How the Coronavirus Crisis is Affecting the Korean Economy: Evidence from the Stock Market

Author Name Willem THORBECKE (Senior Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. December 2020 20-E-088
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South Korea has proven resilient through crises. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Korea has used testing and contact tracing to keep the number of cases per capita far below those in the U.S. and Europe. This paper uses sectoral stock returns to gauge the impact of the pandemic on the Korean economy. The results indicate that industrial machinery stocks have doubled in value in the eight months since the crisis hit. Other sectors that benefit individuals hunkered at home such as consumer digital services, software and computer services, leisure goods, and electronic entertainment have also done well. On the other hand, sectors providing services such as travel & leisure, casinos & gambling, and convenience stores have languished. The crisis has benefited sectors producing goods and employing higher-skilled workers and harmed sectors providing services and employing lower-skilled workers. This risks perpetuating disparities that existed in Korea before the pandemic.

Published: Thorbecke, Willem, 2021. "How the Coronavirus crisis is affecting the Korean economy: Evidence from the stock market," Asia and the Global Economy, Volume 1, Issue 1 (2021), 100004.