South Korea’s Soft Power in the Era of the Covid-19 Pandemic—An Analysis of the Expert Survey in Europe

Seo Young Cho*, Eric J. Ballbach, Daniela Claus-Kim, Hyun Gyung Kim, Eun Jeung Lee, Jaemin Shim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Since the recent outbreak of the Covid-19, South Korea has demonstrated successful pandemic management that can be exemplary to other countries. This paper analyzes how South Korea’s responses to the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the perceptions of the country in Europe. Through a survey conducted with Korea experts in 16 European countries, this paper documents the positive recognition of South Korea’s pandemic management by the European public. Part of the positive appraisal can be attributed to South Korea’s extensive testing, high technology, and the culture of wearing a face mask, while the opinions were more mixed regarding its comprehensive tracking and tracing strategy due to privacy concerns. Furthermore, the findings of the survey show that Europeans’ overall perception of South Korea has improved together with its Covid-19 management. This evidence suggests that the country’s success in pandemic management can be an instrument of public diplomacy to enhance its soft power, for which the government of South Korea currently invests considerable efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-626
Number of pages26
JournalSeoul Journal of Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Covid-19
  • Expert survey
  • Pandemic management
  • Public diplomacy
  • Public perceptions
  • Soft power
  • South Korea


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