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Korea and the Great Recession: The Effects of Chaebol Reform on South Korea’s Recovery from the 2008 Financial Crisis

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While South Korea was equally as affected by the global financial crisis as its Western counterparts, the nation’s economy recovered much more quickly. Why did this happen? Was South Korea in a better position to recover from the crisis in 2008 because of the lessons learned from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis? This paper seeks to answer this question by looking at the history of Korea’s chaebol (conglomerates) and how legislation after the 1997 crisis changed their structure and function.

Kate Chekan is a second-year student at SAIS, concentrating in China Studies and International Finance. She is a B.A./M.A. joint degree student, and graduated from Johns Hopkins University in May 2010. She previously held investment banking and corporate finance internships in Northern Virginia.