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ABOUT

Korea-US Policy Dialogue

  • The KDI School of Public Policy and Management hosts the "2021-22 Korea-US Policy Dialogue: Economic Inequality and the Future of the Middle Class." The dialogue highlights research topics that are both timely and of common interest to South Korea and the United States and shares research conducted by experts in both nations. With the theme of “Economic Inequality and the Future of the Middle Class,” the dialogue aims to promote policy and knowledge exchange among policymakers and academics by sharing and discussing key related topics.

Economic Inequality and the Future of the Middle Class.

  • Social scientists have observed the rise of the instability and volatility of the middle class since the late 20th century. The middle class had been considered a product of economic growth and a backbone of democracy. Thus, the recent rise of the discourse on the crisis of the middle class in the West has challenged the conventional perception about the middle class, undermining a rosy future of the middle class. Globalization, demographic change, industrial transformation, business cycle, technological change, and state policy have jointly affected the destiny of the middle class in society. Moreover, the global financial crisis in 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic have also reshaped the perception of the middle class.
  • The project on “Economic inequality and the future of the middle class in South Korea and the U.S.” diagnoses the transformation of the middle class in South Korea and the U.S. in recent years and provides policy ideas to rehabilitate the middle class in both countries. While South Korea and the U.S. have experienced different paths of socioeconomic development, they have commonly shown a high level of economic inequality and the rise of the discourse over the crisis of the middle class. This project examines the causes of the instability of the middle class and addresses the new challenges for the middle class in each country. It also analyzes the subjective dimensions of the middle class, including the perception of inequality and their future.
  • While researchers from both countries have diagnosed the status of the middle class in each country, they are trying to figure out policy ideas to remedy the problem of instability and volatility of the middle class and possibly redirect the trajectory of the middle class in both countries. The project will promote sharing academic research outputs and policy ideas on the middle class between South Korea and the U.S.

KDI School of Public Policy and Management

  • KDI School of Public Policy and Management was founded in 1998 with the objective of fostering high quality international talents and conducting systematic research and education related to economic development processes. It aims for 'living and breathing education' based on partnerships with world renowned faculty members and research institutes. It has become one of the leading educational institutes that pioneer shared growth of the international community by systemizing and promoting Korea's successful development experiences at home and abroad.