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During the second half of the twentieth century, an economic boom, driven by advances in technology, has led South Korea to become the world's fastest growing economy. But, there were also social factors associated with this shift. In this book, Daniel J. Schwekendiek examines South Korea's socioeconomic evolution since the 1940s.After a brief introduction to Korean history from the late Joseon Dynasty to the division of the Korean peninsula into two occupied zones in 1945, the focus of the book shifts to the rapid socioeconomic development and change that took place in South Korea in the twentieth century. Topics covered include demography, rural-urban development, economic planning, and international trade, in addition to lower and higher education. Important, but understudied areas, such as social capital, nutritional improvements, the rise of capitalist consumerism, and recent nation branding issues, are also addressed.Rarely has a resource incorporated such unique macro-historical perspectives of South Korea, especially in the context of social development. Throughout the book, the author corroborates historical events with empirical data. With over one hundred figures and illustrations, suggested readings at the end of each chapter, and comparisons with North Korea, South Korea will be a crucial reference work for scholars and advanced students in Korean and East Asian Studies.