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SPP 377

Author: Doh Chull Shin and Chong-Min Park
Description: An increasing number of individual scholars and research institutions have made serious efforts to discern distinct qualities of democracy and distinguish high-quality democracies from low-quality ones. Research to date has focused on the extent to which political regimes actually embody generic values of democracy and satisfy some of its procedural norms. This study of Korean democracy offers new ideas for a more systematic assessment of the quality of democracy from the perspective of ordinary citizens. The first focuses on the overall quality of a regime's performance as a democracy. The second deals with how well or poorly a regime performs as an electoral democracy. The third concerns how well a democratic regime performs as a liberal democracy. We have tested these ideas with the first wave of the East Asia Barometer survey conducted in Korea during February 2003. Analysis reveals that collective perceptions of democratic quality vary a great deal from one dimension to another dimension and from one region to another region of the country. We also found that the quality of a democratic regime, especially as a liberal democracy, depends on both a popular demand for and an elite supply of essential properties. On this basis, we conclude that the balancing of high supply and high demand constitutes the most intractable task of democratization.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland