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Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 33 , No. 4

[ Article ]
Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 33, No. 4, pp.487-504
Abbreviation: SJE
ISSN: 1225-0279 (Print)
Print publication date 30 Nov 2020
Received 28 Sep 2020 Accepted 28 Sep 2020

Varieties of Capitalism and re-thinking the East Asian model of economic growth after the Covid-19: Rebalancing shareholder and stakeholder capitalism
Keun Lee
Keun Lee, Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea, Tel: +82 2 880 6367 (

Funding Information ▼

JEL Classification: F32, F59, O16, O19, P12, I21


East Asian economies had shown remarkable performance of high growth and low inequality, thereby forming a separate East Asian capitalism group within the VoC (variety of capitalism) typologies. There are strong signs that these economies have recently been converging to the LME (liberal market economy group), featuring low growth and high inequality, since the 2000s. Financialisation is arguably one cause for these outcomes of low growth and high inequality. This paper re-evaluates East Asian capitalism in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has suddenly halted globalisation and further questioned the superiority of shareholder capitalism associated with financialisation and globalisation. It proposes rebalancing between shareholder and stakeholder capitalism. By doing so, East Asian economies can be reborn as a hybrid capitalism, with East Asian capitalism at its original core, to restore their growth momentum in an inclusive way. It is also argued that the post-pandemic retreat of globalisation is a good opportunity to restore autonomy in domestic economic policymaking over interest rates and exchange rates, while allowing some adjustments over formerly excessive capital mobility.

Keywords: East Asian model, Globalization, Covid-19, Shareholder capitalism, Stake-holder capitalism


This paper has first been written as a part of the project sponsored by the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute based in Berlin, Germany. The author thanks Vladimir Popov for providing useful comments as a guest editor. The author also acknowledges the support by the Laboratory Program for Korean Studies through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Studies Promotion Service of the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS2018LAB-1250001).

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