Developmental State in South Korea and Democratic Developmental State in Ethiopia: Motivations, Practices, and Challenges

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Addis Ababa University


This study investigates the experiences of developmental state in South Korea and democratic developmental state in Ethiopia. With regard to the experience of South Korea, the study emphasized the development policies and practices of the country from the period 1961 to 1979. In the cases of Ethiopia, the study gives particular emphasis to the post-2001 situation. Empirical data were collected through key informant interviews. Major findings of the study suggest that in South Korea and Ethiopia, development challenges that are linked to the institutional capabilities and independence of the bureaucrats, political devotions, and investment feasibilities make differences. The study also found that it is difficult to attain and sustain development without building inclusive democratic institutions. The absence of democratic, inclusive, and autonomous political institutions adversely affected sustainable development in both South Korea and Ethiopia even though the degree varied. In Ethiopian situation, the challenges of corruption and rent-seeking persisted as politics overly fused with development. Similarly, inefficient, maladministration and mismanagement of public enterprises prevailed due to the absence competent and independent bureaucratic institutions. Private sectors remained weak as government excessively dominated them. Further, the findings of the study imply that the absence democratic and inclusive political institutions resulted in unrest and political instabilities in both countries. Moreover, in order to be developmental, a country should have to possess capable and inclusive political and administrative institutions. These institutions should have to be supported by capable and committed political leadership, and competent, autonomous, and accountable bureaucracy. The study also suggests some experiences that Ethiopia could learn from South Korea regarding developmental state policy formulations and implementations. In Ethiopia, the development role of political leadership and bureaucrats should have to be clearly stated. Similarly, while implementing the policy, political leadership, civil servants, and business should have to be developmental goal oriented and work to achieve such a goal. The finding of the study calls for further research on similar topics in other countries that have undergone democratic developmental state policy.



Developmental State In South Korea And Democratic Developmental State In Ethiopia: Motivations, Practices, And Challenges