This paper examines the dynamics of technological learning during the process of industrialisation. It focuses on the case of South Korea and draws policy implications for developing countries.

The paper shows that as South Korea transformed itself from an agrarian economy to a newly industrialised one, it relied initially in acquiring foreign technologies and then started duplicating these imported technologies. It then moved to more sophisticated creative imitations and only later was able to introduce original innovations. The paper concludes that developing countries have much to learn from South Korea by developing policy initiatives that integrate several elements of the Korean experience such as export promotion, human resources development programmes, and incentives for complementary technology transfer and indigenous R&D efforts.