Perspectives on Decentralisation and Rural-Urban Linkages in Korea

The economic development of Korea is widely considered as a success story. Yet, as the country joins the ranks of the world’s most advanced economies, its rapid pace of development has not fully reached every part of its territory. The pace of urbanisation, particularly around Seoul, has placed mounting pressure on the capital’s quality of life, while in rural regions the country’s success has felt distant. To address these regional disparities, successive governments have pursued a policy of balanced national development, with major initiatives aimed at spreading economic opportunities throughout the country while at the same time transferring authority and resources to regional and local governments, to increasingly empower them to navigate their own path forward. This study takes stock of these efforts in the context of rural development and finds evidence of progress in several areas, yet opportunities remain in others. The study includes advice and recommendations on multi-level governance, rural-urban linkages and other issues drawn from the experience of OECD countries on how Korea’s efforts in pursuit of inclusive growth may be further strengthened to improve the well-being of the country's rural regions.

Published on March 04, 2021

In series:OECD Rural Studiesview more titles


Executive Summary
Assessment and recommendations
Trends, opportunities and challenges in rural Korea
Evolution of rural policies in Korea and current policy measures
Considerations for upcoming decentralisation and devolution
Rural-urban linkages and innovation cities
Case study of Chungcheongbuk-do and Jeollanam-do
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