Chapter 3 Exploring the relationship between social policy and innovation in South Korea
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Innovation has been a key component in economic policy, and its importance has been ever-increasing. In recent years, since many argue that social inequality has been the most important obstacle to growth and innovation, the role of social policy has been put in the spotlight. Korea and East Asian economies are regarded as highly innovative, but they suffer from elite-led innovation and the tremendous productivity gap between large and small-medium enterprises. By contrast, Nordic countries, famous for its comprehensive social policy, have been highlighted as ‘the next supermodel’ in terms of their economic success. What is distinctive about their model is the virtue circle between their inclusive innovation and inclusive social policy. This chapter aims to discuss why social policy and innovation could reinforce each other by introducing the Nordic model; and then to critically review the Korean case and discuss what to learn from the Nordic welfare states.

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