전문자격사제도 개선방안 연구
회계∙세무 분야의 전문자격사제도
Korea’s manufacturing sector is leading the nation’s economic growth with its world-class technological strengths. On the other hand, the service sector has lagged far behind the manufacturing, and the gap between them continues to widen over time. The slow productivity improvement in the service sector has had an adverse consequence not only for the overall economic growth but also for job creation and income distribution because of the relatively labor-intensive characteristics of the service sector.
The high competitiveness that the manufacturing sector is enjoying today is attributable to the competitive pressure that domestic firms have faced during their expansion to foreign markets and the enormous amount of investment that they have made in research and development. If there had not been challenges rising from overseas competition, domestic firms would not have had the incentives to enhance their competitiveness.
On the contrary, the service sector has been mostly protected from overseas competition thus far. Domestic competition has been also weak due to various regulations. Professional services as provided by doctors, lawyers, accountants, and other licensed professionals are a case in point. The government has long maintained tight regulations on the market entry and business activities in these sectors, reducing the competitive pressure between service providers. The low level of competition at home and abroad is believed to be one of the most critical factors behind the low level of competitiveness of Korea’s professional services today.
The stated goal of the regulations on professional services is to protect consumers. In fact, however, they appear to have done greater harm than good to consumer welfare as they weakened market competition and reduced the incentive on the part of service providers to lower prices and improve qualities. Most notably, they have failed to deliver adequate consumer protection because they were not supplemented by an effective mechanism to penalize bad quality services and help consumers to make an informed choice on providers.
The most important task is therefore to intensify market competition and streng then consumer protection through regulatory reforms. The latter consists of two parts; (1) abolishing unnecessary regulations on market entry and business activities, and (2) establishing a proper mechanism for quality assurance of individual service providers. This study aims to propose options to improve the regulatory framework of professional services from this perspective. As the first comprehensive study in this field in Korea, this study bears a significant policy implication.
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