The Effects of Protection in Cultural Industries: The Case of The Korean Film Policies
Published By: Jimmyn Parc
Subjects: Korea Project
This paper assesses whether Korean film policies, particularly protectionist ones, have been instrumental in the success of the Korean film industry. The conclu- sion is, surprisingly at a first glance, that protectionist policies have played an insignificant role. First, the import quota regime (1956–1986) limited the num- ber of films to be imported, but not the number of Korean audience to see these imported films. Furthermore, the import quota system strongly induced Korean filmmakers to produce bad quality movies and theaters to avoid showing Kor- ean films. Second, the screen quota system, from 1966 until present, has not been effective because imposing a mandatory number of days for screening Korean movies does not ensure that the domestic audience will watch these movies. Finally, the subsidy policy was barely noticeable before the late 1990s and is now too late and too limited to be credited for any significant impact on the success of the Korean film industry which began from the early 1990s. The results of this paper are robust enough to suggest to policymakers in other countries to review their own policies that advocate merely protectionism as a way to make a more attractive national culture.