Before the 1997 crisis, Korean firms destroyed shareholder value and chronically produced nonperforming loans for financial institutions. In particular, chaebol-affiliated and unionized firms did so, with lower profitability among the financially unsound firms. Chaebol and unions thus functioned as institutional devices whereby managers and workers undermined the interest of taxpayers as well as shareholders. After the crisis, firms no longer destroy shareholder value or produce nonperforming loans. Chaebol-affiliated and unionized firms have higher profitability among the financially unsound firms. Chaebol and unions have thus ceased to function as institutional devices whereby managers and workers undermine the interest of shareholders and taxpayers. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.