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Smile and Sunshine: Assessing the Impact and Sustainability of Microfinance in South Korea


Rebecca Lee assesses the early successes and failures of ROK microfinance initiatives intended to link social welfare with economic development, as well as the Korean authorities’ responses to administrative and economic challenges of these programs. She then discusses the history of the impacts of the Asian Financial Crisis on Korean society and why microfinance is a necessary component of the government’s social welfare initiatives.

Rebecca Lee is a second-year M.A. student at SAIS, concentrating in China Studies. Following graduation from Hamilton College, where she majored in History and French, Rebecca worked at ABC News’ World News broadcast for four years. Through her work as a journalist, she developed an interest in China’s current economic and social development. In the summer of 2011, Rebecca interned in China’s northern Jiangsu province for an international microfinance company and learned about the loan approval and risk assessment process and its impact on the local community.