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SPP 315

Title: RATIONAL ACTORS, INSTITUTIONAL CHOICES, AND DEMOCRACY IN KOREA
 
Author: HeeMin Kim
 
Description: It is generally assumed in studies of institutions and democratic transitions that political actors have many goals and objectives that go into their calculus of institutional choice at the time they bargain for a new form of institutions. These goals include, among other things, fulfilling their own self-interest, creating a stable political system, and fostering the new set of rules that is democratic. What if there is no feasible electoral institution that can accommodate these goals at the same time? Should we expect the politicians to sacrifice their own interest for the greater good of the national interest? In this paper, I try to answer these questions using the Korean example where the democratically elected government of Kim Dae-jung has been pushing for political reform, including electoral reform, in the midst of an economic crisis unprecedented in the history of the country. Using the Korean example, I show that democracy may suffer when various goals and objectives of political actors for electoral reform cannot be achieved at the same time.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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