S-Space Graduate School of Public Administration (행정대학원) Dept. of Public Administration (행정학과) Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총) Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총) vol.17(1) (2003)
Review of Structural and Performance Changes after the Restoration of Local Autonomy in Korea
- Lee, Dal-Gon
- Issue Date
- Korean Journal of Policy Studies, Vol.17 No.1, pp. 27-45
- Ten years have passed since the revival of the local autonomy system in Korea. After a 30-year pause, people began to elect their local council members in 1991, and the head of local government in 1995. This paper attempts to look at the structural changes and performance difference since restoration of local autonomy. The new system has produced several positive structural changes and beneficial performances. These include nationally decentralized power distribution, restructuring of local power structure, institutionalization of citizen participations. In each municipality, local council represents citizens demand and takes parts in a burgeoning system of local checks and balances. Customer-oriented administrative services, innovative administrative reform measures, and diverse new management techniques have also been undertaken. The local autonomy also resulted in several problems that include corruption and irregularities, concentration of power in a single figure, lack of leadership in council, internal conflict, projects and events that were window dressing and misallocation of budgets. In the policy areas, there are some indications of policy change. There is more emphasis on local economic development. In addition, there are indications of positive welfare and community service in several metropolitan areas. In some municipalities, environmental concern has increased and environmental protection measures put into place. However, poorly planned development in suburban areas and an overemphasis on commercial land development raises serious problems.