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  The result of the Center of Freedom of Information (CFOI)’s request of information disclosure to the National Assembly revealed that economics, humanities and sociology research societies and their related government think tanks are wasting the budget with business class airline seats. This issue has been pointed out as a main cause for wasting financial resources as there are numerous institutions that do not even have criteria for using the business class and the positions available for the business class even covers general research fellows. According to the data disclosed by the National Assembly, the overseas travel expenses for the economics, humanities and sociology research societies and their related government think tanks are 8.476 billion won in 2013, down 90 million won from 2012 but up 2 billion won from 2011.


 

[2013 Overseas Travel Expense Budget for Research Societies and Research Institutes]
                                                                                                      (Unit: million, %)

Type

Final Accounts 2011

Budget (A)  2012

Budget (B) 2013

Variation

(B-A)

(B-A)/A

Overseas Travel Expenses

6,422

8,574

8,476

98

1.1

 

 

[Criteria of boarding business class and number of boarding]
                                                                                                                   (Unit: Person)

Name of Institutes

Criteria of Boarding Business Class

Number of boarding

Position

Flight Duration

Location

2011

2012

Science and Technology Policy Institute

Executives (President)

Vice President

Senior Research Fellow

-

-

2

2

Head of the department

(excl. team manager)

8 hrs +

-

-

1

Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements

President

Vice President

-

-

2

3

Architecture & Urban Research Institute

President

-

-

3

-

Korea Institute for International Economic policy

President

Senior Research Fellow

-

-

62

56

Research Fellow

8 hrs +

-

Senior Administrative Officer

Senior Expert Member

6 years + of experience in the corresponding position.

8 hrs +

-

Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade

President, Vice President

-

All

9

18

Senior Research Fellow

8 hrs +

Region GaRa

(* America, Europe, Middle East, Africa)

Research Fellow

Chief Administrative Officer

Head of the department

8 hrs +

Korea Energy Economics Institute

President

-

-

-

3

Vice President

-

-

1

2

Senior Research Fellow

8 hrs +

-

7

9

Korea Information Society Development Institute

President

Head of the division

Senior research Fellow

8 hrs +

-

10

5

Korea Institute for National Unification

President, Auditor

Senior Research Fellow

Chief Administrative Officer

-

-

5

5

Korea Development Institute

President

Senior Research Fellow

Research Fellow

-

-

78

70

KDI School of Public Policy and Management

Executive

Vice president

Head of the department

Director of the headquarter

Head of affiliated organizations

Senior Research Fellow

Research Fellow

-

-

17

10

Korean Educational Development Institute

President

Senior Research Fellow

-

Ga, Na, 

Da, Ra

6

7

Head of the department

8 hrs + for head of the department

Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation

Executive

Vice President

Senior Research Fellow

Head of the department

(stated by the organization regulation )

8 hrs + for Head of the department (stated by the organization regulation )

-

2

1

The Korea Transportation Institute

President

Vice President

Senior Research Fellow Head of the department (Partly applicable)

-

Ga, Na, 

Da, Ra

10

7

-

8 hrs +

Korea Labor Institute

President

Head of the headquarter

Senior Research Fellow

-

Twice per year

One a year

 

9

7

Korea Rural Economic Institute

President

Senior Research Fellow

-

-

10

6

Research Fellow

8 hrs +

-

Korea Legislation Research Institute

President

-

-

4

4

Senior Research Fellow

Research Fellow

Senior Administrative Officer

8 hrs +

-

1

0

Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs

President

Vice President

Senior Research Fellow

President and Vice president - No criteria for the flight duration

Senior Research Fellow

- 8 hrs +

-

3

5

Korea Institute of Child Care and Education

President

Senior Research Fellow

Flight duration regardless

-

1

2

Head of the department

8 hrs

Korean Women’s Development Institute

President

Vice President (an acting president)

Senior Research Fellow (*Head of the department)

-

-

8 hrs +

8 hrs +

-

-

-

Korea Institute of Public Finance

Executive

President, Head

Senior Research Fellow

-

-

23

18

Research Fellow

Director of the Office of Administration

Director of Audit

8 hrs +

(economy class applied in case of 8 hrs -)

-

Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training

President

-

-

3

4

National Youth Policy Institute

President

Senior Research Fellow

-

-

1

2

Head of the department

8 hrs +

-

Korea Maritime Institute

President

Vice President Senior Research Fellow

-

Ga, Na, 

Da, Ra

26

13

Head of the department

8 hrs +

Ga, Na, 

Da, Ra

Korea Institute of Public Administration

President

-

-

19

14

Korean Institute of Criminology

President

Senior Research Fellow Head of the department

8 hrs + for Heads of the department

Ga, Na,

Da, Ra

18

14

Korea Environment Institute

President, Vice President

-

Ga, Na,

Da, Ra

18

14

Senior Research Fellow Head of the department

8 hrs +

- Source: the National Assembly

   

 

  Having investigated the number of cases that the employees of economics, humanities and sociology research societies and their related government think tanks boarded the business class, the result showed that there were 389 cases in 2011 and 351 cases by early October 2012. In general, the business class costs more than 2.2 times of the economy class (Incheon – Newyork).

 

  However, the moral hazard seems to be at its peak considering the fact that most of the institutes provide business class seats to senior research fellows and research fellows on top of the president. In particular, The Korea Development Institute and Korea Institute for International Economic policy have used the business class 148 and 118 times respectively throughout 2 years. The Korea Institute of Public Finance also has used 41 times. These institutes had no criteria for locations in using the business class and they made it possible for everyone in the position of the research fellow to use the business class. On the contrary the institutes that only allowed the president and vice president to use the business class have less cases of the business class usage.

 

 



  

 Even the National Assembly said that When there is a big difference among the institutes in the criteria of positions and using conditions of boarding the business class in case of the business trips abroad, it may cause a problem of fostering an atmosphere of social disharmony and reduce job satisfaction. As for the institutes that have set loose criteria on positions and using conditions, it is highly likely to waste money because the expenses for overseas flights are allocated too much compared to that of the government, public institutions and other government think tanks.

 

  Park, the presidential elect, has instructed to reduce the budgets of each government department in order to secure resources for the welfare. But seeing at the current state of researchers business class usage makes us realize how they splurge our taxes. Lately there was a story of an old man who died after sleeping without turning on the heater. It is doubtful whether the research fellows can study the lives of commoners while using the business class. This kind of practice should certainly disappear in our society.

 



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