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New York. What should matter is what the populace demands, since a democracy requires the continuing responsiveness of the government to the wants and needs of its citizens Dahl, : 1. In the quarter century since the democratic transition in Korea, the achievements of Korean democracy — including the successful stabilization of electoral democracy through the passage of the two-turnover test Hungtington, — can only be regarded as remarkable. However, Korean democracy faces two important challenges related to regime performance.
First, many Koreans still have lingering nostalgia for authoritarian rule, particularly because the strongly authoritarian Park Chung-hee government Kang, a was effective in terms of economic growth and the delivery of efficient governance. This study has implications for research on both other emerging democracies and democratic theory generally. Many scholars advocate democratic transition through elite pacts which they believe are conducive to the stability of new democracies — and Korea represents another prime such example.
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It is problematic if, after a two-decade experiment, Korean democracy is seen by its citizens as ineffectual in facing and dealing with its major economic and governance challenges. Equally, though, the findings in this study should be interpreted with some caution, because they were based solely on data collected during the MH government. This period was chosen because it exemplified best the paradoxical outcomes of Korean democracy. A more wide-ranging picture could be gained by performing a longitudinal analysis across all governments in Korea since democratization. If support for democratic governance is based on a supply-and-demand relationship, the successful institutionalization of electoral democracy alone cannot improve the legitimacy of Korean democracy.
In fact, the same is true for all emerging democracies that have been stalled or threatened by increasing inequality and increasing economic polarization Fukuyama, I extend my appreciation to several anonymous reviewers whose thoughtful comments helped to improve the article. As Chu et al.
In addition, although meaningful variations between countries do exist, complete detachment from authoritarianism has not occurred among many East Asian citizens. There are many studies on this subject.
For instance, in their panel analysis of Western Europe, Wagner et al. Also, Evans and Whitefield , in their analysis of eight post-communist countries, observed that political experience is of greater importance than economic experience in explaining cross-national variations in democratic support. In a similar vein, an in-depth analysis of public opinion data in the same region by Rose et al.
A discussion of the literature on economic voting is beyond the scope of this paper. For a comprehensive review of research on economic voting in new democracies, see Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier This study does not argue that the Korean case is representative of all new democracies. However, the Korean case is a good example of a possible paradoxical outcome in that a politically successful democratic consolidation could disappoint citizens if economic conditions did not improve. I am indebted to one of the reviewers of this study for this point.
Based on surveys of the incomes of urban households of more than two people, the Gini index, a measure of income inequality, indicated that income disparity in Korea remained below 0. The IMF crisis in , however, marked a turnaround.
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Inequality began to increase drastically: the Gini index in and measured 0. Inequality actually worsened in and increased continuously until , when the Gini index reached 0. By , the Gini index for Korea exceeded the average of all countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, reaching a high of 0. According to the Freedom House Index www. ABS I used a 1—4 scale to measure dissatisfaction with democracy.
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