Pathways to the Development: A Comparative Study of Business Structures in Korea and Taiwan
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis examines the emergence of different business structure in Taiwan and South Korea. This thesis questions how, in very similar contexts, different economic institutions have evolved. In contrast to the political, market, and cultural perspectives dealing, the historical comparative institutional analysis adopted in this research suggests institutions alone could not explain the different business structure. In Korea and Taiwan, different business structure has emerged during the 1960s and 1970s, and this thesis considers three factors underlying their formations: political conditions, historical events, and industrial adjustments. The Chaebols in Korea, to a large extent are the result of a political alliance between the South Korean governments with the entrepreneurial elites to overcome their weak political support basis. Thus South Korea was, exposed largely to the leverages and influences of large business conglomerates which in turn benefited the growth of the Chaebols. In Taiwan, however, the business groups are the oucome of state policies in the economic realm. To avoid political challenges from centralized business groups, the KMT government in Taiwan distanced itself from the business sector and when necessary, exerted strong measures to restrict the business concentration. Thus, business structure in Taiwan are more diffused and balanced in its proportions. SMEs produces most of the export goods while the Large enterprises and State own enterprises produce the domestic consumer goods. This thesis pilots aspects of an alternative explanation, which aims to add additional explanation to the literature. Contrary to the prior conception of the institutional logic, the thesis concludes that growth of business structure in East Asia must incorporate attributes of historical and political conditions that support the entrepreneurial behavior, and the wider environment that serves to deter or reinforce risk-taking behavior.