The K-Pop Wave: An Economic Analysis

39 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2013

See all articles by Patrick A. Messerlin

Patrick A. Messerlin

Groupe d'Economie Mondiale at Sciences Po (GEM Paris)

Wonkyu Shin

Center for International Development, Korea Development Institute

Date Written: July 1, 2013

Abstract

This paper first shows the key role of the Korean entertainment firms in the K-pop wave: They have found the right niche in which to operate — the ‘dance-intensive’ segment — and worked out a very innovative mix of old and new technologies for developing the Korean comparative advantages in this segment. Secondly, the paper focuses on the most significant features of the Korean market which have contributed to the K-pop success in the world: the relative smallness of this market, its high level of competition, its lower prices than in any other large developed country, and its innovative ways to cope with intellectual property rights issues. Thirdly, the paper discusses the many ways the K-pop wave could ensure its sustainability, in particular by developing and channeling the huge pool of skills and resources of the current K-pop stars to new entertainment and art activities.

Last but not least, the paper addresses the key issue of the ‘Koreanness’ of the K-pop wave: Does K-pop send some deep messages from and about Korea to the world? It argues that it does.

Keywords: entertainment, comparative advantages, services, trade in services, Internet, digital music, technologies, intellectual property rights, culture, Koreanness

JEL Classification: L82, O33, O34, Z1

Suggested Citation

Messerlin, Patrick A. and Shin, Wonkyu, The K-Pop Wave: An Economic Analysis (July 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2294712 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2294712

Patrick A. Messerlin

Groupe d'Economie Mondiale at Sciences Po (GEM Paris) ( email )

197 Boulevard Saint Germain
197 Bd St Germain Paris 75007, 75007
France

Wonkyu Shin (Contact Author)

Center for International Development, Korea Development Institute ( email )

263 Namsejong-ro
Sejong-si 30149
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
753
rank
31,097
Abstract Views
2,574
PlumX Metrics