Example Course 5: The Digital Economy of South Korea

An exploration into the South Korean economy and, in particular, its digital industries

Example Courses

In this chapter, we demonstrate how to create actual courses using the Economy Studies design toolkit, showing various example courses. Each of these courses flows from our central philosophy: teach students how to study the economy, rather than teaching them one form of economic thinking in the abstract. In terms of our principles, they vary: some of these example courses focus more on pluralism, others on real-world economics, others yet on thinking about values. As for the building blocks, each of the example courses uses at least one of the ten building blocks, while most use more than one.

These courses are described rather briefly in this chapter, as full syllabi, slides or exam questions would take up too much space in a physical book. More extensive course descriptions, syllabi and teaching material can be found in the online database of our partner organisation Exploring Economics.

The courses shown here are highly diverse, and mainly intended to inspire and to show the range of possibilities. Depending on the knowledge available within a department, the courses designed there could be vastly different from the examples shown here.

Example Courses:

  1. The Challenges of Our Time (Main BB1, Additional BB2, BB3, BB8, BB9, BB10)
  2. Argentina and the IMF (Main BB9, Additional BB2, BB3, BB6, BB8, BB10)
  3. The Economics of Oil (Main BB8, Additional BB3, BB6)
  4. A Historical Perspective on Economic Success (Main BB4, Additional BB1, BB6)
  5. The Digital Economy of South Korea (Main BB2, Additional BB3, BB5, BB6)
  6. Agent-Based Modelling (Main BB7, Additional BB4, BB9)
  7. The World of Production (Main BB8, Additional BB2, BB3, BB4, BB5)
  8. The Political-Economic System of India (Main BB6, Additional BB2, BB3, BB10)
  9. Economics for a Better World (Main BB10, Additional BB1, BB2)
  10. Coordination and Allocation Mechanisms in Norwegian Agriculture (Main BB5, Additional BB2, BB3)
  11. The Economics of Financial Crises (Main BB8, Additional BB3, BB4, BB6)

Example Course 4: The Digital Economy of South Korea

Course outline:

Taught at a South Korean university, this course would start out with a tour through the Digital Media City in Seoul, visiting a few companies such as LG and Pantech. With this experience, in the first lectures students are introduced to the history of the South Korean economy and in particular how it gained a strong international position in digital industries.

The main body of the course focuses on the current structure of the South Korean economy as a whole. More specifically, quantitatively and qualitatively exploring various indicators on how it is performing, with respect to business, labour, finance, wellbeing, inequality, nature, resources, and demography. In parallel, the key institutions of the economy are introduced to students, helping them understand the particular variety of capitalism that characterizes South Korea. This section of the course ends with giving students an overview of the various sectors in the South Korean economy and brief descriptions of how they are organized.

In the last lectures, the focus moves again to the digital industries and its institutions, indicators, and organizational forms. This is done through with the help of some readings, statistics and a few guest lectures by an experienced manager, a knowledgeable civil servant, and an influential technician, all working in the digital industry. To conclude the course, students are assigned one digital company to analyse as a case study. With the help of available data and documents and conducting interviews, students need to investigate how the company has grown to what it is today, how it functions internally, tries to gain and maintain competitive advantages, and interacts with suppliers, workers, customers, competitors, the government, local community and civil society.

Required background knowledge:


Nominal workload:

6 ECTS (180 hrs)

This course uses the following building blocks:


  • Know your own Economy (BB2)


  • Economic History (BB3)
  • Economic Organizations and Mechanisms (BB5)
  • Political-Economic Systems (BB6)