countermeasures. Correlations between civil examination success on the one hand and literacy and the diffusion of improved rice seeds in colonial Korea on the other suggest that civil examination stifled human capital accumulation and technological progress by supporting elite dominance. The origins of neither the growth miracle nor democratic transition South Korea achieved can be traced back to pre-colonial era.