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
Date Written: June 2014
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: Suggested Citation