우리 경제의 역동성: 일본과의 비교를 중심으로
본 보고서는 역동성이 저하되고 있는 우리 경제가 1990년대의 일본경제와 비교하여 어떤 측면에서 유사하고 어떤 측면에서 상이한지를 분석해 봄으로써 정책적 시사점을 얻고자 하였다. 개별 분석 결과들이 완벽한 결론을 도출하기에는 불완전할 뿐 아니라 다양한 분석 결과들을 모아 하나의 결론으로 요약하는 것도 지나친 비약이 될 가능성이 높다. 그럼에도 불구하고 최근 우리 경제의 모습이 1990년대 초의 일본경제와 유사한 측면이 많다는 점만은 부인하기 어려울 것으로 보인다. 우선 인구구조의 고령화라는 측면이 유사하며 자본⋅노동⋅상품 시장에서 역동적 자원배분 기능이 위축되고 있다는 점도 유사하다. 1990년대 초의 일본에서와는 달리 부동산 가격에 대규모 거품이 존재하지는 않고 있는 것으로 보이나, 인플레이션이 낮아지고 경상성장률이 하락하면서 세수 부족이 재정건전성 유지에 부담을 주고 있다는 측면도 유사하다.
이와 같은 분석을 토대로 본 보고서에서는 우리 경제가 역동성을 유지하기 위해 취해야 할 정책방향을 크게 구조개혁 정책과 거시경제 정책의 측면에서 논의하고 있다.
Will Korea follow Japan that has been stagnating for the past 20 years? This question is frequently asked by ordinary people as well as economists as dynamism of the Korean economy is weakened. Yet, the answer does not seem to be simple.
This book analyzes similarities and differences between the Korean economy of today and that of Japan in the 1990s. Results of respective chapters are not complete enough to draw definite conclusions, and a single recap of the entire study would cause excessive leaps in logic. Nevertheless, it is hard to deny the observation that the recent Korean economy exhibits similarities in many respects to those seen in Japan in the early 1990s.
First of all, age structures of Korea lag Japan by about 20 years. As seen in Japan, population aging will affect every corner of the Korean society. Investment demand is getting lowered and current account surplus is being expanded as a result. Export industries of Korea are being chased by Chinese firms just as Korea has caught up with Japan for the past 20 years. Although real estate market of Korea does not seem to have excessive bubbles, unlike in Japan in the early 1990s, aging population will become a critical factor that will weaken housing prices in Korea. Overall inflation rates are also being lowered to around 1% per annum, generating concern on deflation. Potential growth rates are also being lowered, and projected to be lowered to 1~2% by the 2030s even under the assumption that productivity growth is reasonably well maintained.
However, markets of Korea do not appear to function distinctively better than those of Japan. As in Japan, financial market in Korea fails to effectively thin out Zombies (i.e., firms that would not be able to survive without financial supports of either government or financial institutions) that are hampering investment and employment of sound firms. Labor market of Korea does not efficiently allocate resources due to excessive protections for regular workers, which toss away the whole burden of adjustments to irregular workers. Product market of Korea is also distorted by various entry barriers and excessive protections for small and/or self-employed firms.
Faced with these difficulties, the book recommends bold structural reforms coupled with accommodative monetary policy to keep the Korean economy from deflation risks. First, financial supervision needs to be strengthened to oblige zombie firms to make active restructuring efforts. At the same time, the extensive financial supports for small- and medium-sized firms by government, which are mostly motivated by political reasons, should be reduced. For labor market flexibility, excessive protections for regular workers need to be eased because otherwise the dual labor market structure would be permanently fixed. In addition, various entry barriers in product markets should be either lifted or relaxed.
As for macroeconomic policies, the book stresses potential risks of optimistic forecasting that would hinder formulating the right macroeconomic policy mix. In particular, the experience of Japan in the 1990s that optimism delayed monetary policy responses until the economy finally plunged into deflation should not be repeated. As for fiscal policy, too, the experience of Japan that optimistic forecasting of tax revenues ended up with unsustainable budget deficits should be borne in mind of Korea's key policy-makers.
Click the button and follow the links to connect to the full text. (KDI CL members only)
Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.