The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Going forward, Korea faces two closely related challenges: sustaining economic growth against the backdrop of a rapidly aging population and ameliorating income inequality. This paper argues that a gradual increase in social spending could promote more sustainable and inclusive growth in Korea. In particular, simulation results suggest that social spending which supports labor market reforms can boost longer-term growth. However, despite rapid increases recently—albeit from a low base—there is still a social spending gap relative to Korea’s OECD peers. Because of several fiscal challenges in the coming decades, increases in social spending should be incremental, and would be usefully guided by a longer-term fiscal framework.