Land Reform, Inequality, and Corruption: A Comparative Historical Study of Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines

The Korean Journal of International Studies Vol.12-1 (June 2014),191-224

34 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2014

See all articles by Jong-sung You

Jong-sung You

The Australian National University

Date Written: June 2014

Abstract

This article presents some of the key arguments and findings of the author’s forthcoming book, Democracy, Inequality and Corruption: Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines Compared (Cambridge University Press). It explores how inequality increases corruption via electoral clientelism, bureaucratic patronage, and elite capture of policy process through a comparative historical analysis of South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines that shared similar conditions at the time of independence. It finds that success and failure of land reform, which was little affected by corruption but largely determined by exogenous factors such as external communist threats and U.S. pressures for reform, produced different levels of inequality, which in turn influenced subsequent levels of corruption through capture and clientelism. In the Philippines, failed land reform maintained high inequality and domination of the landed elite in both politics and economy, which led to persistent political clientelism, increasing patronage in bureaucracy, and policy capture by the powerful elite. In contrast, successful land reform in South Korea and Taiwan dissolved the landed class and produced egalitarian socioeconomic structure, which helped to maintain state autonomy, contain clientelism, promote meritocratic bureaucracy, and develop programmatic politics over time.

Keywords: land reform, inequality, corruption, clientelism, capture, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines

JEL Classification: N45, O18, O29, O53, P16, P52

Suggested Citation

You, Jong-sung, Land Reform, Inequality, and Corruption: A Comparative Historical Study of Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines (June 2014). The Korean Journal of International Studies Vol.12-1 (June 2014),191-224. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2505635

Jong-sung You (Contact Author)

The Australian National University ( email )

Australia
+61 2 6125 7097 (Phone)

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